What is Paid Search on Target.com?

Target.com has become an integral part of the Target shopping experience. Every day, thousands of customers leverage Target’s website to shop, compare items, or simply check availability at their local store. Every search is an opportunity for Target to serve relevant products to its Guests.

Target offers brands the ability to advertise their products on relevant searches, displaying their products in pre-defined locations within the search results. Brands are offered the opportunity to bid at auction to appear in the search results every time a given search term is entered on Target.com. The winner of the auction will see their sponsored product in line with the other “organic” results and can capture the impending sale.

target.com search results showing duracell batteries

Why is Paid Search Important for your Business at Target?

As stated in Harvest Group’s Target’s Q1 2022 Earnings recap, tight promotional management will continue as labor costs continue to rise. Buyers continue to reduce temporary price cuts (TPCs) and are exploring extended display length (both reduce store labor hours). We continue to see lower display compliance as well with salesplan, sidecap, etc. Paid search is important for your Target business because, with 90% of working dollars hitting Vendor Income/OCOS, it supports Roundel commitments and Buyer negotiations. With Roundel commitments growing larger, paid search and Circle are the entry points into a Roundel investment, returning strong ROI as compared to other programming mediums.

Additionally, the Target Guest is increasingly more digitally savvy – researching and shopping online more than ever.  Target’s recent site change allows for paid search placements on top nine spots rather than top six, ensuring brands show up on the first page to drive sales results as consumers shop digitally.

It is also important to note that pursuing paid search on Target.com mobilizes your business to customize campaigns based on desired ROAS, dayparting, and specific terms, among others.

Common Pain Points of Paid Search for Target Vendors

  • It’s common for vendors not to have dedicated resources on their teams to build strong campaigns (or the appropriate time to execute and optimize campaigns), which ultimately delivers lower ROAS than desired.
  • Many vendors use a third-party marketing agency to execute paid search as well as a separate third-party sales agency to manage the brick & mortar business – this can create inefficiencies and siloes in evaluating the business and seeing opportunities or issues.

Paid Search Options on Target.com

While the most notable (and typically most impactful) ad placements on retailer websites are attached to specific searches which are placed among the organic results, there are other useful CPC placements that should be part of a well-rounded strategy. Target allows brands to advertise on specific item pages seeking to serve complementary or alternative products, as well as on category/browse pages on the site for those shopping through category nodes or simply exploring the site. While search placements will typically see the lion’s share of the volume and drive the most revenue, item page and category placements can play an important role in any paid search campaign.

3 Ways to Optimize Paid Search on Target.com

  1. First and foremost, ensure content is optimized and built out using terms that the Target Guest uses to search – specifically title, bullets, & long copy. Customize content to the Target Guest, not just what is published nationally.
  2. Test & learn. Plan a budget that allows testing for key terms, dayparts, etc. Paid Search is a crucial part of your omnichannel business to which an appropriate budget must be allocated.
  3. Evaluate ROI on the full business, not just an individual campaign. A campaign may drive low ROAS but deliver significant awareness leading to long-term brand growth.

How Does Harvest Group Help Brands Navigate Paid Search on Target.com?

Harvest Group leverages paid search as part of our full omnichannel strategy for our clients. It is standard practice for our team to build, customize, & execute paid search campaigns leveraging Criteo and Citrus Ads. Our team then evaluates promotional effectiveness, if applicable, and delivers full reporting tied directly to sales results that can be used to leverage in Buyer negotiations. With expert advertising managers who provide ‘hands-on-keyboard’ support, Harvest Group can manage the scale and complexity of Target’s paid search placements to get the most out of your investment. Harvest Group is a growth agency, not just an advertising agency, giving our team the ability to focus on driving top-line sales through our advertising efforts and not just efficiency metrics.

If you’re interested in learning more about Harvest Group’s omnichannel capabilities for clients at Target, including paid search, fill out our Contact Us form or send us a note at hello@harvestgroup.com.