Remarketing vs retargeting: what’s the difference?

28 Dec 2022


Helen Crompton

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Remarketing and retargeting are both commonly heard terms in the world of PPC. But, do you actually know the difference between the two? Although they’re different strategies, sometimes you may hear them used interchangeably. We’re here to explain the difference between remarketing and retargeting, and evaluate their different uses.

What is remarketing?

Remarketing strategies usually focus on reattracting customers to continue making purchases from a business. This can be through emails or paid ads that show up for existing customers. A remarketing strategy that you yourself may have received is an email showing your abandoned cart and reminding you to purchase, possibly containing a discount code as well. Examples also include Birthday discounts, anniversary reminders, prompts to renew a membership, or simply new products that a customer may be interested in.

Remarketing has expanded recently and is often used as an umbrella term that covers both retargeting and remarketing strategies. For example, Google Ads remarketing often uses retargeting practices, such as showing ads to previous visitors of your site. We’ll go into more detail about retargeting below.

What is retargeting?

Retargeting mainly uses cookies to show ads to users who have previously visited or interacted with a website. So, it focuses on users who haven’t made a purchase yet. These ads can also be tailored to a specific product or service that the user seems to be interested in. For example, if they visited your site page about dog toys, then this could be advertised to them rather than the other pet toys that you sell. However, retargeting ads can also be tailored to a certain demographic who may not have heard of your brand before, but whose previous activity suggests they might be interested in your products or services.

Retargeting methods have advanced in recent years, meaning that they’re no longer limited to visitors of your website. Retargeting ads can be displayed on Google or on social media platforms – most commonly, Facebook. This means that users who interact with your social media pages can also be targeted via ads. Retargeting is a great way to attract conversions, as you know that these users are potential customers.

Remarketing vs retargeting

There are slight differences between retargeting and remarketing strategies. However, don’t forget that the two actually share the same goals – to drive conversions. The overlap between remarketing and retargeting is getting greater over time, so it’s important to make the most of both strategies for maximum performance. Let’s summarise the similarities and differences between remarketing and retargeting:

Remarketing focuses on existing customers

Remarketing on the whole focuses on engaging with your existing customers in order to bring them back again. Whether it’s products or services that you’re promoting, customers that have already purchased from you may need an extra push to purchase from you again. Remarketing is a valuable way to not lose the loyalty of existing customers, and is a strategy that can be used time and time again. Often, returning customers may be profiting your business the most – don’t forget about them!

Retargeting aims to attract new customers

Retargeting is most effectively used for potential customers who have shown interest in your product or service, but haven’t yet made a purchase. Users often don’t actually make a purchase on their first visit to a website, which is why retargeting is essential for encouraging conversions. Because retargeting uses information from users who have already shown an interest, it’s much more effective than advertising blindly to a wide demographic. Plus, with the ability to customise ads to what users want to see, you’ll gain much more traffic to your website.

Both are focused on increased conversions

The main benefit of using both retargeting and remarketing strategies is that you have two different ways of increasing the number of conversions on your site. As you may already know, conversions are customers who make a purchase from your website. So, more conversions means more profit. It’s important to attract both new and existing customers so that you don’t miss out on selling opportunities, which is why retargeting and remarketing can work so well together.

Once your retargeting strategy has successfully attracted new customers, remarketing can be used to keep them coming back. This means you can maximise your ROI for the traffic you’re already paying to attract. If you’d like to hear more about the benefits of PPC strategies, give our article a read.

PPC can help any business to quickly attract and target customers. Our team knows exactly how to make the most of your money through paid advertising. To find out more, get in touch.

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