Remarketing Vs Retargeting: What You Need To Know (Similarities, Differences, and More)

October 10, 2021

Remarketing and retargeting are two different marketing strategies you may find yourself comparing when trying to attract existing and interested customers to your business.

hitting the target
Image from Pixabay by QuinceCreative

Both marketing and retargeting are effective ways to reengage warm prospects who have already expressed interest in your brand. These strategies overlap to some degree, but they are distinct in the way they are used to drive customers into your sales funnel.

Imagine this scenario.

Have you ever been searching an e-commerce site for a specific product when suddenly Facebook started showing you ads for that product and you wondered, "Is Mark Zuckerberg watching me?"

You may think that Facebook possesses mind-reading capabilities. Definitely not. There is no such thing. It is at this point where the concept of retargeting and remarketing comes into play. These terms are probably well known to you, and you probably use them interchangeably.

This article will help you understand how remarketing and retargeting differ so you can use them correctly and ensure they deliver the results you expect.

Table of Contents


  • Retargeting is the practice of advertising through display advertisements, placement advertisements, and emails after your website visitors have visited your website
  • Remarketing is the process of contacting potential customers with email campaigns.
  • The difference between remarketing and retargeting is in the way they re-engage audiences through different marketing strategies.
  • In retargeting, advertisers engage those who have visited their website or have acted on their social profiles.
  • In remarketing, emails are used to reach past and current clients.

What Is Retargeting?

Retargeting is the practice of sending display ads, placement ads, and email ads after users visit your website.

If a consumer visits your website, clicks on your products, or takes an action, a cookie will be set in their browser. You can use this information to display similar advertisements to them based on their web history.

By using third-party networks, such as Google, you can target users across tens of millions of different websites.

You can use retargeting campaigns to show tailored ads for specific products or services to customers who have already shown interest in your business through clicking on your website or liking your posts on Facebook.

Advertisements like these, typically displayed or shared via social media, remind customers of your business and encourage them to make purchases on your site.

Retargeting process

Retargeting interactions can be divided into two types:

  • On-site targeting: This most common form of retargeting targets visitors who have already been to your website or interacted with your products.
  • Off-site Targeting: This is for targeting individuals who have not interacted with your website but share similar qualities to your previous customers. They are targeted not just based on their characteristics, but also by their online search patterns.

Benefits of Retargeting You Should Know

Enhance Brand Recognition

In today's digital-focused marketing world, retargeting is an essential component of each and every campaign as it helps re-engage users who have left your site without making a purchase as well as promote brand recognition/brand awareness.

It helps new customers as well as former customers who have already made purchases to come back for more. To sum up, retargeting is the best way to sell online as it plays a vital role in any modern marketing strategy.

Second Chance To Impress The Customer

As you may all know, most website visitors do not convert on their first visit and instead return to wherever they came from. They might think that they are not quite ready to purchase yet. Remember to always keep pursuing them so that they will return and reconsider.

The lack of product details or the product you offer can also be a factor in your site's low conversion rate. You can use retargeting to provide your visitors with additional information on the item they've been searching for.

Allows Cross-Selling

In general, most companies tend to sell or offer more than one product online, apart from exceptions like service companies. You can use retargeting advertisements to boost your sales growth by targeting your previous customers with ads for products similar to those they have purchased in the past.

Clothing items can be a good example, as customers tend to replace shoes every season, or automobile items since cars usually break down or wear out.

Point of Contact

We all know that it takes five to eight points of contact for a user to become a qualified lead. In the case of retargeting, whenever customers will interact with your ads before and again, you will create numerous points of contact with them, which makes your brand more appealing and strengthens your online trust.

Choose Your Audience

With retargeting ads, you have far more control over your retargeting efforts than with regular display ads or banner ads, as they can be shown to only specific audiences and individuals.

You can target a certain audience by setting up your campaigns to display only specific pages of your website to that audience. In turn, a particular type of online advertisement is retargeted to them based on the pages they viewed.

What Is Remarketing?

Remarketing is a technique used to reconnect with potential customers via email. A wide range of strategies can be used to accomplish this, such as email campaigns to recover abandoned shopping carts and upselling email campaigns.

A remarketing campaign is designed to encourage someone to progress along your sales funnel.

nordstorm remarketing

It's easy to explain that retargeting is about digital display ads or banner ads while remarketing involves email campaigns that re-engage users once they receive the email. It may be advantageous to email customers who abandoned their shopping carts or added an item to a wish list and then abandoned it.

Emails sent as part of remarketing include:

  • Offer special discounts on products the customer has previously purchased.
  • Provide a complimentary product or service to the customer's past purchases.
  • Introducing new offerings that are related to what customers have previously purchased.
  • Tell the customer they have items in their cart.
  • Provide a coupon for customers who haven't made a purchase for some time.

Why Remarketing Is Beneficial

Improved Brand Recognition

Using remarketing to remind your prospects of your brand is a great idea. It gives you a great opportunity to boost brand awareness.

Increased Conversion Rates

Remarketing is a method for driving visitors who are involved in the conversion process back into the sales channel. Remarketing ads can be displayed as an incentive to bring back visitors who have gone to step 2 in their checkout process on an eCommerce website.

A similar approach may be to target leads who have already taken an action such as filling out a form or downloading content from a brand. In these cases, remarketing can contribute to the improvement of both online and offline sales processes.

Identifying your target audience

A specific message targeted at a specific audience is particularly effective. Remarketing advertisements offer marketers the ability to reach specific audiences with display ads & text ads. Depending on the usage patterns of a brand's website, a remarketing tag may be installed only for visitors who perform certain actions there.

