There are a lot of options available to businesses when it comes to reaching out to customers who are interested in their product. Remarketing and retargeting especially present some very potent tools for capitalising on such intent and improving customer engagement. As approaches to advertising they have a lot to offer but can also present challenges in implementation. That’s why we’re here to tell you what they are and how best to use them.

Differentiating Remarketing & Retargeting

Aside from sounding similar, remarketing and retargeting are often used interchangeably. However, there are certain distinctions between these two terms. On a basic level, they use very different tools but are both about executing campaigns that draw in consumers with some level of interest or purchase intent.

Remarketing and Retargeting

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Retargeting commonly refers to the use of online ad placements and display ads, that appear as a result of a user’s activity. A potential customer may come to your site which gives him cookies, allowing you to target ads to them on other sites they visit. Retargeting is particularly useful because it operates through third party networks like AdBrite and the Google display network, giving marketers the opportunity to reach users anywhere among millions of sites.

The 2 broad forms of retargeting are based on on-site events and off-site events, though are even more sub-categories under these. The former refers to any retargeting activities that draws data from user engagement with your site whereas the latter refers to data from users engaging with other sites. In both instances, retargeting uses the online behaviour of customers, such as which web pages they visited, whether they engage with your email promotions, how long they spent on each page, and which links they clicked on.

Remarketing Retargeting

Remarketing, on the other hand, re-engages with customers by sending them emails based off of their browsing history. This can be in the form of upsell/cross sell emails referring similar or complementary products to the ones the user previously bought, shopping cart abandonment emails, or lifecycle marketing emails. These can be effective in following up on consumers and helping them along the purchase funnel.

Marketing Benefits

Both remarketing and retargeting have their advantages. They both remind the customer of what your site has to offer and can be a great way of informing customers with known intent about sales, events or special offers. Among U.S. shoppers, the most popular personalization tactic was an alert email for when appealing products were on sale, according to 58% of respondents.

This can be a potentially powerful tool for re-engaging with previous buyers as well. Remarketing can also provide a decent avenue for capitalising on consumer demand for complementary goods. For example, if someone is shopping for a camera, they may also want to buy lenses or lighting, so a reminder email can do wonders.

Actions like shopping cart abandonment emails can remind consumers to complete a transaction. Cart abandonment reminders fairly popular with those aged 25-34, with 41% saying they appreciated the follow-up, according to a study from AgilOne. Similarly, the second most appreciated type of remarketing outreach was that of VIP customer appreciation emails with 51 percent of those surveyed saying they appreciated the outreach.

Tips on Applying Remarketing & Retargeting Campaigns

Remarketing and Retargeting

Even though companies should strive to engage with customers using both remarketing and retargeting, they need to understand what each does best. Remarketing is generally for people further down the purchase funnel, who most likely have high intent. Conversely. retargeting focuses more on keeping the product, and particularly your brand, in people’s minds when and if they decide to purchase. Thus, remarketing is far more direct (going to people’s emails) and retargeting is more general, relying on banner ads and PPCs.

Timing can also be crucial for remarketing campaigns. An MIT study showed lower engagement rates for outreach that occurs over an hour after a visitor has left the site. The drop-off in engagement can be as much as 10x if sites follow up more than an hour after the first interaction with a potential customer. So following through with customers, particularly when it comes to impulse purchases, can be crucial.

In general, remarketing is a more reliable way to get a sale but it has its own drawbacks. Keep in mind that some consumers may think of remarketing as too intrusive, i.e. cluttering their inbox. In these cases, retargeting can be a bit more useful at bringing customers in.

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