What's the Difference Between Retargeting and Remarketing?

July 18, 2017

Retargeting and remarketing are two successful tactics that should be added to your marketing plan.

If you are a business owner you are always on the lookout for more effective ways to reach your customers. Retargeting and remarketing are two related strategies that you should consider adding to your marketing plan. Let’s look at what they are and how they work.


Most of the people who visit your website will leave without converting. Retargeting is used to bring those people back to your website. This is accomplished through display ads that are seen on social media platforms (example: by using the Facebook pixel) or through online searches (think Google Ads).

You can track a customer based on their actions. Abandoned shopping carts are a common trigger. When a customer abandons an item in the cart a cookie tracking tag or pixel is created to target that individual. Your ad will be based on the product the customer looked at and it will appear in their social news feeds and/or on websites they visit.

Retargeting is an effective marketing method because you are targeting a “warm” lead – someone who has already demonstrated interest in your product and is familiar with your brand. Retargeted ads are more productive than those that appear before an audience that merely resembles your target customers but who might have never heard of you before or visited your website (“cold” leads).



Remarketing is similar to retargeting but it uses email instead of online ads. When a customer abandons a shopping cart and leaves the website it triggers an email to be sent to them reminding them about the items left in their cart (with a link so they can return to it directly) and perhaps offering them a discount or suggesting a related or alternate product.

Remarketing is also be used by businesses with membership programs or products that use recurring payments. If a customer has signed up for a six-month membership a series of emails is sent starting perhaps three months before the membership expires with reminders to renew. This increases the chance that the customer will renew especially if you include incentives extra content or information about new options or programs.

Some other ways to incorporate remarketing are to send emails when products come on sale and to offer special treatment such as upgrades “exclusive” offers coupons and behind-the-scenes information. Most customers like to have special access and to be notified when a product they like has just gone on sale. Making the special offer available for a limited time can communicate a sense of urgency and may improve conversion.

Use both

Because people differ in their response to different forms of marketing successful businesses often use both methods to reach customers. If retargeting doesn’t work for a given customer remarketing might turn the trick and vice versa.

Learn more about Programmatic Advertising here

Excelerate Digital can help you implement retargeting and remarketing for your business. Contact us to learn more.