Retargeting Vs Remarketing: Similarities, Difference, Pros & Cons

Oftentimes, you must have heard of retargeting and remarketing in the field of online marketing. The truth is that many are confused and do not know what the difference is between retargeting vs remarketing.

In this post, you’ll understand the meaning and difference of each marketing term while you are able to know why there is so much confusion about Retargeting and Remarketing.

If you are a beginner, you do not need to worry at all. The terms will be explained in the simplest way possible.

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What Is Retargeting?

Retargeting is a deliberate marketing action to reach back to customers who visited a landing page, e-commerce store, website, or any dedicated webpage.

In most cases, retargeting is done when visitors of a specific webpage fail to take an expected action (like buying a product).

For example, when a potential customer initiates a transaction but never completes it, these ones can be retargeted.

In some other cases, take a blog, for example, you may simply choose to retarget (via online ads) people who have previously visited (any or specific page on your blog. It may not necessarily be because they failed to take a specific action. You may want to let them know about a new blog post or product.

In any case, the term retargeting is very much associated with online ads than any other form of marketing.

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How Retargeting is Possible

There are so many online tools available that make retargeting very easy. With a simple installation of certain pixels (or similar tools) on your websites (or blogs), you can retarget anyone.

For example, if you properly install a Facebook pixel on your website, you can retarget anyone who has visited your website (or blog) in the past with a simple Facebook Ad. The same could apply to Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Reddit, and similar platforms.

What is Remarketing?

Simply put, remarketing is the general act of reaching back to anyone whom you had contacted before about a product or service. It could be anyone who may or may not have purchased it before.

Actually, remarketing goes beyond Ads, you could remarket via email, text message, phone call, etc.

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The Major Similarities Between Retargeting vs Remarketing

Both strategies improve sales since people need to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt to purchase. Moreover, if you already have trust in a particular brand’s website, blog, or eCommerce store, there are chances that you’ll buy another product from them. Remarketing (and retargeting) helps to achieve this.

Retargeting and remarketing are two closely related digital marketing strategies that share several significant similarities. These strategies are both designed to re-engage potential customers who have previously interacted with a brand or website, with the primary goal of improving conversion rates.

One major similarity between retargeting and remarketing is their focus on audience targeting. Both approaches use data on user behaviour to identify specific groups of users who have shown interest in a brand’s products or services. Whether a user visits a website, views products, or abandons a shopping cart, these actions become triggers for retargeting and remarketing efforts.

Moreover, both retargeting and remarketing recognize the importance of building trust and familiarity with potential customers. It’s a common understanding in marketing that users often require multiple exposures to a brand or product before making a purchase decision. By repeatedly displaying ads or messages to users who have already engaged with the brand, both strategies reinforce familiarity and trust, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Furthermore, both approaches are proactive in nature, aimed at reaching back to customers or potential customers. This proactive re-engagement is a fundamental aspect of both retargeting and remarketing, ensuring that businesses don’t lose potential conversions due to initial disinterest or hesitation.

Enhancing brand recall is another shared objective of retargeting and remarketing. When users encounter a brand’s messages or advertisements multiple times across various online channels, they are more likely to remember that brand when making a purchasing decision. This repetition reinforces the brand’s presence in the minds of potential customers.

Lastly, both retargeting and remarketing fall under the category of marketing techniques. They are integral components of broader marketing strategies, often used alongside other tactics such as content marketing, SEO, and email marketing. These techniques leverage digital advertising and communication methods to re-engage and nurture leads or past customers.

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Benefits of Retargeting vs Remarketing

Retargeting and remarketing offer a plethora of benefits for businesses aiming to enhance their online marketing efforts. These strategies are powerful tools that allow you to re-engage with potential customers who have already shown an interest in your products or services. Here are the key benefits of both retargeting and remarketing:

Increased Conversion Rates

One of the most significant advantages of retargeting and remarketing is their ability to boost conversion rates. By targeting users who have previously interacted with your brand, you are more likely to capture their attention and convince them to complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form.

Improved Brand Recall

Retargeting and remarketing keep your brand top-of-mind for potential customers. When users repeatedly see your ads or messages across different online platforms, they are more likely to remember your brand when they are ready to make a buying decision.


