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Remarketing vs Retargeting: Which Will Elevate Your Brand?

A woman thinking whether to use remarketing or retargeting in her marketing campaigns.

Remarketing and retargeting are like two cousins in the world of digital marketing. They may seem similar, but they each have their own personalities.

Now, I’m sure you must be wondering, how are they different? Well, we’re here to break it down for you!


Have you ever googled a pair of shoes that’s been on your mind, perhaps do some virtual window shopping, and then leave the website without making a purchase? Later, when scrolling through your Instagram feed, you come across an ad featuring those exact same shoes!

This is a prime example of retargeting in action. You're being retargeted because you've demonstrated an interest in that product, and now it's reappearing in your online ads to rekindle your interest and encourage you to make a purchase.

Now, people can show ‘interest’ in many different ways such as visiting a specific page, adding items to a shopping cart, or taking some other meaningful action.

These users are then "retargeted" with ads when they browse the internet or social media, with the aim of bringing them back to complete the desired action. Retargeting often relies on tracking pixels or cookies to identify and follow these users across different websites and platforms.


Remarketing works a little differently, it’s more towards email marketing. Say you added something to your cart, and didn’t complete a purchase and then receive an email saying something like ‘These shoes look better in your home!’

This is a perfect example of remarketing. But, it doesn’t stop there! You can also use this method to send discounts or upgraded items to existing customers, which in return can boost your sales.

When to Use Retargeting & Remarketing?

A man typing on his laptop

You should use retargeting when you want to re-engage potential customers who have visited your website but didn't complete a desired action, such as making a purchase.

Retargeting focuses on website visitors who didn't take the desired action, and it typically involves using online ads on various platforms to bring them back.

Use remarketing when you want to re-engage past customers or individuals who have interacted with your brand in various ways, beyond just website visits. This can include people who have made purchases, subscribed to your newsletter, or engaged with your brand on social media.

Remarketing is a broader strategy that employs a range of marketing tactics, such as email marketing, personalized offers, and content designed to foster loyalty and encourage repeat business.

In short:

  • Use retargeting for website visitors who didn't convert.

  • Use remarketing for a broader audience that includes past customers and individuals who have engaged with your brand in various ways.

Now that you know what each of them stands for, let’s dive into how you can use them to drive better results!

Retargeting Best Practices

A woman working on her retargeting ads in a cafe

Learn Your Audience

To make your retargeting campaign work well, you need to group people into different categories that make the most sense to your business. Think of it like putting them into different boxes based on how they act on your website or app.

How do you do this? Look at data from your website or app to see what people do. Keep an eye on which pages they visit, how long they stay, and how often they come back. Then, put people in boxes based on these data. This way, you can show ads to the right people who have shown they're interested in what you offer.


Understanding your audience's interests is key because everything revolves around them. People love it when they feel important. They appreciate when you make the effort to understand their preferences and avoid showing them ads for things they don't care about. That's where personalization comes into play.

When you create ads that feel personal to the people seeing them, they work better. You can do this by showing them products they looked at before or things related to what they're interested in.

Use clear, eye catching pictures, concise words, and messages that make them want to take an action, like buy your product. This way, more people will end up buying from you.

Don’t Overdo It

How often and for how long your ads show up is super important for getting people interested. You don't want to annoy them by showing your ad too many times in one day.

I mean, put yourself in their shoes: if you see an ad too many times in a single day, you'd get annoyed too, and you might even start to dislike it which is what we want to avoid.

So, try different timings and see what works best to get people to buy from you. Work on adjusting this to make your retargeting work even better.

Remarketing Best Practices

A man typing 'Marketing Strategy' on his laptop

Use Emails and Ads

To make your remarketing efforts work really well, use both emails and ads.

The reason we're saying is because, you can re-engage people through emails and also display ads on various websites. Email reminders are for people who visited your website, and the ads on other sites help get their attention.

It's also a good idea to group people based on what they like and how they act on your website. This helps you make ads and emails that are more to their preference.

Work On Your Timing

Timing matters in both email and website remarketing. You should set up triggers for your campaigns based on what people do or how much time has passed to make sure you reach them at the best time.

Also, think about where people are in their shopping journey:

Browse abandonment: People who looked at stuff but didn't add anything to their cart.

Cart abandonment: People who put things in their cart but didn't buy them.

Post-purchase: People who already bought something and might want more.

Try different timings and triggers to see what gets the best results with your audience. Keep checking and changing your campaigns to make them work effectively.

Writing and Designing Effective Ads

In order to make your remarketing ads and emails effective, you need to get people's attention and convince them to take the desired action. But how do you do that?

  • Use strong headlines and clear messages to show people what to do

  • Talk about the benefits/attributes and why they should be interested in what you're offering

  • Keep your words short and sweet but still tell people enough to get them interested

When it comes to design, make sure your ads are eye-catching (people scroll really quickly, you need to catch their attention fast), easy to grasp, and match your brand.

People should be able to see your ad and know it's from your brand and quickly understand the message you’re trying to convey.

Retargeting and Remarketing on Google and Facebook

A man thinking whether to use retargeting or remarketing in his marketing strategies

When you want to display your ads again to people who have visited your website or engaged with your content, Google Ads and Facebook Ads are where it's at. Here's how they work in simpler terms:

Google Ads: It's like putting up billboards along the road, but instead of everyone seeing them, only people who've been to your website get to see your special billboards. You can also see which ‘billboards’ work the best.

Facebook Ads: Think of this like sending a friendly reminder to people who've added to cart or liked your posts. You can also find new customers who are a lot like your current ones and show them your friendly reminders.

Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads have tools to help you do this and make your ads really effective. These platforms give you lots of options to reach the right people with your ads and bring them back to your website or store.

Remarketing or Retargeting: Which Is Better?

At this point, you must be wondering, "Which one should I choose to boost my brand?" The right answer is both. Retargeting and remarketing serve their own purpose in marketing strategies and when used simultaneously can yield great results.

It's essential to understand the unique strengths of each and how they can complement one another to create a comprehensive marketing strategy. By mastering and implementing these techniques effectively, you can re-engage potential customers and significantly boost your conversion rates.


Well, aren’t we glad you asked! We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements and provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.


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