Remarketing Vs Retargeting: Everything You Need To Know




The biggest roadblock in making a successful sale is consumers because they get easily distracted. So, as marketers, what do we do to make sure that consumers buy? First, learn the difference between Remarketing vs. Retargeting and then apply whatever works for your campaign.

Let's dig into this a little more.

As I said, customers get easily distracted. You have a higher chance of selling water successfully to a goldfish than a human.

Remarketing vs retargeting - Average Human Attention Span According To Research
A goldfish has a 9-second attention span!

I'm sure you have seen many online customers who visit your website, search for a product, click "Add to Cart," but then suddenly disappear.

There are a few reasons why this happens - lousy user experiencefierce competitionbad online reviews, to name a few. Whatever the reason a customer leaves your site, there’s always something you can do to prevent it from happening again.

Here are ways on how to handle website visitors properly:

  • Nurture first-time Visitors:
    The secret is to nurture first-time visitors further to conversion by guiding them through every phase of the customer journey. These users share a common interest in what you have to offer and what stage they are in the buyer journey.

    According to the Sales Cycle, the latest cart abandonment rate is at 79.17%. The conversion rate of online shoppers globally as of 2019 is 3.9% for desktops, 3.49% for tablets, and one that is 1.82% for mobile.

    These stats are frustrating, especially for online retailers, but with the proper nurture, these numbers can change.
  • Stay in touch
    Always keep in touch with visitors to remind them that you are still here.

    Visitors jump on and off a website, possibly reading the latest blog or downloading an ebook. It may take them longer to take action.

    Keeping your website fresh in the minds of the visitors is a vital part of this process, where strategies like Retargeting and Remarketing come into play.

On that note, let's define Remarketing and Retarteging and learn the differences between them.

What Is Remarketing?

Remarketing is not another term for retargeting contrary to common belief. It is a strategy that uses email marketing to re-engage customers. These emails are packed with calls to action (CTA) that visitors can take on a specific site.

For example, you might send a remarketing email when a user leaves a shopping cart or puts a particular item on their wish list.

Remarketing vs Retargeting - Remarketing email sample

Remarketing emails are intended to boost conversions for users who have already visited your site in a meaningful way.

According to AgilOne, the most effective remarketing emails are divided into the following three categories:

  • Products or Services on Sale - 58% of customers appreciate emails where products or services they have liked or viewed previously go on sale.
  • VIP Treatment - 51% of customers said they appreciated outreach, which made them feel like a VIP.
  • Cart Abandonment Emails - 41% of customers ages 25 to 34 liked cart abandonment related emails.

What Is Retargeting?

Retargeting is a re-engagement strategy that includes implementing online ads or displaying ad campaigns that target users who already interacted with your website. It uses cookies to allow advertisers to retarget an already-interested audience.

Ultimately Retargeting is categorized into two: "On-site" and "Off-site" events.

There are different strategies you can implement, depending on the kind of interactions you want to target:


Targeting "Off-site" Interactions

These users have not yet interacted with your site. Still, they have similarities with your previous customers, and you want to add them to your sales funnel and get them on your website.

To target users based on their "off-site" interactions, always look at their searches. In other cases, you might want to target users who interact with the web like previous customers have.

You can also target users based on interactions with distributed content like a Facebook page or an app or with a partner site similar to yours.


Targeting "On-site" Interactions

This strategy includes targeting users who have already visited or revisited your site and interacted with your products, services, or have taken other similar actions but did not complete the sale.

Targeting those who have had "on-site" interactions with your site can boost conversations and retain users who are already interested in your brand.

Here are ways you can target to users who have taken on-site interactions:


A tracking cookie is added to a browser when a user visits a site.

When a user leaves a site, the cookie talks to a social media or search engine platform. Then it shows the retargeting ads based on specific pages from the current website the user is looking at.

Pixel-based Retargeting has the time advantage because users are retargeted immediately after leaving a specific site.


You can use your current list of contacts, specifically in your retargeting campaign, by uploading them to the social media platform you are going to use. If your users interact with your chosen platform, they will be recognized immediately, and a retargeting ad will be launched.

The advantage of List-based Retargeting is that it is very customizable. You choose who sees it. It means these leads are hot and, therefore, likely to be responsive to your ad, which will maximize your investment return.


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Remarketing Vs. Retargeting

The similarities and differences become apparent when comparing Remarketing and Retargeting.

Both strategies have a common goal - to increase the conversion rate to customers who are most likely to buy from you.

The main difference between Remarketing and Retargeting is:

  • Remarketing focuses on email campaigns to reach out to users who have already had interactions on a site; while
  • Retargeting focuses on paid ads and can take a variety of forms. It also targets a wide range of online users.

Now, let's talk more about Remarketing vs. Retargeting in terms of challenges and effectiveness.





One of the most significant issues with Remarketing is that users don't open, read, or act on emails regularly.

Here are a few ways to fix this:

  • Create highly attention-grabbing subject lines that demand to be read, followed by content relevant to the reader. It creates a strong urge to act.
  • Offer abandoned carts discount within a specific timeframe to generate a sense of urgency.
  • Offer free delivery to push the sale further. Use a strong call-to-action within the subject.
  • Use market segmentation.

Your click-through rate is likely to increase if you send the right email to the right subscriber.

Customize your content depending on the users' actions, whether they choose to jump off the site or abandon their cart.

One of the biggest challenges with Retargeting is that it can annoy consumers when overexposed.

Here are a few ways to fix this:

  • Put a limit on ad frequency.
  • Keep ads fresh by changing them regularly.
  • Use segmentation for retargeting to target your visitors more specifically and increase your chances of conversion if you have several different products.
  • Use segmentation for retargeting users that have requested out-of-stock items.




Remarketing emails make higher conversion rates for cart abandonment, mainly when they happen within an hour of the user leaving the site.

Quickly reaching out to users through their inboxes is considered one of the best methods of remarketing to them within the timescale.

However, if you are using only retargeting display ads, there is no guarantee that subscribers will see them within that critical first hour.

The average click-through rate (CTR) for retargeted ads for some brands is about 10% higher than display ads.

Other brands saw a 50 to 60% conversion rate. In contrast, others state that users who have already shown an interest are 20% more likely to purchase.

These stats are according to Digiday.

Whether you choose Remarketing or Retargeting, I highly recommend using the right tool to achieve your goals.

Check out this list of the best Remarketing or Retargeting available for you:

And that's everything you need to know about Remarketing vs. Retargeting!

So which should you use between Remarketing and Retargeting?

Well, both strategies are very useful in increasing conversion rates. Both tactics are worthy of being a part of your marketing strategy.

If you want to learn more about Remarketing vs. Retargeting, check out the recommended resources section below. You can also TALK TO US TODAY if you want a one-on-one session about this topic.


Remarketing Vs. Retargeting


An In-Depth Comparison of Remarketing and Retargeting Services

The Difference Between Retargeting and Remarketing

9 Remarketing/Retargeting Services which Drive your Online Sales

So what do you think about this article? Are you ready to launch a Remarketing or Retargeting campaign?

Leave a comment below and let's discuss.

As always, it will be a great honor if you think this article is worth the SHARE! I will see you in the next one.

Are you looking for more online advertising help? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Online Advertising for Small Businesses.


Have you tried one marketing tactic after another, and nothing seems to work?

It doesn't have to be this way. Get instant access to our on-demand masterclass now.

Header image courtesy of Pixelied.

About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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