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Remarketing and Retargeting have similar goals. But there are also significant differences that you need to understand. Remarketing and Retargeting differ in strategy and who you can reach now. Let's discuss the role of remarketing and retargeting.

Remarketing & Retargeting: Similar, But Different

Advertising managers spend a lot of time testing audiences, being creative, and obsessed with numbers. It can be a lengthy process with only a tiny percentage of ad clickers converting. While you may get a lot of new web traffic coming in, you may not see that number translate into sales quickly. Few make sales the first time they land on your web page, so this is where Remarketing and Retargeting can come into play. In the era of "4.0", attention can be easily distracted. It's easy to forget the proper role of marketing:

To win people's hearts long before the audience decides to choose your product or company over others. Retargeting and Remarketing both provide opportunities to reach these customers. And it is the audience who are more likely to buy than first-time visitors. And this can be a critical strategy in your marketing efforts. Now, let's explore Remarketing and Retargeting one by one so that the difference becomes clear to you.

What is Retargeting?

It most often refers to the placement of online ads or display ads that target users who have interacted with your site in some way without buying. A cookie is set in the audience's browser after a visitor enters your website, clicks on a product, or performs a specific action that you want the audience to take. You can then use this information to "retarget" your audience with ads based on audience interaction after the audience leaves your site.

These ads are placed by third parties, such as the Google Display Network or Facebook. From that list allows your ad to be triggered on other sites your visitor's visit. Ultimately, Retargeting can be categorized into 2: "on-site" and "off-site" events. Each has a different strategy that you can take depending on the type of interaction you want to target.

Targeting 'On Site' Interactions

'On Site' Interaction is a category often associated with Retargeting. 'On Site' interactions involve targeting individuals who have visited your site. Audiences have interacted with your products and services before. Or the audience has taken other actions but may not have completed the sale. Retargeting to audiences who have interacted on your site can increase conversions. Audiences can also help retain an audience that has already shown an interest in your brand. There are many ways to retarget.


Here are some ways you can target individuals who've interacted on your site:

  1. Targeting based on the products the audience interacts with but doesn't buy from.
  2. Target based on how your audience found your site (social media, search, or other sign-in events). Audiences on your email list have expressed an interest in your brand but haven't yet turned to sales.

Targeting 'Off-Site' Interactions

Retargeting used to be very limited to behavior on websites. Now that's changing, as more users spend time on social media. Delivery of product and brand information is no longer in one place. Instead, it began to spread throughout other regions. This means that audience interactions are now in areas that the brand no longer has. Social media giants like Facebook realized this and started making engagement targeting possible. In other words, brands can perform Retargeting pushes based on what users do on the platform related to Pages, Events, and other Facebook-controlled items in which the brand participates.

Retargeting can now include "users who interacted with your Page" and other similar options. In practice, targeting these users is still retargeting. It's a brave new world of "off-site" interaction targeting. Remarketing vs. Retargeting: Are Both The Same?

What is Remarketing?

It gets a little confusing, and there is some overlap in the industry. Sometimes Retargeting is referred to as "Remarketing" (even though it is Remarketing). An example is Google's, Remarketing Tool. All are Retargeting tools in the classic sense. While it may be confusing, remember that Remarketing and Retargeting serve the same purpose, and the terminology is not as crucial as the related strategy. Because of this, Remarketing is more often about re-engaging customers via email. The meaning of retargeting is about moving customers who have not entered the buying path.

Things like emailing customers to update service or sell more accessories are classic examples of remarketing. It can also be a brand that "reminds" the user to take action, using information about the audience's purchase history. It frequently happens in email marketing, but also the form of paid advertising targeted to the current customer basket.

The taboo between Remarketing & Retargeting

These two tactics existed in one realm: email was an island unto itself, and paid media was limited to funnel targeting and Remarketing based on website actions. However, the two have become somewhat interchangeable in recent years.

Why? Well, platforms like Google Ads, Facebook added the ability to target across platforms using email subscriber lists years ago. Email no longer exists as a separate information silo from the paid media section of the world. When an email list is uploaded, the platform will match that email address with the user's login. The matched list is used to show the ad (assuming it meets the minimum audience size threshold, which varies by platform).

So now you have a blurry line to target your email users, perhaps with the same message you sent in the email, but doing so with paid advertising

When comparing Retargeting and Remarketing, overlaps and differences have become less clear over the years. But that also applies to digital marketing in general. However, the common goal of audiences is to increase conversions for the audience who are most likely to buy from your brand, and the difference is a related strategy. Retargeting is focused on paid advertising (and can take many forms and target various individuals).

Remarketing is focused on email campaigns and reaching the audience they have interacted with, enabling increased sales and delivery of more specific messages. This mix of Retargeting and Remarketing shows what we see in digital marketing as a whole:

Attribution is not a clearly defined thing. The platform does not integrate all the elements that are accessible to marketers. As these platforms continue to cross-reference, the question becomes less about what defines tactics and more about which mix produces the best results. It all depends on each brand's marketing strategy, but if both things go well, it might bring in more audiences.

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