Discovering the Truth Behind Remarketing Vs. Retargeting

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Discovering the Truth Behind Remarketing vs. Retargeting

Remarketing and retargeting are two terms that get thrown around a lot in the marketing world. Despite having different meanings, they are often used interchangeably. Why should it matter that you use the right term? Imagine if you knew the difference and were told by someone who didn’t to write remarketing ads. You might end up writing for the wrong sort of ad! If you work in the marketing world, it’s best to know the difference between remarketing vs. retargeting. Then you can avoid any misunderstandings as well as be educated on what each is.

Remarketing vs. Retargeting: Similarities

Both types of ads are different, but they both have the same purpose. That is likely why so many people get the two terms confused. Because both are meant to market to people who have already come in contact with you. Your audience is people you know without a doubt that are interested in what you have to offer. Because of this, remarketing and retargeting are different than regular display ads you might see on the internet. These ads won’t be displayed to everyone—just to those who have visited you previously or interacted with you online. This targeting allows you to spend your marketing budget only on qualified leads and not waste money.


Originally, the term “remarketing” referred to emails that would re-engage their current customers. An example of these would be an email from Amazon recommending similar products to one you either viewed or purchased. Another remarketing example would be an email reminding you about something you left in your cart on an online store. This method is considered to be one of the best remarketing tactics. The most effective remarketing tactic is a notification about when an item someone has viewed online goes on sale.


Retargeted ads come in the form of either online or placement ads. Those happen whenever a person visits a site, and cookies are set. These cookies allow the site to follow that person throughout their other internet searches. As they search the web, the person will then see ads from that site on every other site they visit.

There are 5 methods of retargeting based on targeting to:

  • A person based on their internet searches
  • Those who consume similar content as your current customers
  • Anyone who has interacted with your distributed content (Facebook page, ad, video)
  • People who have visited sites similar to your own
  • Those who interact with your emails (opens newsletter)

Remarketing vs. Retargeting: Differences

The main difference between remarketing and retargeting is their platform. Remarketing relies on email; retargeting relies on internet cookies. But while the two terms are used interchangeably due to their similar purpose, there is another reason they are now confused more than ever. Remarketing has morphed from its original definition to be a Google-specific term to refer to their Google AdWords ads. Remarketing now means two things: email “remarketing” and Google AdWords. Because of the potential confusion, marketers who understand these terms are likely to avoid the term remarketing in general and use only “retargeting” or “Google Adwords.”

Target Your Audience with Strategy

Only 2% of first-time website visitors will lead to a sale. That means it is your job to bring those people back to your company to become paying customers. You can do this either through online ads, email, Google AdWords, or all of the above. People are 4 times more likely to be encouraged rather than discouraged to buy something if a relevant ad pops up during a search. Sometimes they just need a reminder to return to your site. Keep your brand in your buyers’ minds. And pay attention to the frequency, context, and recency of each ad or email to avoid becoming more of a nuisance. When you do choose this path of marketing, be sure to pair the technique with a good ad campaign.

Too Much Can Work Against You

This applies to all retargeting, remarketing, and Google AdWords. Sometimes less is more. If your audience is constantly seeing your ads (more than one or two a week), they’re going to get frustrated and annoyed. They could even get slightly creeped out by your company. Don’t make people feel bombarded or stalked by you. When you create your ads, make sure you have plenty of variety and restrain your ads from becoming overbearing by setting a viewable limit.

If you’re already practicing one of these strategies, discovering the real term shouldn’t affect what you’re doing. Differentiating each of them is simply going to strengthen communication within your marketing department and overall company. It will help you communicate what sort of advertisement you want going out to consumers interested in becoming your customers. And at this point, still specify to your team members if you mean email remarketing or Google Adwords remarketing. As of yet, email remarketing doesn’t have an official term to set itself apart from Google.

Are you ready to start your own form of retargeting or remarketing? Contact us today to talk with us about a plan.

Titan Digital provides marketing services to businesses all throughout the United States. If your business needs digital marketing help Contact Us today.