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Retargeting and remarketing, what's the difference?

digital marketing belfast northern ireland small business

They are two terms that are thrown around the digital world all the time, but do we all 100% know what each term means and the difference between them? Both tools give you, the company, the ability to target and re-engage with users who have already shown an interest in your products and services e.g. they have visited your website, or viewed your products.

Retargeting is normally used in reference to online display campaigns. A user comes onto your website, a cookie is dropped on their browsing session, and you can now show ads to them as they browse other websites. The ad can be a generic brand ad or can even display the exact products or services the user has viewed on your website. You can access the other websites they browse via a third-party network e.g. Google Display Network – this will literally give you access to millions of websites that the user may browse through.

digital marketing belfast northern ireland small business

Retargeting has a much higher engagement and click through rate than non-retargeted display ads. It is a great way to remind users of you, and has real influencing power on their decision making. On the other side of that coin, some users can be really put off when they are retargeted. They can feel ‘spied on’ and a mistrust about your brand. These tend to be older users, younger users find it a lot less intrusive, and helpful. You need to be careful not to push too hard with retargeting however.

Another issue with retargeting is it can be quite hard to fit into your attribution model. Consider this scenario: A user searches for “handbags”, sees a PPC ad for your products, comes onto your website and browses through some of your products and clicks off. The next day the user is browsing some news websites and sees an ad of the handbags they were browsing on your website. They click the ad, and purchase a handbag. Is the sale the result of PPC (first click attribution) or retargeting (last click attribution) – or both? It’s obviously the result of both but you need to ensure both have credit for the sale, as your decision making relies on the attribution being right.

Remarketing is generally the term used to describe users being re-engaged with through the medium of email. Usually shopping cart abandonment emails, cross sell emails and upsell emails. These are all incredibly powerful tools for your business. Popular with users are emails that highlight a product they’ve viewed being on sale or available for free delivery. Again, some users can find these tactics intrusive, and again these tend to be the older users with the younger users finding them helpful.

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Timing is important with remarketing also – if you send an abandoned cart email within 1 hour of the users leaving your website, you have 10X more chance of them purchasing. After that it’s a much lower engagement rate.

I’ve heard digital marketing professionals call it remarketing when they should be referencing retargeting and vice versa – is it because they sound slightly similar? Google also confuses it further by sometimes referring to their retargeting tools as remarketing tools. Thanks Google! Either way both are incredibly effective and depending on your goals, most businesses can make great use of both tools.

Get in touch if you want any more information on either of these.

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