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02 January 2023

Remarketing vs Retargeting: Which Is Better to Use?

Are you looking to do the Remarketing Versus Retargeting?
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How often does it happen that you visit a website, add products to your cart, and then leave the page without making a purchase? This is a very standard situation for many consumers. They can just be distracted or spend more time thinking about the purchase.

But this is a big problem for business owners. The reality is that only a small percentage of visitors make a purchase on their first visit to the site. And this does not mean that the site, product or service was bad. Everything rests on the human nature. And he is inclined to think over every waste of money.

Thus, remarketing and retargeting were developed. There are slight differences between the two, but these two strategies have a common goal - to help the site return visitors who have shown minimal interest in the brand.

The key to making effective use of these tactics is understanding the difference between them and knowing when to use each of them.

What is retargeting?

Retargeting contains several approaches, but is generally characterized by advertising on the network with a focus on those users who interacted with your site in any way.

How retargeting works. Source of the image

As soon as a person visits your site and clicks on a product (or takes any other action), the corresponding cookies appear in his browser. This data block can be used to redirect users to advertise your services or products as soon as they leave the site.

That is, in order to be able to launch retargeting, the user must perform some action. Just visiting a site is usually not enough. But one transition between pages, and especially a manifestation of interest (for example, clicking the "Details" button opposite the service) is enough to create a cookie.

Retargeting Benefits

One of the key advantages is the availability of a large number of tools for interacting with the target audience. In retargeting, you see all the social networks that allow you to do ads, from Linkedin to Instagram.

Retargeting campaigns have a higher level of engagement than a regular ad campaign. Why? It’s easier to influence consumers who have previously shown interest in your products or services.

By showing users the same content, logo or slogan, you significantly increase brand awareness. Retargeting is one of the best strategies for developing a company in terms of visibility.

Due to increased engagement and conversion, you get a higher return on CPC. Retargeting narrows the audience to the most interested visitors who have not yet purchased the product. Because such marketing tactics are cost-effective.

What is remarketing?

Beginners in the advertising industry often make the mistake of saying that remarketing and retargeting are synonyms. These are two different approaches that have a common goal. But their setup is different.

How remarketing works. Source of the image

Remarketing involves re-engaging customers through email marketing. Emails are triggered by actions that visitors perform on the company's web page. For example, when a user adds an item to a wish list, a letter is sent with the following text: “The item that you so wanted to get is already in stock. Hurry up!”.

Remarketing Benefits

Email serves as a reminder to the user that he left behind. Sometimes this is enough to make a sale. Since the visitor has already shown interest in the product, there is a high probability that the reminder will affect the decision-making.

Moreover, e-mail is an excellent reason to create an additional incentive. During remarketing, a company may send promotional codes at a discount to “help make a decision.” By adding a deadline for activating a promotional code, you can motivate consumers to act “Here and Now”.

Another benefit of remarketing is the chance to show other products. So, in the letter itself, you can indicate "You may also like it ...". Perhaps none of the products will interest the customer. But he will take minimal steps to get to know them.

Remarketing supports integrated communications - the idea that all messages from a particular brand should be consistent and connected. By delivering consistent messaging, consumers enjoy brands much more.

Common and distinctive features

The two strategies are different, but have the same goal. This is probably why many people confuse these two concepts. After all, both remarketing and retargeting are intended for sale to users who have already made contact with the brand.

In both cases, your audience is people you know without the slightest doubt. These are users who are already interested in your offer. Because remarketing and retargeting are different than regular display ads that you can see online.

Comparison of remarketing and retargeting. Source of the image

The main difference between the two approaches is the platforms. As already mentioned, remarketing relies on email, while retargeting is more connected by social networks, forums and other external sources.

How do these tactics fit into your overall marketing strategy

In today's crowded digital marketing space, brands cannot afford to rely on only one approach. Using an integrated approach increases campaign reach and reduces the risk of low engagement.

In combination with other approaches, such as content marketing, social media communication, these strategies form a solid foundation on which the brand can collect, qualify and convert potential customers.

In the sales funnel, remarketing and retargeting tend to be somewhere in between, although their reach can extend to consumers at any stage of the purchase.

Remarketing works well with content marketing strategies, as they help maintain customer focus. Content attracts readers through organic channels, and dynamic remarketing converts users who have expressed interest in specific offers.

Retargeting is inextricably linked with customer acquisition through social networks. Blogs, white papers, e-books and other similar channels are deeply rooted and have guaranteed conversion for decades. But social networks are “other beast”.

