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Remarketing Definition: What Is It and How Does It Work?

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What is remarketing?

Remarketing is a powerful online advertising strategy that helps businesses reconnect with potential customers who have previously shown interest in their products or services, by displaying targeted ads across various websites and platforms.

Picture this: Barney is on your clothing company’s website in search of a new suit. He finds one he likes, but holds off on buying it until he’s sure it’s the one he wants. After clicking away from the site, he ends up forgetting all about it. Then, the next day, he comes across an ad on a different site for the exact suit he looked at earlier.

Reminded of his interest in buying it, he ends up going back and completing the purchase.

In the above example, it was a remarketing ad that turned Barney into a customer. Without that ad, he would have been another abandoned cart on your site. That makes it clear just how valuable remarketing is — but what is remarketing? Below, we’ll explain the remarketing definition, as well as how it works.

Read on for our remarketing definition and overview, and then subscribe to Revenue Weekly for more marketing tips from the agency with over 28 years of experience!

Remarketing definition: What is remarketing?

Before we get into the details, what is remarketing? Remarketing — also called retargeting — is a type of marketing aimed specifically at people who have already engaged with your company.  It involves targeting ads toward people who have visited your website. This strategy works by using cookies or pixels to track which users visit certain pages on your website to deliver a remarketed ad or email. In many cases, remarketing ads are meant to encourage users to come back and complete a conversion. 

Why is remarketing useful?

The reason remarketing is such a good advertising strategy is that in any kind of marketing, you want to reach the most relevant possible audience. That’s why, in paid advertising, you use keywords and demographic targeting to direct your ads to a certain group of people. The more interest someone has in your business or your products, the more likely they are to convert.  That’s why remarketing is so valuable — it targets people who have already shown a clear interest in what you offer and nudges them to convert.

For that reason, remarketing often tends to have much higher success rates than other types of online advertising.

5 types of remarketing to boost conversions

Remarketing can take different forms depending on your choice of platform and marketing strategy. While all remarketing functions in the same basic way, the details are different. For the second part of our remarketing overview, here’s a look at five different types of remarketing.

1. Search remarketing

Search remarketing is remarketing that operates primarily through search engines like Google. The most common platform for running search remarketing campaigns is Google Ads, allowing you to display your remarketing ads right at the top of Google search results. In Google Ads, search remarketing is typically done through remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA). When you set up RLSA, you can have Google track traffic to a specific page or pages on your website. When someone visits one of the pages you’re using in your RLSA, Google will target your chosen paid ads to that user in search results. Learn more about Google Ads remarketing with our video!

2. Display remarketing

Another type of remarketing you can use is display remarketing. Display remarketing is a similar strategy to search remarketing — both track users via the same process, and can be launched through Google Ads. The distinction is in where the ads appear. Whereas search remarketing uses paid ads at the top of Google search results, display ads appear in the margins of third-party websites.

BankSITE Services Display Ad

Let’s say a user visits a product page on your website, for instance.

If you’re targeting traffic to that page, that user could see an ad for the product they viewed while they’re on a news site later, reminding them to come back and buy it.

3. Social media remarketing

Social media is a fantastic online marketing strategy in any circumstance, but it also happens to be yet another remarketing-friendly platform. Most social media platforms offer some form of paid advertising, and of those that do, the majority also allow for remarketing ads. Facebook, for example, has a feature called the Facebook Pixel. You can install the Facebook Pixel on certain pages on your site.

When users visit those pages, Facebook will target your ads to them on its platform. Other social media networks offer variations on the same feature, allowing you to reach users right where they already like to spend time.

4. Video remarketing

Remarketing doesn’t have to be limited to text-based ads. On YouTube, you can also harness the power of video remarketing to reach users who’ve previously visited your site. Since Google owns YouTube, you can manage your YouTube remarketing through Google Ads. In addition to targeting people who’ve visited your website, you can direct your video ads to people who’ve interacted with your YouTube channel in the past, if you have one. These ads will typically be pre-roll or mid-roll ads, meaning they’ll play before or during other videos that people choose to watch on YouTube.

5. Email remarketing

While each remarketing strategy so far has focused on paid advertising, the final tactic in our remarketing overview involves working entirely through email. To some extent, you could say that all email marketing is already a form of remarketing. The idea is to get visitors to your site to voluntarily submit their email addresses, allowing you to send them marketing materials down the road. You can send newsletters or special discounts to get people to purchase, but you can also use email marketing to get people to finish their purchases. When people are in the process of buying something on your site, you can require them to submit their email. Then, if they abandon their cart, you can email them reminding them to complete their purchase.

In that way, email can prove a fantastic means of maximizing conversions.

WebFX is a Partner in Driving Results

Hear from HydroWorx, who saw a 131% increase in organic forms by partnering with WebFX

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WebFX can optimize your remarketing strategy

Looking for some help getting your remarketing off the ground? WebFX has you covered! With over 28 years of digital marketing experience, we know remarketing inside and out, and we can’t wait to help you optimize your strategy. With our remarketing services, you can get help optimizing for each of the methods listed above.

You’ll also receive a dedicated account representative who will keep you in the loop about everything we do for your campaigns. To get started with us, just call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!

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