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Remarketing and retargeting: same thing?

By Sandrine Tessier,
Content Strategist
April 28th 2017

So, you’ve heard your share about retargeting and how effective it is. But then you’ve also heard about remarketing and you tried to understand what was different about it, but everyone seemed to say the two are the same. Even large companies often use the two terms interchangeably, thus fuelling this confusion. However, there actually is a difference, and it’s kind of important to know it as both can be useful at different stages of your customer’s buying process. Let’s start by doing an over view of both concepts before we can see how they can work together.

When should you use retargeting?

A retargeting campaign’s main goal will be to re-engage your potential customers. The great thing about it is that those customers have already expressed some form of interest in your brand, so they are already in the buying-process cycle. However, they might not be ready to buy, so retargeting is the perfect tool to use during the research phase of your customers buying process: it’s a way to stay top-of-mind while regularly sparking the customer’s interest and eventually generate higher engagement.

So what about remarketing then?

Remarketing aims at the same thing as retargeting: re-engage customers who have already shown interest for your products. However, the channel used is different, as remarketing works primarily through emails. Usually, this method is used for customers who are near the end of the buying cycle. In fact, many companies like Amazon along with 250 top selling companies use remarketing to send emails to their customers who abandoned shopping carts. So you know your customer already has a high level of interest for your products and only needs that last push to commit to the purchase.

Now, how do they work together?

The major difference between remarketing and retargeting lies, first, in the strategy used to reach the targeted customer, and second, the stage at which the customer is in the buying cycle. As you might have already figured out, retargeting is used more effectively at the top of the buying process, when customers have expressed an interest for your brand but are not quite ready to make a purchase. As for remarketing, due to its more direct nature (email), the process helps your customers to make that final step which is make the purchase.

Both processes, combined with display advertisement reach the potential of having a successful campaign on all levels. Display ads are a great way to create brand awareness and generate leads towards your website. Those leads can then be re-engaged through a retargeting campaign, bringing them down the buying funnel. Finally, when you have secured a solid interest for your brand from your potential customers, you can bring them to the next step and encourage them towards purchasing with your remarketing campaign. Bam. You have a happy customer.

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