Search retargeting adds low-cost revenue stream for publishers

A lot of publishers I chat to think that the only way to monetise their website is to add more and more advertising into it – more skyscrapers, interstitials, pagewraps, and recommended articles etc – which all take up valuable real estate. WRONG!

The thought of using up more space with display advertising, which could otherwise be used for content, can be frustrating for some.

Little do they know, however, there are tons of ways to monetise a website without placing more display advertising on pages. One of which is through ‘search retargeting’, which is a great additional service to your existing ad formats.

Search retargeting is the act of gathering ‘user intent’ data (I will explain what this is below) with the purpose of showing relevant online advertising to the user later. It is the fastest-growing segment of display advertising and programmatic buying.

What is user intent data?

‘Intent data’ is data collected about a web user that possibly indicates some intent or future action. The future action may be an online action, such as when you’ve looked at a DVD on Amazon and then this will result in an ad for that product appearing on another website that you visit later. This is an example of the simplest form of retargeting ads.

Intent data can be tracked through which pages you visit in a site, what search terms you use on a site and what you click on.

But how does search retargeting work?

There are many different types of data tags that can be dropped in to your site to gather user intent data. These can be taken from any online source but, for example, at The Internet Works we only use tags to optimise our publisher’s data that come from trustworthy sources.

User intent data is gathered via a variety of channels, dependant on the provider, the most popular of which are cookie drops, search term capturing and hashing email addresses.

As a website user you will have seen the ‘We use cookies…’ message pop up a million times and perhaps not known what this REALLY means. For a website, this is just a way of asking your permission to create or ‘drop’ a cookie personalised to you so that they can capture your intent data.

We can also ‘hash’ a user’s email address, meaning that their email address will become a unique, non-human-readable ID through which a cookie can be dropped on their browser and match their hashed email with its marketing file to create a link between your browser and the suppliers’ record of you.

Scary, huh? How much we can know about a person just from their journey around the web. Data technology is evolving at an incredible rate and you need to evolve with it to make the most of your website.

This method of targeting advertising based on users’ interests is ultimately for the users’ benefit. Without this we would still be targeted by completely random adverts for products we’re never going to buy.

Seeing irrelevant ads is when display advertising really does become a nuisance. New methods such as those discussed here make it a positive experience for the user, seeing ads for products they are actually interested in and clients integrating this into their website have added huge benefits to their commercial strategy.

There is a value associated with your users’ interest data, the publisher is paid between £0.30 and £1 for every 1000 users retargeted. So the service is very scaleable. Publishers with 250k unique users, or higher, will be able to generate a significant revenue boost. Through our various channels and retargeting optimisation processes we can generate publishers several thousands of pounds in net revenue per month.

To hear more about how to monetise your website through data gathering, please contact the Publisher Relationships Team on

SEE ALSO: How native advertising can help publishers drum up bigger revenues – a case study

Written by

Rachel is part of our rapidly growing Publisher Relationships team – which sets to work monetising your website. Rachel liaises with TIW’s trusted partners in the digital space, selling and creating inventory on sites across multiple verticals. This includes data integrations and multi-device advertising. Rachel is also a fitness fanatic who recently climbed Ben Nevis in aid of Demelza Children's Hospice.

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