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Retargeting vs Remarketing: Navigating the Nuances

Retargeting vs Remarketing: Navigating the Nuances

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Online marketing is like playing your favorite board game: When you hone in on the right strategy, you’re bound to win. The problem is that ecommerce marketing is more like chess than checkers. There are endless strategies to choose from. Paid or organic? Inbound or outbound?

One of the most vital strategy showdowns is retargeting vs remarketing. Pick the right one, and the pieces fall into place. Choose incorrectly, and you’re wasting valuable advertising dollars.

The main difference between the two is the medium of engagement, but there’s more to it than that. That’s why we’re here—to give you a Clue about remarketing vs retargeting and help you secure a Monopoly on marketing wins.

Defining the Terms

Let’s start with some definitions. Think of this section as reading the rules before playing a game for the first time—resist the temptation to skip past or skim through. You’ll only be more confused later.

What Is Retargeting?

Retargeting is a digital advertising strategy that allows you to re-advertise to potential customers who have shown interest in your product. It’s a common tactic on Facebook, Instagram, Google and other platforms.

You’re probably already familiar with retargeting from the consumer perspective. How many times have you left a website without buying something, only to turn around and see ads for the exact product you were thinking of purchasing?

That’s not mind-reading. It’s simply retargeting at work.

What Is Remarketing?

Remarketing, on the other hand, is a digital advertising strategy that involves advertising directly to existing customers. Usually done by email, it’s a way to reconnect with supporters who may not have purchased lately.

Chances are you’ve experienced remarketing as a consumer as well. If you’ve ever spotted a “We Miss You, Here’s 10% Off” subject line in your inbox, you’ve seen this strategy in action.

Deep Dive: Retargeting vs. Remarketing

It’s easy to see why even marketing professionals confuse the two, right? There are definitely some similarities, but as you look closer, you’ll see there are just as many differences.

Let’s review both strategies in more nuance.

Retargeting: Reminding Prospects of Your Existence

Retargeting serves ads to people who have already interacted with your ads or website in some way. Here’s the “behind the scenes” view of how it works.

Retargeting relies on cookies like the Meta Pixel to identify users who interact with your brand. By adding the Pixel (a snippet of code) to your website, you can connect your website to Facebook. Facebook then uses visitor data to serve your ads to previous visitors.

Psychologically speaking, retargeting hinges on the fact that 92% of website visitors aren’t ready to check out. By re-engaging prospects with an ad, you remind them you exist—and, hopefully, you catch them when they are ready.

Retargeting is beneficial due to:

  • The Marketing Rule of 7 – You’ve probably heard that a person needs to see your messaging about seven times before they become a customer. While the exact number may fluctuate, there’s value in being persistent with your ads.
  • Personalization – The desire for personalized ads is climbing. When you retarget someone with an ad for something they’ve already shown interest in, you’re giving them what they want.

However, there are also some drawbacks, including:

  • The potential for ad fatigue – While serving the same ad multiple times is effective, there can be “too much of a good thing.” Aggressive retargeting can ultimately turn prospects off of your brand.
  • Limited reach – Naturally, retargeting campaigns can only reach those who have shown interest. If that’s a relatively small number, your ads won’t get much traction.

Remarketing: Reminding Customers of Your Existence

Remarketing strikes when the iron is hot, so to speak. Instead of reaching interested shoppers who have never bought from you, remarketing engages with customers who have already shown an affinity for your brand. We’re talking more than passing interest.

To engage in remarketing, you need first-party data—in most cases, a customer’s email address. Shoppers provide this info when they make a purchase or sign up for your mailing list. In both cases, these people are showing significant intent.

Using an email marketing tool, you can create an email campaign that intelligently targets these customers. You might try to entice them with a new product drop, a promotion code or a helpful blog that shows your value.

Whatever you send them, you’ll likely enjoy these benefits:

  • Direct marketing—More than any other channel, email feels like a one-on-one conversation. As such, remarketing is infinitely valuable when building a relationship.
  • Smart spending—Because existing customers are more likely to buy than new ones, remarketing is a way to spend your budget wisely.

As with everything, remarketing has some downsides:

  • Limited growth – Remarketing is like shooting fish in a barrel; while it may net you more profits, it’s not growing your audience.
  • Spam blockers – There’s a non-zero chance your personalized email ends up in the Promotions folder, effectively wasting your ad spend.

Choosing the Right Strategy

So, when it comes to remarketing vs retargeting, where should you focus? The answer depends largely on your goals.

If your business objective is to grow your customer base, retargeting may be your best bet. This strategy puts your ads in front of warm leads who are more likely to shop with you.

If you’ve already developed a following and your goal is to increase sales and revenue, remarketing will probably be more valuable. You’re not expanding your audience—but you are encouraging your existing customers to buy more.

Combining Retargeting and Remarketing for Maximum Impact

In reality, it’s not an either/or situation. Retargeting and remarketing can complement each other well—the former can help you grow the customer list you eventually use for the latter.

However, mastering the dynamics of these intertwined strategies is easier said than done. There’s so much to do when building your brand that these tried-and-true tactics can end up imbalanced.

At Human, we’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen. When you take advantage of our ecommerce marketing services, we leverage a calculated blend of retargeting and remarketing, ensuring you’re making the most of both strategies.

So what are you waiting for? To breathe some life into your advertising and win the marketing game, get in touch with us today.

Topics: Ecommerce Marketing