One of the major challenges of marketers is creating engaging advertisements that turn prospects into customers, entices reluctant consumers to take a second look at their product and convinces past buyers to become repeat customers.

When it comes to marketing on the internet, where consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisements, images and content, it can be difficult to keep a customer’s attention for long. This can be even more frustrating when a customer looks at your products, or even puts a product in their shopping cart, but ultimately decides not to purchase.

Many studies have shown that customers will not confidently purchase something online unless they are exposed to it several times. This is where remarketing comes in. Google defines remarketing as the ability “to show ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the web.” Remarketing can be a powerful tool for small companies looking to stay connected with leads and engage past customers.

Marketing vs. Remarketing: What’s the Difference?

Both marketing and remarketing have the same goal: to educate, inform and sell to individuals. However, marketing entails any and all activities used to grab the attention of your brand’s target audience, such as Google Ads, television or magazine ads, social media, email marketing, sales presentations, online contests or in-store promotions. You can implement marketing strategies to attract prospects who haven’t yet encountered your brand or to continue supporting existing customers.

Remarketing, on the other hand, focuses specifically on web users who’ve, in some way or another, expressed interest in your product or service. For example, some visitors may have looked at merchandise sold on your e-commerce site, but abandoned their shopping carts before purchasing the items. These “abandons” are a specific type of lead, and they are prime candidates for remarketing.

Examples of Remarketing

Remarketing relies on re-marketing to customers by re-showing them an online ad based on their past purchases or browsing history on your website. Technologies like Google AdWords allow you to tag information on your site using various keywords.

A tag is essentially code that acts as a marker whenever shoppers or interested prospects visit your site. By utilizing cookies or a pixel to collect and remember visitor information, Google’s Display Network filters this information into “remarketing lists” to display targeted ads and essentially “follow” users as they browse the web.

It’s here where remarketing becomes murky. An important distinction should be made between the terms “remarketing” and “retargeting.” Oftentimes, the two terms are used interchangeably since they essentially strive for the same goal. To understand the difference between remarketing, retargeting, remessaging and more, see this helpful explanation of each.

Remarketing targets web visitors who’ve previously interacted with your brand either online, via email or in the store. Whether opting into your newsletter, registering an account on your website or simply viewing a product on your website, these users interacted with your brand directly. By re-engaging them with advertisements and content that reflects their previous interests, you are much more likely to secure the sale. If your remarketing efforts are successful, you can also create remarketing lists, so that you can advertise the same display ads to consumers with similar profiles to one another.

To read a real case study of remarketing success, check out the Loews Hotels story on Google.

Benefits of Remarketing

One of the biggest benefits of remarketing is that it can drive return on investment (ROI) for your marketing and advertising efforts. By incorporating remarketing into your online advertising strategy, you can:

  • Encourage upsells (e.g. add-on features, luxury items, accessories, etc.) among repeat customers
  • Increase brand awareness by promoting tailored and dynamic ads on major search engines and websites
  • Create remarketing lists using services like Google AdWords to highlight featured products, services and promotions to segmented customer groups
  • Reach numerous web visitors simultaneously based on web traffic to your site
  • Remarket your ads to individuals who’ve viewed specific sections of your site by showing them relevant online ads based on their browsing and purchase history

When to Remarket Your Product or Service

You may wonder whether remarketing is worth the money, time and effort. If you sell high-cost items, premium services or some other expensive product, remarketing can be a worthwhile strategy since the potential upside of securing an abandoned sale is very high. Nonetheless, bidding on keywords with services like Google AdWords can get expensive, so make sure that the ROI is worth the initial advertising investment.

Finally, remarketing inherently works in cases where there are long sales cycles. Automobiles, wedding services and furniture are all prime examples of buying situations that would benefit from repeat advertising to guide customers through their decision process. Consider whether your product is something customers will recognize that they need immediately versus something that they may need to ruminate over for a few days before purchasing.