Remarketing and retargeting are similar marketing concepts. Let’s establish the difference between them. Adroll describes it this way:

“Display retargeting is one form of remarketing, and we think the term retargeting should only refer to display advertising. Remarketing is a more general term and exists in many forms.”

While retargeting is used across many channels, it’s specific to digital display ads. Thus it can be done through email, direct mail or an onsite suggestion to the shopper. Retargeting offers users an ad for a product that they may have browsed earlier. Its goal is to remind them of that and to produce a sale. If you’ve seen an ad for something on Facebook that you were just viewing on Amazon, that’s retargeting.

These two disciplines have proven very effective and have matured into very complex systems and very lucrative revenue streams for brands. Consider these statistics driving the remarketing/retargeting revolution in 2017:


Let’s look at trends that marketers should be aware of when working with both of these.


Cross Channel

Brands have deep knowledge of their products and customers. It’s said that in the future, all companies will be big data companies. This means that they collect and store data about you at every touch point.

If you buy shampoo at Wal-Mart, it knows that the average bottle will last a certain number of weeks. So it times an email and sends it to you, nudging you to visit and buy more. Perhaps a discount code is included because it can link your in-store purchase with an email address you’ve given them in the past.

Since you began buying at the store and now are buying online, that’s cross channel marketing. Here’s a great video that describes remarketing and some of its details:

Search Ads

Anytime you’re on a website, a cookie is logged on your hard drive, and ad networks can tap into it to serve you the correct ad. That happens even on a website like Google when you’re doing a search. ThatCompany Blog gives a great example of how this works:

“Linda visits a page on an auto dealer’s site that displays Chevrolet Impalas. Within the next couple of days, Linda does a search for new cars for sale in her area. At this point, we show Linda an ad for a Chevy Impala, since she already expressed an interest in this vehicle.”

These ads can be highly customized depending on what actions viewers took while on your website or even depending on search terms they used on Google. Such ads have proven highly effective for converting new customers.


This short video describes a scenario in which retargeting could work:

Retargeting budgets are increasing dramatically year over year because retargeting proves effective in one of the most powerful ways possible. It brings back to your site customers who have already expressed interest in a product, and it forces them through a purchase funnel at high rates.

This infographic offers plenty of statistics on the current state of retargeting:


Infographic by- Invesp

This is obviously a very powerful tool for marketers and part of the reason why budgets are rising annually. Even merely navigating to this site makes it most likely that you’ve been served a retargeted ad by another company.

Remarketing and retargeting are used to boost revenue streams online for brands. The more companies spend, the greater the return. Kissmetrics estimates that for every dollar spent on retargeting ads, a brand can expect to see $10 in return. That’s one of the most effective ways to spend a marketing budget on any channel.