Search Retargeting, Keyword Targeting, and PPC: What’s the difference?!

Search Retargeting, Keyword Targeting, and PPC: What’s the difference?!

Well, they’re all good ways to optimize your digital campaign! Search retargeting, keyword targeting, and PPC (pay-per-click) are all forms of keyword advertising, and oftentimes get confused for one another.  While they are similar in some aspects, they each have unique responsibilities that make them different. Outlined below is the function each one serves:

  • Keyword Targeting is probably the most popular of these three.  Keyword targeting matches ads to relevant sites in the display network using keywords selected for a particular campaign. It uses an algorithm that scans the text of a website for keywords that match those selected for your campaign and then displays an ad based on those keywords. Keyword targeting is based on the context of a page to display an ad which is what separates it from PPC and search retargeting.
  • Search Retargeting targets people who have previously searched for keywords or phrases you are targeting.  Like retargeting, it uses the cookie system to target these people. Through these cookies, an ad is shown on websites they visit.  Search Retargeting can happen 1-2 days after the initial search occurred and continues to retarget these people.  This also differs from keyword targeting because keyword targeting happens in real time, and requires a much higher geo (at least statewide) than keyword targeting does.
  • PPC or pay-per-click is an advertising technique where advertisers pay the publisher when the ad is clicked.   It uses keywords by the advertisers bidding on certain keyword phrases relevant to their target market.  With PPC marketing, you are advertising to consumers who are searching specifically for your product, however PPC differs because it does not rely on organic listings.   PPC appears over organic listings to make sure that your product has a good search ranking when keywords specific to your company are being used.

Since these three components all use keyword advertising, it can be a little confusing when trying to differentiate them. However, they all have duties that separate them from one another.


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