What is Remarketing? What is Retargeting?

A lot of people ask the question, what is Remarketing? We do our best to answer that question so you can understand what Retargeting is and how to use it as an advertiser. Ever since the initial release of Remarketing ads, they have grown in use and there are new features added every day.

What is Remarketing?

Remarketing & Retargeting Defined

Remarketing aka Retargeting is an online marketing strategy where advertisers target an audience that has previously interacted with their business. You can create remarketing or retargeting audiences using your website visitors, email list subscribers, app users, or another source of customer data.

Remarketing vs. Retargeting

I know some advertisers will define these terms differently, but the only difference, in my opinion, is that Google AdWords uses the term ‘Remarketing’ while every other online channel uses the term ‘Retargeting.’ Some people will argue that Remarketing refers to marketing to people in their email inbox and Retargeting refers to search, social, and display ads.

Retargeting or remarketing are similar terms used to express the same actions. In this article, we will use the term Remarketing. Remarketing is used to enable business owners to easily connect with their site visitors and “re-target” them using personalized offers/ads.

An Example of Remarketing

To make it easier to understand, just think of one of your prospect’s buying journey. Joe searches online for products you have to offer, finds you and decides to enter your website. He chooses not to place an order, and then gets out of your site and forgets about your products. Once he enters his favorite blogs and news channels, he notices multiple Remarketing ads showing him the exact product he was interested to buy from you. Those ads are part of your campaigns to get Joe’s attention and bring him back to your site. To entice Joe, you offer 10% off his order and he ends up coming back to your website and buying.

How does Remarketing Work?

People can enter your site through any channels, including direct, social, PPC, paid media, content syndication, paid social or organic. Once they land on one of your pages, you can use tracking codes to create specific audiences. Then you can create a unique message for each audience. You would normally use Google Analytics for that, the Facebook pixel, or a variety of other tools.

Retargeting Platforms

Remarketing is not limited to Google’s display network (GDN). You can also create Facebook Ads, Pinterest Ads, YouTube, or Twitter Ads. Most ad channels are offering Remarketing services because of how profitable it can be for business owners.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)


Remarketing lists for search ads allows you to build lists based on website pages that people visit. For example, let’s say Joe searches golf clubs and looks for putters on his favorite golf website but doesn’t convert. He goes back to Google ready to search again and the golf website increases their bid amount automatically because he is on their targeted Remarketing list.

As an advertiser, you can increase a bid for search keywords to people who have already visited your website. You can add a +100% bid adjustment for your $1.00 bid and it becomes $2.00 for anyone on your RLSA list.

The Power of Remarketing

Remarketing is a very powerful branding tool. In addition to helping you drive sales, it helps you to promote your brand online and establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Strategies that use search, display, video and mobile campaigns together with remarketing advertising campaigns have more chances of success. It really works best if you are able to make it laser-targeted and if you offer an incentive to potential customers.

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