With their help, the strategy can be divided into two categories: content and advertising. On the one hand, the brand places images and links to its page to engage the reader “in constant conversation”. On the other hand, they distribute targeted advertising through their dashboards to impress the user and motivate them to buy.

Customization Approaches

Remarketing and retargeting have similar approaches in choosing the target audience and setting up the advertisement itself.

When setting up, specialists use large amounts of information and choose the most optimal ways to return customers. They very often resort to the following triggers:

Based on this, there are two main techniques. The first is to display advertising content to former visitors to your site after they take certain actions. The second is redirecting users after they take action outside your site.

Target off site interactions. In this case, the goal will be a group of people who have not previously interacted with the site, but they have similarities with your previous customers, and you see potential buyers in them.

It is more difficult to attract such a group of people, because they might have intentionally not visited your site (I did not like the description, domain name, etc.). But a good creative when setting up can fix this.

Targeting local actions. In this case, you will be targeted at people who have already visited your site or interacted with your content outside the site, but have not reached the action you need - purchases.

In this case, advertising helps to establish closer contact with the user, to return his interest in the brand. Here are some ways to create ads for these customers:

But remarketing has one nuance: if there is no information about the user's email, then it is impossible to configure the process. But, as a rule, this data is stored in cookies, so adding a client to the database is not difficult.

Underwater rocks

Any marketing strategy has its drawbacks. If they are not taken into account, then the cost per clicks, and even more so for the buyer, can be significantly higher. At the same time, knowledge of them and the adoption of countermeasures guarantees a reduction in the negative effect or its complete exclusion.

One of the biggest problems with retargeting is that excessive exposure can annoy consumers. Instead of useful recognition and a desire to collaborate with the brand, rejection is developing. This problem can be solved instantly by limiting the frequency of impressions.

The key problem of retargeting. Source of the image

In addition, users may have the so-called “banner blindness” if they often encounter the same ad. Therefore, layouts need to be regularly updated on all promotion channels. Thus, your brand will not be associated with issues such as consumer frustration, reduced trust and loss of target audience.

If you have several different products, using segmentation for retargeting can increase conversion. The user will not focus on the same product, which will not only divert attention from the same advertising, but will also deepen customers in the scope of the company.

One of the biggest challenges facing remarketing is that people don’t always open and read emails. Some users only use mailboxes as a registration tool.

A good way to overcome this problem is to create engaging content. And it begins with the subject of the letter. After all, if the inbox is clogged with messages from stores, then the user will first of all look at the topic and evaluate how much he is interested.

Calls to action and the formation of urgency work very strongly in this regard. For example, many companies offer free shipping to encourage transaction closure. Others offer a short-term discount on abandoned items in the basket.

Another problem is mail, which is sent to the spam box. Already then the user opens it in very rare cases. Best of all, when registering, ask the user to add your company to the white list to prevent automatic sending of emails to spam.

In addition, you need to make sure that when writing letters, you use words that are not aimed at spam filters. Among them are words such as buy, earn, cheap, and so on.

Spamming not only reduces the likelihood of reading a letter, but also a loss of brand reputation. In the eyes of the user, the spam box is letters that are useless, and not those that come too often.

Again, segmentation must be used for effective remarketing. Customize the content depending on the actions of consumers, whether it is a comparison of product characteristics, an abandoned basket with goods or a refusal immediately at the time of entering payment data.


Since a huge percentage of traffic remains without a purchase, both remarketing and retargeting are effective methods for maintaining a business. But is any of the methods preferable?

Remarketing campaigns generate higher conversions for users who have “abandoned the cart,” especially when they receive an email within an hour after leaving the site. Quick contact to hot customers through their mailboxes is considered one of the best ways to return a customer in a short time.

At the same time, retargeting allows you to return customers who were on the site a few weeks ago. Also, this strategy provides an opportunity to attract a wider target audience.

Use both tactics

One of the two methods cannot be called definitely the best. Their usefulness depends on the target audience such advertising is aimed at.

Remarketing is effective for consumers who have already shown great interest in the product, but for various reasons have stopped at the stage of placing an order or direct payment. In this case, remarketing is used as a tool to combat the latest barriers to buying. The main thing is to understand why the visitor did not buy at the time of the first entrance to the site.

Retargeting is aimed at consumers who have not yet gone through the entire shopping cycle, but who have already shown some interest. Such campaigns give users more information about the brand and service, heating the desire to buy. The main thing is to remember that retargeting helps the brand appear in front of a new audience.
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