What is the difference between remarketing and retargeting?

Both remarketing and retargeting are terms used to refer to the use of cookies to serve ads to previous visitors of your website. Google uses the term remarketing for their version of this process. However, remarketing has historically been used for email or internal marketing to existing database contacts. Retargeting is a more generic term.

How does retargeting work?

You place a piece of code on your website (often called a pixel). When a visitor accesses your site the code drops an anonymous browser cookie, which is used to “follow” them around as they surf the web and serve ads to them. You can use retargeting with display ads, search, CRM, as well as some social platforms.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column]How retargeting works[vc_column_text]

source: Retargeter

Let’s have a look at the different types of retargeting

Types of retargeting

Site Retargeting

Refers to the use of a pixel on your website which drops a cookie on your website visitor’s browser to track them as they surf the web

Email Retargeting

Email retargeting is no longer used since Google changed the way it displayed images. It used to work by dropping a cookie on the user’s browser once they opened the email. Ads were then displayed to the user as they surfed the internet. CRM retargeting has taken the place of email retargeting

CRM Retargeting

The alternative to email retargeting is CRM retargeting. CRM retargeting is managed by retargeting providers such as PerfectAudienceAdRoll, Retargeter or Bizo. You provide the email address list to the retargeting provider and they match the data you provide with data from other online/offline online audiences using cookie data to identify the user and show him your ads. The success rate depends on the match settings you select when you upload your data to your provider

Social Media Retargeting


Facebook custom audiences retargeting. Using Facebook custom audiences, you create a pixel to place on your website. You then create a custom audience to target or upload your own .csv file and import it directly into Facebook’s Custom Audience manager to match up email addresses with Facebook Profiles.

You then create a campaign. You can serve your ad to both your custom audience and lookalike audiences. Find out how to set it up here.


There are three ways to use retargeting with Twitter:

  1. Tailored Audiences from lists: Created by uploading your own list of email addresses, mobile phone numbers, Twitter usernames and IDs, or mobile advertising IDs. Twitter’s retargeting relies on connecting member profiles to offline data provided by marketers.  Twitter matches your data with cookies or email addresses of its members.
  2. Tailored Audiences from the web: You use Twitter’s tag to collect your website visitors.  You then set up Twitter Ads campaigns targeted to these tagged website visitors.
  3. Tailored Audiences from mobile apps: Data about people who are using your mobile app collected with conversion tracking for mobile apps

Find out how to set it up here

Google Adwords Remarketing

Google Adwords remarketing consists of using a special Google tracking code on your website. You then create a remarketing list, which is created when a user visits your site. The remarketing tag tells AdWords to save the visitor’s cookie ID to your remarketing list. You then build a campaign to show only to people on your remarketing list while they search on Google or browse Display Network websites. Find out how to set it up here

Search Retargeting

Search retargeting targets users based on their previous searches. However, they may have never visited your website before, which is unlike other forms of retargeting mentioned.

Users may not necessarily be aware of your website or brand in order to be retargeted to.  Search retargeting is designed to find new customers who may have not visited your site.


Does retargeting work?

Let’s have a look at some facts to see if retargeting actually works:

  • Industry experts estimate that only 1 – 2% of site visitors convert to customers.
  • Retargeting can generate 1,046% increase in brand search (ComScore)
  • Retargeting can boost ad response up to 400%. (CMO)
  • With retargeting, the percentage of users who return and complete the check-out process increased to 26 per cent (Digital Information World)
  • The average click-through rate online for display ads is 0.07% and the average click-through for retargeted ads is about 0.7% according to Criteo. (DigiDay)
  • Web site visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70 per cent more likely to convert on your Web site. (CMO)
  • Tirendo has increased its sales by 22% thanks to remarketing lists for search ads (Google)
  • Adroll claims their customers, on average, earn $10 for every $1 spent on retargeting.

The statistics are compelling but…

Is retargeting creepy or clever?

As much as we would like to think that the buyer’s journey is linear. It most often isn’t. Buyers will bounce from site to site (especially in the explore stage), then maybe something happens in their business or personal life that sparks their interest so that they stop and engage and delve deeper, they go to a site and download an e-book or white paper and start the delve stage. That’s when you want to be there, you want to be the site where they enter their information to download that information. That’s the theory behind retargeting. Being there, reminding your ex-visitor that you can provide them value when they need it.

There are numerous benefits of retargeting. For example, you can display personalised, targeted ad to buyers numerous times so they don’t forget you. If a visitor gets distracted and abandons a shopping cart, retargeting can bring them back to complete the purchase.

However, appearing very overly frequently, in unlikely places on the internet can sometimes appear like you are stalking the visitor. You don’t want to come across as creepy or as a stalker so what’s the fine line?

Let’s take a look at a few tips to use to make sure you advertise in a professional manner.

Personalise your re-targeting according to their buyer stage

Audience segmentation allows for you to tailor ad messages to users in different buyer stages. You can place different retargeting pixels on different pages of your site, and then tailor your ad creative based on the buyer stage/page they visited.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][image style=”style-5″ position=”below” src=””][vc_column_text]

Tailor your ad to your audience

Make your ads relevant by serving up different ads based on topic and demographic information available to you. Advertisements can be targeted based on demographic information, like age or gender, contextual factors like subject matter of the website, or geographic data.

o.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][image style=”style-5″ position=”below” src=”” alt=”Retargeting by demographic and action”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]


Once a customer has purchased, they probably don’t want to constantly see your advertisements. However, targeting buyers during the explore, interest and delve stages has a positive impact. See the infographic below from InSkinMedia:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][image style=”style-5″ position=”below” src=”” alt=”Timing of retargeting”][vc_column_text]

source: InSkinMedia



Don’t show ads to the same customer too many times. Use frequency/impression cap limits. Retargeter recommends 17-20 ads per user per month. However, test this out and find out what works for you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][image style=”style-5″ position=”below” src=”” alt=”Frequency of retargeting”][vc_column_text]

source: InSkinMedia



Make sure you place the retargeting ad on a relevant site. Lets say you sell marketing automation software and you placing your ad on a ladies shoe site, this can seem particularly creepy![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][image style=”style-5″ position=”below” src=”” alt=”Placement of retargeting ad”][vc_column_text]

source: InSkinMedia

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I hope you enjoyed the blog and found some interesting tips.  If so, please sign up with Results 2Day.  We like to think we send infrequent but useful digital marketing tips, templates, statistics and information.



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