Retargeting and Remarketing: The Facts, the Good, and the Bad

You’ve seen these customers before—whether it’s in an actual store or an online one, there will always be shoppers who will simply browse the aisles and just abandon the cart altogether.

As a business owner, wouldn’t it be great not just for customers to know you’re the shop they can go to for specific needs but also to be the store where everybody buys something from in every visit?

But as much as you’d love for all of your visitors to leave your site with a purchase in tow, not all customers behave this way.

There is a technique for you to get in touch with them again and encourage them to buy your products the next time they set foot (or cursor) in your website again. This is through retargeting and remarketing. 

Retargeting Defined

Although the words “retargeting” and “remarketing” have been used collectively as if they’re joined at the hip, they are not necessarily synonymous.

Retargeting is a marketing scheme directed to customers who visit their website but did not carry out a particular action.

This kind of customer behavior is highly applicable to ecommerce sites like Since they are selling their products online, they offer virtual shopping carts for the customer’s convenience.

However, not all shoppers proceed to payment; instead, they simply abandon the cart for one reason or another.

With retargeting, you can aggregate and track these customers so that you can get another shot at showing them your ads in an attempt to make them, say make a purchase, when they visit your site again.

How it Works

The truth is, it’s not the actual customers per se—it’s their cookies and Internet browsing behavior.

Retargeting relies on cookies and codes to keep track of your website’s visitors. When retargeting, you can use an inconspicuous code whose job is to attach a browser cookie to every visitor who goes to your site.

The customers who did not buy or do any call-to-action upon visiting shall be marked by this cookie for retargeting.

Also, this cookie will forward this information to the provider of your retargeting services to strategically place your ads where they will find it.

The purpose of retargeting is to establish a reconnection between your brand and customers by posting your ads in places dictated by their browsing behavior. Say, for instance, a customer visits your online store at Smokers Vice but for some reason left your site without doing a specific action.

The cookie designed for retargeting will allow your ads to be displayed on the other websites that they will visit, trusting that the ads will strike inspiration among the customer to go back to your site.


So what is Remarketing Then?

Remarketing comes in when your retargeting efforts are successful. In this phase, you can send systematized emails to customers that are up for retargeting.

This is done to basically invite them back to your website, counting on the possibility that they will carry out a specific action such as hitting the check-out button.

The Good and the Bad

When their forces are joined, retargeting and remarketing can be a potent combination to promote your business.

Here are some benefits to subscribing into these marketing techniques.

Brand awareness

A direct consequence retargeting can cause is exposure for your brand. Since this marketing technique relies on ads, it creates not just brand awareness; it also reengages your target audience to go to your website and pick up where they left off.

The more they see your ads, the more impact it’s supposed to create.

Targeted advertising

Aside from helping you track the customers who you should reengage, retargeting also allows you to use the ads that are specific to this kind of audience.

Let’s take for example ecommerce: while you still need to stay connected with paying customers, you don’t necessarily need to show them ads that speak to first-time shoppers.

With retargeting, you can select the types of ads that your specific audience needs to see.

Saves you on advertising costs

By strategically placing your ads in places where the right share of your target audience can see them, you wouldn’t have to waste your advertising budget by risking your money on every imaginable marketing scheme and expect to see great results from all of them.

And while retargeting and remarketing services are not free, the money you will spend on it can go a long way if the techniques are done right.

On the other hand, retargeting and remarketing has its downsides too.

These include the following :

1. It can come off as creepy.

While there are customers who don’t mind seeing ads wherever in the Internet they go, there are those who are turned off with the sight of the same ads popping all over the place. This is one weakness with retargeting and remarketing—there are some customers who feel that their privacy is being invaded especially when they are aware that some browser cookie is revealing their browsing behavior so that some online store can advertise freely on their monitors.

2. Decline in creativity.

It’s great when a banner ad fulfill its job but when used for too long, it can be a drag for a customer to see it all the time, even when he or she doesn’t mind. If you must carry out retargeting and remarketing to further your online business, make sure that you keep creating catchy and interesting copy and advertisements. Even the biggest brands hire the best copywriters to help them come up with witty ads. There’s no question in why you should stay creative and ingenious.

While retargeting and remarketing is an effective combination, you can always do one without the other. If you have any experiences with these two techniques, whether done together or separately, you can share your tips by filling the comment form below.