These strategies can be cost-effective compared to traditional advertising methods. You are targeting a specific audience that has already expressed interest, which often leads to a higher return on investment (ROI) compared to broader advertising campaigns.

Precise Audience Targeting

Retargeting and remarketing allow for precise audience segmentation. You can tailor your ads or messages based on users’ previous interactions, demographics, and interests, ensuring that your marketing efforts are highly relevant to each group.

Reduced Cart Abandonment

For e-commerce businesses, retargeting is especially effective at reducing cart abandonment rates. You can remind users of the products they added to their cart but didn’t purchase, enticing them to return and complete the transaction.

Cross-Device Engagement

Retargeting and remarketing work seamlessly across various devices and platforms, ensuring that you can reach users on their preferred devices, whether it’s desktop, mobile, or tablet.

Customer Loyalty and Repeat Business

Remarketing is not limited to advertising; it can also involve reaching out via email, SMS, or phone calls. This provides opportunities to nurture customer relationships, address concerns, and encourage repeat purchases.

Measurable Results

Both retargeting and remarketing campaigns offer detailed analytics and reporting. This allows you to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and adjust your strategies based on real-time data to maximize effectiveness.

Ad Creative Testing

These strategies enable you to experiment with different ad creatives, messages and offers for various segments of your audience. This helps you refine your marketing materials for better engagement and conversion rates.

Competitive Edge

Many of your competitors are likely using retargeting and remarketing. By implementing these strategies effectively, you can stay competitive in your industry and continue to capture market share.

Retargeting vs Remarketing: Integration with Other Marketing Channels

Integrating retargeting and remarketing with other marketing channels like content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing can create a comprehensive and highly effective marketing strategy. Here’s how each of these channels can complement one another:

Content Marketing Integration

Integrating retargeting and remarketing with content marketing involves aligning your messaging and content to create a seamless user experience. For instance, if you are running retargeting ads promoting a specific product, ensure that the landing page or blog post users are directed to provide detailed information about that product. This alignment reinforces your brand’s message and enhances user engagement.

Moreover, content marketing can play a crucial role in lead nurturing. After attracting users through retargeting, you can use informative and valuable content to educate and guide them toward conversion. By providing relevant content at each stage of the customer journey, you can build trust and credibility, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

SEO Integration

Integrating retargeting and SEO involves optimizing your website and content to improve organic search rankings while simultaneously retargeting visitors. To achieve this, align your SEO keywords with the products or services you are retargeting. Optimize landing pages and product pages to rank higher for keywords used in your retargeting campaigns.

Furthermore, when users initially find your website through organic search, their subsequent visits can be tracked and added to your retargeting lists. This provides an opportunity to reinforce your message and offers through remarketing campaigns. Combining SEO and retargeting ensures that both organic and paid efforts work in harmony to capture and convert users.

Social Media Marketing Integration

Integrating retargeting with social media marketing involves creating cross-channel synergy. By using data from your retargeting campaigns to build custom audiences on social media platforms, you can deliver highly targeted ads to users based on their previous interactions with your website. This enhances the chances of re-engaging potential customers.

Moreover, you can promote your content marketing assets, such as blog posts or videos, through social media channels. Paid promotion on social media can increase the visibility of your content to a broader audience, some of whom may then be added to your retargeting lists. This combination ensures that your content reaches both new and returning visitors effectively.

Email Marketing Integration

Integrating retargeting with email marketing can be particularly effective in converting hesitant users. If a user visits your site but doesn’t complete a desired action, such as making a purchase, you can send them personalized email reminders through remarketing. These emails can include tailored offers or product recommendations, encouraging users to return and convert.

Furthermore, retargeting can be used to incentivize visitors to subscribe to your email newsletter. Once on your email list, you can nurture and engage them through targeted email campaigns, enhancing the chances of conversion.

Retargeting vs Remarketing: Common Mistakes and Pitfalls

Overexposure and Ad Fatigue

One of the most prevalent mistakes in retargeting is bombarding users with too many ads. Excessive exposure can lead to ad fatigue, where users become irritated or indifferent to your ads. This can negatively impact your brand perception and conversion rates. It’s crucial to set frequency caps and manage ad delivery to avoid this pitfall.

