Retargeting is generally used when talking about online ad placements like display ads or search ads. When someone visits your website, a cookie is dropped in their internet browser. As they continue to browse something else on the internet, you use this piece of information to retarget them with display ads that recommend the same product, service or your offer.
These ads are placed using third party tools, such as the Google Display Network. This gives you easy access to continue to show up your brand to people that have expressed interest in you in their very recent web activity.
Retargeting is generally separated into two categories: off-site and on-site interactions.
refers to people that have yet visited your site, but they have similarities to previous visitors and customers. You reach out to them because of their past behavior, because of the way they’ve interacted with other online content in the past.
refers to people that you’ve interacted with in some way in the past. They’ve already visited your site. They’ve previously interacted in some way. Have you ever placed an item in a shopping cart, abandoned the sale, then found this item following you across the internet? Yep, that’s retargeting at play.
Facebook is a pro at this process. If you’ve ever searched on something and suddenly found your social media newsfeed filled ads directly related to what’s happening in your life at that particular moment, you know exactly how powerful retargeting can be.
Retargeting works because it’s comparatively easier marketing to someone who already has an interest in what you do.
Now that you understand what retargeting is, let’s compare that with remarketing. This actually gets a little tricky because in a lot of cases, the two words are used interchangeably. But there is a slight difference. While retargeting uses display ads to continue advertising to people that have made contact with your site, remarketing uses email instead.
As you can see, the differences between retargeting and remarketing are subtle at best. They both share a goal of increasing your conversion, raising brand awareness, and giving you a better shot at the sale. The difference is merely in their approach.
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