Retargeting VS Remarketing: How They Differ [Infographic]

By Carol Soriano on May 24, 2017
Carol Soriano
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Retargeting and Remarketing are two buzzwords that marketers often hear and use interchangeably. While they may have some similarities, they are different concepts and are applied in a variety of ways, too.

To find out whether you need to do Retargeting or Remarketing, here’s an infographic you can use as a reference on the differences and similarities of the two marketing strategies.


What is Retargeting? 

Retargeting is used to describe online ad placements, in text and image format, often based on a user’s activity on your website. Once a user visits your site, a cookie is set on his internet browser, and this cookie lets you serve him ads on other websites they visit.

Part of the appeal of retargeting is that it can be done through large third-party networks like the Google Display Network and AdRoll—allowing advertisers to reach users on millions of websites online.

A good example of a retargeting ad is this Facebook placement from HubSpot.


Image Source:

Because the customer already knows who HubSpot is, the company didn’t bother using branded copy and visuals. Instead, they focused on addressing a possible reason the website visitor didn’t purchase their CRM, that is the time it will take to set up. They also used a timer as the picture to emphasize this and went further by saying how much time the tool can save its user.

According to the Search Engine Journal (SEJ), retargeting can be placed into two categories: “on-site” and “off-site” events. On-site interactions are the more popular category of retargeting because it involves serving ads to individuals who have already visited and interacted with your website (meaning, they’ve already expressed interest) but have yet to make a purchase. This is often done by retailers by displaying the ad on a product page the visitor has taken a look that.

On the other hand, off-site interactions happen with customers who have not yet interacted with your website but are similar to previous customers. This can be done by targeting their web searches or interactions they’ve made on content with distributed content such as your Facebook page or mobile app.


What is Remarketing? 

Remarketing is specifically the process of re-engaging customers using email campaigns. It’s probably Google that caused much of the confusion between the terminologies, as they called their retargeting tools “Remarketing Tools.” However, in a sense, remarketing still is a form of retargeting, as its primary goal is to bring back traffic to your website.

According to a study by AgilOne, the most effective marketing emails are a result of remarketing tactics. Some of these include personalized emails on discounts to check out an abandoned cart (54%) and new customer welcome offers (61%).

The takeaway here is that remarketing email campaigns must be focused on increasing conversions for those who have already made meaningful interactions with your website such as adding items to their cart or signing up as a user.

While remarketing email campaigns are effective in retail, there are some creative ways to use the technique. For example, Dropbox sends the following email a few days after a new customer signs up for their service but does not install the app on their computer.

dropbox.jpgImage Source: CrazyEgg

For Dropbox, no install means no business, so it is critical for them to encourage customers to install the app. The brand used a straightforward remarketing email campaign to do just that.




As Mike Arsenault of Rejoiner said, “there’s really no reason to choose” between retargeting and remarketing. It is clear that both tactics can work well together—with display retargeting nurturing potential customer’s interest and email remarketing converting customers who are already in the later stages of your sales funnel.


Get an in-depth look at how to become effective at B2B retargeting!

B2B Guide to Retargeting: How to Bring Quality Leads Back To Your Site


Topics: Paid Advertising

Carol Soriano

About Carol Soriano

Carol is the only girl among the content strategists of Spiralytics. Her varied career included exciting stints as a news researcher, creative TV writer, and web news producer. This lady enjoys reading books, watching indie films, and procrastinating her life away. She does her best content ideas on bus rides to work and in between EverWing games.

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