Retargeting versus Remarketing

Remarketing vs. Retargeting: What They Are, Why You Need Them

In Social Media Strategy by Shelly Kramer1 Comment

Today’s consumers are digital creatures, so for brands, capitalizing on the connection and conversion opportunities provided by mobility is key. Remarketing and retargeting are two common and highly effective ways marketers generate and nurture leads. Although the strategies are often discussed as though they’re interchangeable, the truth is remarketing and retargeting are two different animals. Let’s explore what they are, how they differ, and how you can use either—or both—to grow your business.

Remarketing: What You Need to Know

Both remarketing and retargeting revolve around the same core concept: encouraging a consumer to complete a purchase by generating a reminder of their interest. In remarketing, this is done via email. Specifically, remarketing means hosting shopping cart abandonment campaigns or sending post-purchase emails aimed at cross selling or upselling.

Here’s a practical example: If you were to visit a website and create a shopping cart but fail to actually make your purchase, that company may use remarketing to reengage you. If you think this is uncommon, think again: As you can see from Figure 1 below, nearly three quarters of digital shopping carts globally are abandoned.

source eMarketing report

Figure 1. Source: eMarketer

Figures 2 and 3 below are examples of traditional remarketing campaigns. Notice in Figure 3, the cart abandonment email also includes a promotion—a smart move.

From Rejoiner

Figure 2. Source: Rejoiner

Michael's ad

Figure 3.


Retargeting: What You Need to Know

Retargeting is the practice of dropping tracking cookies to strategically place display advertisements elsewhere on the web based on consumers’ activity on your website. For example, if a customer visits a product page and leaves only to see an ad for that same product on an unrelated site she views later, she is being retargeted (see Figure 3).

Growth Marketing

Figure 3. Source: Growth Marketing Conference

Retargeting—a process conducted though third party networks—is very attractive because it is low on cost and high on ROI. In fact, data shows the average click-through rates (CTRs) for retargeted display ads can be up to 10 times higher than that of their non-retargeted counterparts. In addition, retargeting is an accessible, affordable way to advertise—even Facebook has a retargeting option, perfect for SMBs to enterprise organizations.

In Figure 4, you’ll see an example of true retargeting. After a recent search of Shinola’s watch offerings, this banner advertisement popped up on an entirely unrelated search of Salon, a news and lifestyle site.

Salon ad

Figure 4.

The difference is simple: Remarketing involves sending targeted email campaigns designed to convert leads at the bottom of the funnel who have taken the strongest actions indicative of a purchase. Retargeting, on the other hand, involves placing targeted display ads elsewhere on the web based on the browsing history of top of the funnel leads. Both are smart strategies, and the good news is you don’t have to pick sides. Both are an extremely important part of your overall integrated marketing efforts, especially as it relates to your online marketing strategy.

What’s Next?

How do you use remarketing and/or retargeting within your organization? Have you seen an increase in lead generation or—even better—conversions as a result of those efforts? Tell me in the comments. 

Additional Resources on this Topic
The SMB Guide to Facebook Retargeting
An In-Depth Comparison of Remarketing and Retargeting Services
How Does Retargeting Work?

Photo Credit: latevaweb Flickr via Compfight cc