Marketing 101

What Is Retargeting?2 min read

, Veterinary Marketing Specialist June 25, 2020 2 min read

What Is Retargeting?2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Retargeting is often confused with remarketing. Google (and the occasional marketer) refers to remarketing as a way to reach past website visitors and app users—this is really retargeting. Retargeting leverages the display network to serve ads to site visitors via website tracking cookies. Remarketing, on the other hand, leverages email for reengagement.

Retargeting is often used in conjunction with search and display advertising tactics. Typically, it’s the final step to convert unknown website visitors into known contacts in your database. When someone visits your website, their internet browser will store a snippet of data called a cookie. This small piece of code enables you to reach that visitor as they continue browsing the internet.

With retargeting, you can serve banner ads via off-network distribution channels only to those who have visited your website. This enables you to generate timely and narrowly focused ads with a relevant call-to-action.

Examples of Retargeting

Say a visitor comes to your website, looks at a product page, and then leaves. Later, while on, they see an ad for the product they were just viewing on your website. Thanks to your compelling copy, design, and call-to-action, the visitor returns to your website and requests a sales meeting via your contact form.

Let’s consider another example. This time, our hypothetical visitor comes to your website, looks at a research study that you’ve posted on your blog, and leaves. Later, while browsing Facebook, they see an ad offering a free download of an e-book on the same topic as the study. They return and fill out your lead capture form to download the e-book, at which point you can add them to your remarketing audience list.

Creating Your Retargeting Audiences

You can create inclusion and exclusion criteria for retargeting campaign audiences that are as simple or as advanced as you want, typically through the Google Display Network tools. For example, it is common to stop retargeting visitors after a certain amount of time has passed without a conversion activity. Most marketers also remove audience members from a retargeting campaign after conversion to both optimize ad spend and avoid annoying people who have already converted by sending them irrelevant messaging.

Still not totally clear on the difference? Check out the chart below for some key differentiators between retargeting and remarketing.

Delivery MethodEmailDisplay network, commonly Google or Facebook
Audience IdentificationEmail must be knownWebsite visitor, identified via tracking cookies
GoalBottom-of-funnel lead nurturing or post-sale customer nurturingConversion from an unknown visitor to a lead in your database
Reengagement TriggerCould be triggered by a behavior or list upload depending upon the sophistication of your marketing automation capabilitiesVisits your website, then they start getting served off-network ads

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