Retargeting vs. Remarketing: What’s the Difference?

Retargeting and remarketing are two strategies for re-engaging users who did not convert.
Let’s say you’ve just revamped your website, adding lots of structured data, fixing broken links, and beefing up your SEO content. Maybe you’ve even gained some back links through all your effort, driving more and more visitors to your site.

You run some analytics, and the initial results look good: Your bounce rates are low and you’re getting tons of traffic. Great! But you’re seeing the same conversion rates as you did before the optimization campaign. What’s the deal?

Basically, there’s a slice of your audience who is engaging with your site, but not deciding to purchase your goods or services. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. In fact, the average conversion rate for first-time visitors of a given site is just above 2%. That means a whopping 98% of visitors to your site are engaging without buying. If you’re not hitting that 2% mark – or whatever your company’s goals are – it may be time for intervention.

Whether you’re not communicating the value they need, not communicating it in a way that reaches them, not targeting the right audience, or you need to smooth out some kinks in the way your site translates to the buyer’s journey, there is something lacking in your site’s ability to turn passive viewers into active customers. This is where retargeting and remarketing come in.

Often used interchangeably, even in the digital marketing world, retargeting and remarketing actually describe two different processes for achieving the same goal. That is, they both aim to re-engage potential customers who have previously visited your site but did not complete any call to action.

Why Mount Remarketing and Retargeting Campaigns?

The situation described above is normal in digital marketing. A combination of good technical and on-page SEO – as well as social media marketing and even more traditional marketing avenues like TV and radio – can do wonders for traffic on your site. But increased traffic doesn’t do you much good if those new visitors aren’t becoming customers.

So how do you know if you should pursue a remarketing or retargeting campaign? First, let’s go over some of the basic components of retargeting vs. remarketing.

What is Retargeting?

In a nutshell, retargeting is the process of digitally following and tracking the part of your audience who didn’t convert after engaging with your site. This is achieved using “cookies,” or pieces of data that embed themselves in a user’s browser.

In a retargeting campaign, you would use those cookies to place paid ads for your brand on other sites the user visits. The hope is that the user will follow the ad back to your site and convert by purchasing your product or service.

Retargeting alone won’t boost your conversion rates, just like increasing traffic alone won’t create customers out of visitors. The key is mounting a retargeting campaign in conjunction with all those great inbound and outbound marketing strategies that got visitors to your site in the first place. Don’t invest in a retargeting campaign without pursuing other digital marketing projects in tandem.

What is Remarketing?

As mentioned above, remarketing has the same goal as retargeting, and the term is often used to describe the above process. However, remarketing usually refers to mounting email campaigns aimed at re-engaging customers through their inboxes rather than paid ads.

Examples of remarketing include emailing customers to “remind” them of subscriptions or trials that are about to end or shopping carts they recently started but abandoned, or even just to let them know about an upcoming deal or product they might like based on their previous purchase history.

Remarketing doesn’t just revive your brand presence in a customer’s mind. It can also establish a stronger sense of the personal in an otherwise faceless digital transaction. Well-crafted remarketing emails respond to a customer’s unique preferences and values, making them feel taken care of.

The key to a successful remarketing campaign is making the emails helpful, not annoying – much like a good salesperson. If customers feel they’re being aggressively pitched something they don’t need, they may be less likely to re-engage.

Finally, remarketing tools will only work if you also have tools to glean and analyze customer data from your site.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing: Why Not Both?

Again, the main difference when it comes to retargeting vs. remarketing is in strategy, not goals. In fact, there’s no reason both tools can’t be used together, in conjunction with good SEO and other marketing strategies designed to both garner traffic and glean and analyze customer data for even better retargeting and remarketing strategies.

If you have questions about retargeting or remarketing tools, or which type of campaign is right for you, don’t hesitate to ask the professionals at Bloom Ads. We’d be happy to put our digital marketing expertise to use and help you get your product or service into customers’ hands.

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