Beyond the results page: SEM and behavioral targeting

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Tessa Rudd is editor in chief of “Chitika Pulse Report,” a newsletter devoted to Web site and search analytics, and strategic partners coordinator at ad network Chitika Inc. BtoB recently spoke to Rudd about trends in search marketing involving user behaviors.

BtoB: What trends are you seeing in search marketing?

Rudd: One of the most cutting-edge methods is targeting people based not only on keywords but also the content sites they visit, and placing ads right there. That can be done by using anonymous, industry standard, cookie technology that doesn’t capture any personally identifiable user-level data.

BtoB: How would search and behavior go hand in hand here?

Rudd: A financial services advertiser, for example, could extend the visibility of his search engine marketing campaign by using the exact same keywords to target users after they have moved beyond the search listings page and into content Web sites. If a user had specifically searched for “small business loans” and clicked on a Web site result, what I term search behavior marketing technology works to deliver a small business loans ad on the site. Search behavior marketing tracks and tags users based on both their search queries and the content they’ve visited.

BtoB: So this goes beyond the search engine results page?

Rudd: Absolutely. It’s true that search engine marketing campaigns can drive highly targeted, intent-driven search traffic and produce measurable ROI, but search can be made to work harder. Search behavior marketing extends the visibility of a keyword campaign by redirecting an advertiser’s keyword-based targeting channel beyond the search engine to target the same audience when they move into content Web sites.

BtoB: A great deal of commercial purchases are sourced on the Web. How does behavioral search link to b-to-b lead nurturing?

Rudd: B-to-b advertisers are focused on initiating and building long-term business connections. Search behavior marketing is particularly effective for b-to-b marketers that want to take the short-term opportunity of search campaigns and extend it. It piggybacks onto normal search campaigns, enabling advertisers to market to this same audience but for a longer period of time.

BtoB: Are there different techniques in crafting search and behavior campaigns?

Rudd: It’s possible for advertisers to migrate their exact search engine marketing keyword list to a search behavior strategy, but for behavior marketing I’d advise b-to-b marketers to recognize the value of rare keywords. B-to-c marketers place weighted emphasis on popular keywords that produce a so-called keyword bidding long tail, but business-to-business marketers need to recognize the value of rare, low-frequency keywords and cast the net with relatively lower keyword bids.

BtoB: Where is the specific value there?

Rudd: Behind every rare b-to-b-centric keyword is a big business opportunity, with marketers looking to target prospective clients interested in very specific business opportunities. While users may seldom search for “OSHA compliance software,” the ability to target to the few who do could effectively initiate a prosperous business relationship.

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