What is remarketing in digital marketing?

Copy of [NEW] Blog Size [1200x628px] (7)

What is remarketing on platforms such as Google and Facebook; a look into why and how it works

If you have ever visited a website, you may have found that soon after visiting the website, and while browsing other websites online, an ad popped up for the first website. Or perhaps you visited an eCommerce store, added some items to your basket, but didn’t complete the purchase. Then over the next few days, while surfing the web, you saw an ad highlighting the products you left in the cart. This digital marketing tactic is called “retargeting”.

Remarketing strategies can be created by using various channels, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram, email marketing, Whatsapp, SMS marketing, and many more media.

What is the difference between remarketing and retargeting?

Many marketers switch or even mix up these two terms. However, they are, in fact, two different types of strategies.

Although they have similarities, remarketing and retargeting essentially leverage different channels and focus on very different desired outcomes. In summary, retargeting mainly uses paid ads to reengage people who have visited your online platforms, such as websites or social media profiles. Meanwhile, remarketing normally uses email to reengage former customers who have already made a purchase with your company or have signed up to a mailing list.

The main difference in approach is in the strategy when it comes to retargeting vs. remarketing. Retargeting focuses on serving ads to prospect customers using cookies whereas remarketing strategies are typically based on email marketing. Remarketing works by collecting users’ data and creating lists, which can also later be used to create email campaigns.

However, it should be noted that the terms have been used interchangeably so much that even platforms such as Google mix up the terms. Even though it is essential to understand the difference between the two terms, there is some consensus in the marketing community to use “remarketing” as the umbrella term.

Examples of remarketing in digital marketing

There are various types of remarketing; here are some examples:

Standard remarketing

This type of remarketing is about displaying ads to previous website visitors who browsed your website pages but didn’t complete a purchase or any other conversion. This can also include creating remarketing lists for search ads, which involves showing ads to past visitors as they conduct follow-up searches for services or products that they are looking for on search engines such as Google, even after leaving your website.

Dynamic remarketing

Dynamic ads are behavioral ads that are displayed to a user based on the aspects of their behavior on your website or through a webpage. Benefits include creating ad messages dynamically that are explicitly generated for the person viewing the content. This dynamic approach based on user behavior increases the possibility of the user returning to your website to complete the purchase. 

One use case is in relation to an eCommerce platform, where dynamic remarketing ads can include the particular shopping items that a visitor puts into their cart, increasing the probability that they will click on the ad when exposed to that same product again.

Video remarketing

Video remarketing involves showing ads to audiences who have already interacted with your video content, such as through a YouTube channel as they browse YouTube and search through other platforms such as Display Network videos, websites, and apps. This is an increasingly crucial remarketing tactic as the time viewed on video platforms is snowballing, making YouTube one of the most popular social media platforms today. This technique is based on displaying video ads to audiences who have seen your videos in a particular timeframe or to previous website visitors. One other involves showing remarketing videos on select YouTube content on your channel at set times of the video, for example, at the beginning or between ad segments. Relevant marketing is vital here, as you should choose a contextual approach to ensure the ad relates to the video content.

Email remarketing

Email remarketing is now considered a traditional strategy, yet it is still one of the most important remarketing tools in your digital toolbox. Using this approach, you can set up ads on your website to display to target audiences who have opened a particular email and even clicked a specific link but didn’t complete the purchase. As a follow-up, you can create targeted email campaigns for these users and attract them to come back to your website and complete the purchase.

A typical example of this is the shopping cart reminder notification, and it is popular because it has proven to be a solid remarketing tactic for your digital marketing strategy. Just be sure to include a clear and relevant call to action in the email to maximize the impact of this approach.


Many savvy marketers are implementing remarketing strategies to support their bottom line, particularly as they can be a cost-effective way to drive sales, in the form of a “quick win”, as you are retargeting users who have already expressed an interest in purchasing or have made a previous purchase. Other benefits include increasing subscriptions and even raising brand awareness efficiently. If you are not using it already, your business should consider remarketing and closely look at if you are using this approach and it is currently not working.

If you have any questions related to remarketing or advertising, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@relevantaudience.com

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr

Related Articles

Digital Marketing

Improvements to Google shopping ads

Google shopping ads make enhancements to the user experience Google recently announced a notable visual change to its apparel search results, creating a unique combination

Read More »