3 minutes read

One of the biggest challenges faced by the digital advertising industry (and businesses that depend on the digital ads for growth) is viewability. According to the latest data, a good chunk of ads that are displayed are not really viewed by web users. Out of those that are seen, only a small percentage lead to clicks and ultimately conversions.

That’s why retargeting on Facebook works so well: it targets people who already visited your website, and you know are interested in your products, with ads placed on Facebook – the website with one of the highest ad viewability grade. But what if a business is interested in acquisition of new clients, not just retargeting the old ones? My answer is: search retargeting on Facebook.


What is search retargeting and how does it work

When a person types something into a search engine (like Google or Bing) or even a vertical search engines (such as ebay, WebMD) and basically any website with a search bar, the owner of that website can capture those searches and feed the data to advertising platforms, which then display ads about what that person searched for on the websites that he or she uses, for example Facebook.

It’s similar with SEM (search engine marketing, like Google Adwords) in the sense that the person is targeted based on what he searched for, making the ad highly relevant, with the differences being that the person does not see the ad in the moment of his search, but throughout the day and he sees a display ad instead of a text ad on the search engine results page. These differences are what make search retargeting on Facebook a particularly good idea.

Why would it be a good idea for my business?

  1. Viewability – Facebook ads have amongst the highest viewability rate, which means your ads have the highest chances of being seen.

  2. Target a relevant audience at a lower cost – CPC (search ads) can get really expensive since all the competitors enter a bidding war to show their ads on the results page when someone searches the web. They do it because that’s the audience they’re interested in. Search retargeting gets you access to that same audience because it is based on the user’s actual searches. And generally, display ads come at a lower cost.

  3. Not only is the audience relevant, but it’s potentially larger – search engine ads are only shown to the user of that search engine, in that particular moment. Search retargeting platforms, like ours, use data collected from more search engines and website and show your ads at more times during the day.

  4. Higher chances of click – when you show the ad at more times during the day it has a better chance of being seen. Plus, people often need time to make up their mind and decide on what product to choose. Search ads are only shown at the moment of the search but display ads are shown repeatedly and when you show them on Facebook, where people spend considerable time, your chances of getting that person’s attention increase even more.

  5. A\B Testing – Some advertising platforms, like Creatopy, allow you to show your ads on the web pages the audience you’re interested visits and on Facebook, in the same campaign, which allows you to test and see which works better for your business, without the hassle of having to create multiple campaigns on multiple platforms.

Have you tried a search retargeting tactic for your business? What are your struggles when it comes to marketing your business online?

Robert Katai
Robert Katai is the Product Marketing Specialist at Creatopy. His work was featured on Adweek, Entrepreneur, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and other places.


  1. Hi! How do I create an add with search retargeting? Do I need to hire a specific platform or can I do it on my own from Facebook ads manager?

  2. I’ve always been told by my digital marketing agency that search retargeting can only be done if you’re bidding on the keyword you’re trying to retarget to. I’ve also been told that I can not only retarget to display, not Facebook… is this blog suggesting otherwise?

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