Long Island Digital Marketing: Remarketing vs. Retargeting

When you reach out to potential customers for the first time, they often won’t convert. They need to be exposed to your ads and website multiple times to learn more about your company, what you offer, and how your product or service will help them. Because of this, many businesses find ways to market to the people who have already been exposed to your brand. For instance, if someone comes to your company website and then leaves without making a purchase, you’ll want to reach out to the person again. By increasing the frequency at which potential customers see your brand, you increase the conversion rate.

If you’re already familiar with this marketing strategy, you may have heard the terms “remarketing” and/or “retargeting”. People often use these terms interchangeably, but in fact, they are different digital marketing tactics. In this post, we are going to discuss the differences between remarketing and retargeting. In addition, we’ll cover the optimal situations for using each strategy.


When we refer to retargeting, the focus is mainly on serving ads to customers based on how they behaved on your website. At Skyrush Marketing, we employ retargeting techniques through the Google Display and Google Search networks. Basically, what happens is this – the person visits your website and starts browsing the different products but doesn’t make a purchase. A tag is placed on the website which captures this user’s information and serves ads to them on other sites they visit.

The image below shows a sample display ad that used retargeting.

As a digital marketer, I often explore different marketing tools, and when I started working at Skyrush I visited the semrush website to learn more about what this tool has to offer. As I was doing research for another client, a university, I visited a higher education news site and on the top, I was presented with a display ad for semrush. This tactic ended up being useful because after seeing the ad, I approached one of my coworkers to find out how to get started with this tool. By seeing this ad, I encouraged our team to upgrade our subscription to semrush. If someone saw this ad for the first time and didn’t know what semrush was, then it probably wouldn’t be as effective as it was in this situation.

In addition to this example, there are seven different types of retargeting, according to Chango.

As you can see, this graphic is split into retargeting off-site events and retargeting on-site events. Off-site events are more of a prospecting tool, while on-site events are primarily a re-engagement and upsell tool. Search applies to both retargeting off-site events (i.e. paid search) and on-site events, while the other six types of effective retargeting are divided between off-site and on-site events.

While retargeting has a major benefit of increasing ROI, it is not without challenges. For instance, when you are trying to attribute performance across different channels, it can be nearly impossible. If someone sees a display ad, but doesn’t click on it, you wouldn’t attribute a specific sale to that ad, but what if the ad increased awareness and inevitably drove the user to make a purchase, it should get credit for that sale. Another challenge of retargeting is getting a big enough list to use. You need to develop a list of users who visit your site, search for your brand, or subscribe to emails in order to make the most of retargeting. This requires a high-volume list, which may take small businesses a while to generate.

Overall, we can see that retargeting has a lot of potential to improve ROI, especially if marketers are aware of the challenges they may face and come up with ways to overcome them.


Now that we’ve covered retargeting, you may think that this is what you thought remarketing was. However, below, I’ll go over remarketing and how it is different from retargeting.


Remarketing is actually different from retargeting. Specifically, when you think of remarketing, you should think of re-engagement. The main focus is re-engaging customers through email campaigns. The best example of this is the shopping cart abandonment email – a user is on your site and puts one or more items into their shopping cart, but then leaves the site before making a purchase. This can also be involved in upselling after a user makes a purchase. Think of Amazon. I’m sure most people get the emails from Amazon with personalized suggestions based on past purchases. See the example below:


I was searching for one of our clients’ products on Amazon and then based on my activity, I received this email, suggesting that I purchase the item. In addition, I started getting emails with other suggestions based on what I was searching for.


This is a great way to re-engage with customers or potential customers based on their specific activity. Sometimes, you’ll see examples of coupons that get sent via email, offering free shipping or a discount on the order that you started. These are all examples of remarketing, and like retargeting, this tactic increases ROI.







Why You Need Both

You don’t need to choose one or the other – it is important to incorporate both retargeting and remarketing tactics in your digital marketing strategy. Like we said, it depends on the specific situation that you are dealing with and determining how the two different tactics can complement each other. You might start by using retargeting tactics, and then as users get closer to making a purchase (i.e. adding products to their cart), you hit them with remarketing emails. It’s all about balance and figuring out when to leverage one tactic over the other. At Skyrush Marketing, your Long Island digital agency, we understand the nuances of retargeting and remarketing. We work as a digital marketing team to develop a balance of retargeting and remarketing efforts and we monitor all campaigns daily to ensure that the strategy is appropriate. Learn more about how Skyrush Marketing, a digital marketing company NYC can develop your retargeting or remarketing strategy.

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