Any answer about remarketing vs retargeting starts with a question. How exactly do you define each of these? Half of the time people call it retargeting and half of the time people call it remarketing. Whichever term you decide to use, you know that this concept is incredibly useful. Remarketing allows us to target users who have previously visited the site, meaning you spend on dollars on people who show interest in your business instead of targeting everyone.


Retargeting is most often used to describe display ads as well as online ad placements, served based on a user’s activity on your website. A user comes to your site, a cookie’s set and you can now target those ads to them when they visit other website, hence the term retargeting. What makes retargeting so appealing is that it is done through third party networks like Google display network, giving you the opportunity to reach users wherever they are, on millions of sites.

Retargeting works by adding a pixel to a brand’s website. The pixel captures data about the people who visit the website and what they do on the site. The data is used to create audiences based on those interactions, and the audiences are then targeted through Google display or social media ads.


Remarketing refers to the process of reaching out to current or past customers and reengaging them based on their previous purchases or actions. Remarketing typically uses email to reconnect with audiences. Having a customer list is required for remarketing, whereas it is needed for retargeting.

Remarketing includes mails that:

  • Highlights sales or deals on products related to customer’s past purchases.
  • Promote products which are complementary to the customer’s past purchases.
  • Introducing new offers related to past purchases.
  • Reminding customers that they have left something in their cart.
  • Include a coupon when a customer has not made any purchases in a few weeks or months.

Remarketing vs retargeting

Coming back to the main topic, which term is correct? Well, Google coined the term remarketing. Remarketing is specific to Google and retargeting is the general word for the approach. So, should we continue to be confused on which term to use? Well, one way to look at this is that Google is dominating the world and the Internet, so maybe we should use work remarketing. Moreover, this term sounds nice, personal, and less friendly like we are out to kill our customers with advertisement.

When you look at Adwords traffic for remarketing vs retargeting, we see an overwhelmed search preference is for the term remarketing.

As we all know, it is our customers who keep us in business so we should please our current and potential customers. Retargeting is much like sending subliminal messages to your customers. Most of the companies are sending these kinds of messages to their consumers in hope that one day they will respond one day on the advertisement.

For a safe standing and goodwill, it is better to use term remarketing. It tells our customers that we are marketing our products for customer benefit not for targeting people to buy products.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing: What is Better?

When comparing retargeting vs. remarketing, remember that both have the same goal; reengage and nurture audiences who have already shown interest in your brand. The difference is in the marketing strategies they use to re-engage the audiences. Retargeting uses ads to reach people who visit your website or social profiles and take a certain action. Remarketing uses email to reach current or past customers.

Which one you should choose?

It depends on the types of marketing segmentation you are using and the goals you have:

Try retargeting if:
  • You want to focus on attracting new customers
  • You’re driving a lot of site traffic but not triggering conversions
  • You don’t have an email list of interested prospects

Try remarketing if:

  • You want to focus on re-engaging current or past customers
  • You don’t have a budget for ads
  • You already have an engaged mail list

At the end of the day, when it comes to retargeting vs. remarketing you do not have to choose. You can use both strategies at the same time to maximize your results and drive even more interest prospects into sales funnel.

Also, Read: About Google’s December Core Update

Dev Bhushan

Dev Bhushan

Digital Marketing Specialist at SEMReseller

  • SEO
21 Jan 2021


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