Improved Relevance of Advertisements

The remarketing process allows marketers to serve advertisements based on the past actions of customers. For example, visitors landing on a product page may see remarketing ads for that product throughout the Web.

The same can be done by using behavioral segmentation to only display relevant ads to a web visitor instead of a generic (non-specific) ad message. Visitors are more likely to respond to ads based on their interests.

Reduce Losses

Remarketing is one of the most prominent features, as it allows brands to reach out to visitors who had left their website. Your brand can make a second attempt at bringing back an old prospect who has abandoned the purchase.

Reduced loss can be powerful not only because you are preventing lost leads, but also because potential customers who have already visited your site may be more likely to convert.

Remarketing and Retargeting: How to Measure Them?

In order to maximize your overall ROI, you must conduct a retargeting or remarketing analysis. Consider the following metrics when remarketing and retargeting:

  • Conversions of leads.
  • The number of opens for emails.
  • Number of visits to each page.
  • Mailing list unsubscribes.
  • Lead generation using qualified leads.

As you analyze the success and shortcomings of your current campaign, you can tailor it in the future to achieve even better results.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing: Similarities and Differences

Retargeting vs. Remarketing

Despite sometimes being used synonymously, retargeting and remarketing have distinct differences.

A primary difference between retargeting and remarketing is their respective strategies. While remarketing is usually done via email, retargeting usually involves serving ads based on cookies. By collecting information about users, remarketing creates a list of users which later is used to send emails to them.

Retargeting and remarketing are both effective lead nurturing tactics that can help you create an integrated customer lifecycle marketing strategy. Using these methods, you can put your brand back in front of the right audience at the right time and drive new leads into your funnel.

Using remarketing and retargeting separately is effective, but combining them together can deliver astounding outcomes and boost digital marketing efforts.

Let’s take a look at retargeting vs. remarketing and compare them to see what would work best with your brand.

Both retargeting and remarketing have similar objectives:

  • Reach out to audiences who know your brand already
  • Identify and engage buyers who are most likely to make a purchase
  • Build lasting brand awareness and recognition

It is the tactics used to accomplish these goals that distinguish retargeting from remarketing:

  • The main purpose of retargeting is to reengage former visitors to your website or social profiles based on paid ads.
  • The purpose of remarketing is to retarget past customers who have already purchased from your brand in the past.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing: When To Choose What

Retargeting and remarketing both works towards the same objective of reengaging an audience that has shown interest in what you have to offer. Keep this in mind when comparing and analyzing both programs.

The main difference between remarketing and retargeting is that remarketing utilizes email marketing while retargeting primarily uses paid advertisements. In other words, retargeting is only relevant for email communications, while the other works for web traffic.

Defining your target audience and your objectives is vital to incorporating such tactics into your marketing strategy. Once you are clear on which strategies will work for you, you can choose your tactics accordingly.

Retargeting is a good idea if:

  • You want to increase the number of visitors to your website.
  • Increasing conversions is your goal.
  • You have a very inactive email list.
  • Your goal is to attract new customers.
  • The traffic on your website is high, but you aren't getting conversions.
  • Interested prospects aren't on your email list.

Remarketing is the way to go if you:

  • Don't have the budget for advertising.
  • Possess a large engaging list of email addresses.
  • Want your customers to be more engaged and loyal.
  • Need to reengage your current customers or past clients.

Retargeting and Remarketing: Tips To Master Both Of Them

Tip #1: Engage Your Audience in Appropriate Ways

Do not bombard potential customers or current customers with too many advertisements. Be aware that seeing the same advertisement, again and again, will irritate them.

Your retargeting process will not work unless you have a proper strategy for calculating the number of times each ad should be shown. Otherwise, you risk monotonous ads for your audience. That will severely harm your chances of conversion.

Tip #2: Learn About Your Audience

Understanding the kind of customers you are speaking to will help you make sure your message is clear. Think about remarketing to people who haven't bought on your site with ads that tell them to buy again. This can go horribly wrong and lead to your customers ignoring your brand.

In this circumstance, it is essential to analyze the data you've gathered and segment the list further so that you can send the proper message to the appropriate prospect.

Tip #3: Experiment With Different Ads

On social media, in e-mail inboxes, and all over the Internet, users see hundreds or thousands of posts and ads every day. It is clear that marketing is a competitive field, so your goal is to stand out and create engaging content that will appeal to your target audience.

Test what types of ads work best with your target audience through A/B testing if you are not seeing the conversions you would expect.

Tip #4: Be Clear About Your Goals

When your audience clicks on your ads, you should be clear about what action you want them to take. To achieve an effective call to action and appropriate communication, you must design the right call to action.

You have missed out on a huge opportunity if visitors arrive at your ad's landing page and they do not know what you are offering or how to order or learn more.

The Bottom Line

The difference between retargeting and remarketing lies in the approach. Retargeting is the practice of showing ads to prospects via browser cookies while remarketing entails collecting prospects' emails to use for marketing purposes. Getting a prospect to convert is the goal of both approaches.

With all of the differences now clear, you may be wondering which to choose. It all depends on what your marketing goals are. The best marketing campaigns combine both strategies. As you nurture your sales funnel, you will see better results.

The primary channel you have when dealing with remarketing is email. We have discussed the power of email in previous blog posts. Having said that, you should first verify your mailing list before launching an email campaign.

Get Started with VerifyBee today and never worry again about a clean and bounceless email list!

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