Remarketing vs Retargeting: Explained for Everybody to Understand


Remarketing and Retargeting are two words that you must be familiar with if you are trying to get your website to rank or your business to get popular on a national, local, or global level. If you start having a discussion about remarketing vs retargeting you will hear all kinds of contradicting opinions because the average business owner is not aware of the difference between the two processes.

remarketing vs retargeting

Many people do not have any idea of what these terminologies are. Many who have heard the words use them synonymously. Many think that these words are important but do not know what exactly they mean. So, let’ start learning about both the concepts.


The process of retargeting works on the window shoppers, on the confused people who are interested in your products, but not enough. Retargeting attempts to make this already chosen audience be more proactive about their purchasing decisions. Retargeting uses browser cookies to follow the target visitor everywhere they go and is done with the sole purpose to figure out what the visitor is looking for, which pages the person is visiting so that the embedded cookie can show you what the person is really looking for.


With the information you have gathered from the cookie, you will be able to build a new retargeting strategy. This cookie almost never fails because it uses the required information in a very specific way.

Do not confuse retargeting with general popup marketing. It is not trying to get random people to look into or buy stuff without even knowing whether they are interested or not. It is called ‘RE’targeting because it is targeting people who are already here, who have been here but did not convert into real sales.

Retargeting is basically redirecting the traffic individually towards their interest on your website, via a compelling ad that was strategically placed for them on a third party site.

Understanding Off-site and On-site Retargeting

Before we try to understand remarketing vs retargeting, let us understand off-site retargeting vs on-site retargeting.

  1. Off-Site Retargeting:

    The process where you look into the interests of your target and analyse where they go and what they look for. The keyword oriented analytics notify you of the people who look for similar things that you sell too.

off site retargeting

Often the cookies find these new people before they find your website, by comparing people similar to them, or somehow related to them, have been looking for products on your website. The Google Display Networks serves as a rich source for retargeting ads.

Hence, off-site retargeting helps you gain access to new leads and widen your target base in a calculated way.

  1. On-Site Retargeting:

    The process to bring back people who are already interested in your website and have clicked on some call to action button that triggered the cookies to follow them. Off-site retargeting also involves fetching fresh leads into your website thus can be considered as one of the lead generation ideas, when the cookies find people looking for things that are relevant to your site.

on-site targeting

Retargeting has the highest ROI in marketing because it always invests in people who are already curious.


Remarketing is retargeting interested people via email instead of ads via cookies. Why is this new fancy word with only a slight difference from ‘retargeting’ relevant at all? It is important because email is an important route to catch people.


There are thousands of people on the internet who make purchases online but have no social media or do not like the intrusive nature of Google AdWords. These people, however, have an active email ID and prefer the old school method of online communication. Over 90% of people are reached personally via email and more than 50% of these people come back to the website to buy what they had left in the cart, or to buy what they had asked the website to notify them of when it was available again.

So, we now know that remarketing vs retargeting is basically nothing but a difference in the mode of communication you use when you are trying to get a potential customer converted.

The Common Purpose

Both remarketing and retargeting are two processes, or two parts of a process (however you are comfortable seeing it), of the same goal. The goal is Conversion. With good search engine optimisation and social media marketing, you can ensure that people know about your website. You have a lot of visitors. But on an average, less than 4% of this traffic results in an effective conversion.

Avoid Getting Misguided

Why do people not know what these concepts are about? Is it too difficult to grasp? Do you need immense technical knowledge in order to understand the terms? Don’t worry, it is nothing like that. What you need is to gather your knowledge from the correct source. People are confused about the concept because they get the wrong information, the wrong idea about the concept.

How Effective is Remarketing or Retargeting?

Both remarketing and retargeting result in a high ROI because you have gathered information based on their interest before trying to convince them to buy it. This obviously works way better than trying to coax a person to buy something that you aren’t even sure they want.


Your target has left something in the cart, or added something to the wish list, or has been browsing your rival sites to compare the price. Or maybe they did not even click any of the Call to Action buttons but visited your website multiple times and clicked on one or more particular products. These are what indicate a clear interest. This is what triggers the cookies or the email to go check on the target individually and bring them back to complete their purchase.

So, the next time you find yourself in the middle of the remarketing vs retargeting debate, you have your facts. Calm the group down by reminding them, that they both are valiant warriors fighting on the same side, against the conversion blocking monster.

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