Remarketing vs. Retargeting: Unraveling the Strategies


While often used interchangeably, remarketing and retargeting are two different strategies. The lack of this knowledge is the cause of many misunderstandings and unsuccessful marketing campaigns. Therefore, to avoid such situations, we wish to discuss these two tactics here. Remarketing vs. retargeting – how do they differ? Learn that by reading this article!

Defining remarketing vs. retargeting

We will begin by defining the two terms in discussion – it will give us a broader scope when proceeding with pointing out the differences later.

Remarketing is a broad set of measures undertaken to reengage users who already exist withing an organization’s channels. It can be done through e-mail marketing, social media posts, adverts or any other marketing efforts.

Retargeting is quite similar, since it targets users who have joined one particular channel – your website. However, it is only aimed at people who landed on your webpage by clicking on an advertisement. The target group in this strategy is both users who have already converted and those who haven’t. Unlike remarketing, retargeting is done only through adverts displayed in the open web.

Remarketing vs. Retargeting: So, what’s the difference?

Knowing the definitions, we can finally advance to our remarketing vs. retargeting discussion. At first glance, we can already see some of the differences, but there are also quite a few similarities that both of these strategies share. So, let’s begin comparing them.

The channels

The first clear difference between remarketing and retargeting are the channels exercised to reach out to the users. The former uses a wide variety of them, from e-mails, through social media posts, while the latter only uses advertisements in the open web. Thus, the users exposed to remarketing may understand why they are approached – they consciously input their information or joined the social network. Retargeting is done less obviously – the adverts appear like any other.


When discussing remarketing vs. retargeting, we mustn’t forget about their similarities, the main one being personalization. Both strategies are aimed at approaching a particular user’s pain points and interested, presenting the marketed product as the solution to their problems or as something they need.


Both strategies are based on data, yet the information that is used in them is completely different. Remarketing is based on data that is clear, and was gathered through marketing efforts or provided by the users themselves. Retargeting, on the other hand, uses data stored in cookies – both first-party and third-party. The sources it exercises are anonymized and used to group the users up.


Remarketing vs. retargeting also differ in goals. The first of the two aims just at reengaging the users, while the second one is fully-focused on conversions. Remarketing may remind a user about the brand or an unfinished transaction, but retargeting has just one purpose in mind: sell.

The takeaway

Let’s sum up our remarketing vs. retargeting discussion. The former is a strategy using explicit data and approaching users through various channels, aiming at reengaging them and reminding them about the brand. The latter is focused on increasing conversion rates among those, who have already clicked the adverts once, yet abandoned the website before making a purchase.