Remarketing v Retargeting: Which is better?

With so many new technologies available for advertising on the web these days you can be forgiven for getting confused. I hope to point out the differences in this article to clear up any confusion that you may have, and help ascertain which form of advertising might be most appropriate for your business.

Remarketing vs. Retargeting

Retargeting refers to online placement ads and display ads generated through tracking site visitors’ cookies.

Remarketing on the other hand generally refers to email campaigns e.g. sending a personalised message to a prospective target via email after they abandoned an online shopping cart or neglected to complete a registration form fully.

It also can refer to remarketing to a customer who has already purchased from you (case in point: Amazon emails which feature personalised recommendations of other books and products you might enjoy similar to those you have already purchased).

What makes it confusing for people though is “Google Remarketing” is in essence actually a retargeting campaign based on the definitions above.

Google Remarketing

Google Remarketing is a simple tool for users who are still gaining confidence with remarketing/retargeting.

The service can be set up from inside your existing Google AdWords account and involves three steps:

  • Add remarketing tags to each page of your website
  • Create remarketing lists and build ads specific to each list
  • Set up your campaign

It really is as simple as that. On the downside because Google Remarketing takes place through the Google Display Network you are restricted to being able to reach only 10 per cent of the internet through their platform.

However, fear not, as 10 per cent equates to around 2 million websites.

Google Remarketing has recently introduced another feature which is remarketing lists for search ads which allows advertisers to put together campaigns for people who have searched for a particular keyword on Google, irrespective of whether they have visited your site or not.

AdRoll Retargeting

AdRoll is a provider of a host of online advertising tools and services, but they are most well-known for their retargeting options, and with good reason. A number of high profile companies use their services including Levi’s.

The major advantage of using AdRoll is that because they partner with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, they have an enormous reach: up to 98 per cent of the web in fact.

Perhaps this is why AdRoll claim on their website that their retargeting customers earn back $10 for every $1 spent on campaigns on average.

Adroll allows you to create Facebook newsfeed ads to recapture these valuable prospective customers. You can set up a newsfeed campaign quite simply; all you need to do is choose a schedule, targeted locations and a weekly budget.

The ads will then be displayed to anyone who has previously visited your site, even if they are not a current Facebook fan of yours.

What’s the verdict? Google or AdRoll?

Which service to use definitely depends on your needs.

If you are a small business with a limited budget and not too many specific needs, then Google should work nicely for what you have in mind with limited financial outlay.

However if you need advanced features, or want to market on Facebook you will want to work with AdRoll.

Bear in mind that while AdRoll is the clear frontrunner in the retargeting market, their service is quite pricey. However they are renowned for having excellent service and great easy-to-read analytics so you can track what is going on.


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