Lack of Segmentation

Failing to segment your retargeting audience is a significant oversight. Treating all visitors the same can result in ineffective campaigns. Effective segmentation involves categorizing users based on their behaviour, interests, and demographics. This allows for more personalized and relevant ad messaging.

Ignoring Ad Creative Quality

Neglecting the quality and relevance of your ad creatives is another common mistake. Even if you have a well-defined audience, poorly designed or unappealing ads can deter users. Invest time and resources in creating compelling ad content that resonates with your target audience.

Not Considering Customer Journey

Focusing solely on immediate conversions can be a mistake. Users at different stages of the customer journey have varying needs and intentions. Remarketing efforts should consider this and provide relevant content and messaging to users at each stage, from awareness to consideration to conversion.

Neglecting Mobile Optimization

With the increasing use of mobile devices, neglecting mobile optimization is a critical pitfall. Your retargeting ads and landing pages must be mobile-friendly to ensure a seamless user experience. Failing to do so can result in missed opportunities and frustrated users.

Inadequate Ad Testing

Not testing different ad variations can hinder your campaign’s performance. A/B testing different ad copy, visuals, and calls to action can provide valuable insights into what resonates best with your audience. Continuous testing and optimization are essential for success.

Ignoring Data Privacy Regulations

Data privacy is a growing concern. Ignoring regulations like GDPR and CCPA can lead to legal issues and damage your brand’s reputation. Ensure that your retargeting and remarketing practices comply with relevant data protection laws.

Uncoordinated Messaging

A lack of coordination between retargeting and other marketing channels can create confusion for users. Inconsistencies in messaging and offers across channels can be off-putting. Ensure that your messaging is aligned and coherent throughout the customer’s journey.

Failure to Exclude Irrelevant Audiences

Neglecting to exclude certain audiences from retargeting campaigns can result in wasted ad spend. For example, if a user has already converted, continuing to retarget them with conversion-focused ads is unnecessary and inefficient.

Neglecting Post-Conversion Remarketing

Remarketing doesn’t end after a conversion. Neglecting post-conversion remarketing means missing opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, or nurture customer loyalty. Continue engaging with customers even after they’ve made a purchase to maximize their lifetime value.

The Major Difference Between Retargeting and Remarketing

The major difference between retargeting and remarketing lies in the scope and approach of these two marketing strategies.

Retargeting is a more narrowly focused technique. It primarily revolves around online advertising and targets users who have previously visited a specific webpage, website, or landing page.

The primary goal of retargeting is to re-engage visitors who didn’t take the desired action during their initial visit.

For instance, if a user visits an e-commerce site, adds items to their cart, but abandons the cart without making a purchase, retargeting ads can be displayed to that specific user, encouraging them to return and complete the purchase.

On the other hand, remarketing is a broader and more encompassing strategy. While it includes online ads like retargeting, it extends beyond just advertising.

Remarketing is the practice of reaching out to anyone who has interacted with your brand, products, or services in various ways, whether or not they made a purchase. This interaction can occur through emails, text messages, phone calls, or even personalized content recommendations.

Remarketing aims to maintain engagement with past customers and potential leads through multiple touchpoints, nurturing relationships, and encouraging repeat business.

In essence, retargeting is a subset of remarketing. It focuses solely on the audience who previously visited specific web pages and tailors online ads to them. Remarketing, on the other hand, encompasses a wider range of marketing activities that aim to reconnect, nurture, and engage with users across different channels and platforms.

While both strategies aim to re-engage potential customers, their scope and approach differentiate them, with retargeting being more narrowly focused on online ad campaigns and remarketing encompassing a holistic, multi-channel marketing approach.

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Final Thought on Retargeting vs Remarketing

While both marketing techniques are often mentioned and misconstrued, Retargeting and Remarketing are easy terms to understand.

In short, one big difference between remarketing vs retargeting is this: Remarketing actually encompasses retargeting and more. Retargeting is a common terminology amongst online advertisers.

So, ideally, it is not a case of choosing one between Retargeting or Remarketing. A mere mention of remarketing may or may not include Retargeting depending on what strategy works best for your campaign.

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