Digital Marketing Blog

Retargeting vs. Remarketing: How to Use Both for Business Growth

Ad spending in Canada is expected to reach $13.11 billion dollars. But marketing isn’t just about putting out new ads.

Sometimes, retargeting and remarketing is a smarter use of your marketing dollars. But what is retargeting vs remarketing?

And how can you use both of them to help your business grow? We want to help your business succeed even further in 2020 and beyond.

Keep reading to learn the difference between remarketing and retargeting, their benefits, and how to use them both to control your business narrative on the web.

Why Retargeting and Remarketing are Vital for Your Online Business

Worldwide, the value of abandoned shopping carts is $4 trillion. Only 6.5% or $260 billion are recoverable.

In 2018, the cart abandonment rate was 1.4% lower than in 2017.

Abandonment rates vary by industry. Some industries like travel have a high abandonment rate at 81.1% while the gaming industry has a lower rate at 64.2%.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

Abandonment rates can also vary by the following:

  • Generation
  • Time of day
  • Device used

Sometimes carts are abandoned online for other reasons such as:

  • Unsecured shopping sites
  • Slow site loading times
  • Fake or bad reviews

Sometimes added costs or poor return policy can prompt a shopper to leave the cart. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get them back.

Retargeting Vs Remarketing

Retargeting and remarketing share common goals. They both were developed to help businesses prompt their shoppers to return to their site.


There are several approaches to retargeting customers. All approaches use advertising online.

Retargeting focuses on those users who have already interacted with your site in any way. The goal is to get them to return to your site.

When a customer visits your site and takes any sort of action such as clicking on a product, visiting a certain page or adding an item to their wish list or shopping cart cookies appear in their browser.

The retailer can then use those cookies to retarget the user with additional ads placed on other websites the user visits to encourage the customer to return to the site to finalize their purchases.


While the goal for remarketing vs retargeting is the same, two different approaches are taken to reach that goal. Remarketing uses email marketing to re-engage with customers.

The actions a customer took on a business’s website is then used in an email form to prompt a customer to take action.

For example, if a customer visits your site and adds an item to a shopping cart or a wish list but doesn’t make a purchase, an e-mail would be sent using text such as: “That item you wanted to get is in stock. Buy now and enjoy 10% off your next purchase!”

The Benefits of Retargeting and Remarketing

Retargeting and remarketing allows businesses to attract customers who have already shown an interest in their products and/or services. Also, the more often a customer sees the same content, slogan or logo, it increases your brand awareness.

That creates visibility and helps build trust. Using the right targeting methods along with a sensible budget, a business can expect good results.

Control Your Budget

Remarketing also gives you the control to manage how much you spend and you can adjust your bids according to your list or campaign. Remarketing uses the following pricing models:

  • Cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Cost-per-impression (CPM)
  • Cost-per-acquisition (CPA)

It’s important to note that first-time visitors rarely make a purchase.

Convert Browsers into Paying Customers

Your business may see a high volume of traffic but very little sales.

Retargeting and remarketing can help you achieve the following goals:

  • Target those who have already shown an interest in your product/services
  • Capitalize on previously lost website traffic
  • Target consumers most likely to make a purchase

Retargeting and remarketing are also affordable tactics that are available on a wide range of channels and platforms. These methods also work for every type of industry.

How Remarketing and Retargeting Work

Avoid overkill when you’re remarketing and retargeting customers. There’s a fine line between gently reminding customers about your business and annoying them into avoiding your site forever.

Thankfully, you can put a cap on how many ads can be seen by each user. Aim to show each user no more than two or three reminders a day.

Setting Up Retargeting Campaigns

Creating a retargeting campaign is pretty easy. You just need to create a campaign with an ad network.

That network then provides you with a bit of code known as a pixel tag that you can add to your website. Once you’ve added that code, every time a new user visits your site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie.

That cookie automatically adds the user to your retargeting list. If that user visits another site that displays ads from your ad network provider, the user sees your ad on that site.

Places You Can Retarget Customers

You have choices when it comes to where you can retarget your customers. Here are a few to consider:

  • Simple display marketing happens when you can display an ad to customers on other sites after they’ve visited yours
  • Social media remarketing places targeted ads on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Native remarketing is where you can re-engage with visitors across premium publishers with native ad placements

Search remarketing lets you customize your search ads campaign for those users who’ve already visited your site at least once.

Creating a Remarketing List

It’s also not too difficult to create a remarketing list. This is a list of website visitors who have taken specific actions on your site.

You can create a remarketing list named “About Us” which has all the visitors to your about us page over a specified period. Every time a new visitor lands on your About Us page, their cookie gets added to your remarketing list.

You can create all types of remarketing lists and tailor each ad message.

Work With Us

While there is a difference between retargeting vs remarketing, both are important elements to add to your marketing campaign. They’re both an easy and cost-effective way to stay in touch with customers.

We can help you create a winning strategy. Click here to contact us to get started.