What is Remarketing and how does it work? Let’s find out!

Updated on: May 9, 2023

We all know about marketing but have you ever thought about what is remarketing? Well, think no more because this blog is your one stop for everything you need to know about remarketing.

Remarketing is a part of digital marketing. I suggest that you watch this FREE masterclass to get introduced to digital marketing basics in just 45 minutes before you read any further.

Get Assured Placements - PG in Digital Marketing

We all know about marketing but have you ever thought about what is remarketing? Well, think no more because this blog is your one stop for everything you need to know about remarketing. 

Remarketing is a part of digital marketing. I suggest that you watch this FREE masterclass to get introduced to digital marketing basics in just 45 minutes before you read any further.

What is Remarketing?

Have you ever viewed a product or brand on Google and seen an advertisement for the same on Instagram almost immediately? 

Well, that is an example of pure remarketing. 

Remarketing, as the word suggests, is digital marketing to that audience that has already seen/viewed your product once. 

The goal of remarketing is to nurture the audience who already knows about your product instead of advertising to a new audience altogether. 

P.S. If you have watched the Netflix documentary “The Social Network”, you will definitely know what I am talking about. 

Yes, the documentary posed remarketing and same ads following you through different platforms to be unsafe and remarketing has always been subject to controversy. 

Nonetheless, it is a strategy heavily used by most brands across various digital marketing platforms such as Google, Instagram, Facebook, etc. 

For consumers, to feel safe while being on the internet, always read the privacy policy before giving your name, number, email, and phone number to any website. 

And for marketers, I know what your next question is going to be – what is the difference between remarketing and retargeting? I have answered that in the simplest terms in the next section. 

Remarketing vs Retargeting- Are they the same?

There has been an ever-lasting debate on what is the difference between remarketing and retargeting. And with all the information that’s been going around on the Internet, we realized how much confusion has been created. 

Less than 4% of digital marketers truly know what they both stand for. So we’ve decided to put a rest to this debate once and for all. Believe us, this is the last time you will be reading the difference between the two and walking with utmost clarity. 

Remarketing and Retargeting have been used interchangeably for quite some time now, but here’s the real difference. 

Remarketing was a term coined years back when the “Cookie policy” did not exist. This means, there was no way to find out who came to your website and what their activity was. Hence, the only way to reach the audience was to use the existing email IDs and phone numbers of customers and remarket to them. 

This makes remarketing an older and the foundation concept. 

Fast-forward to a few years later, the “Cookie policy” was introduced. Now that companies had data about who visited their websites and social media handles and what their activity was, businesses could remarket to them now, using Google, Facebook, etc. This came to be known as retargeting. 

This makes retargeting a newer concept with additional facilities. But the core of each remains the same. Thus, to conclude, retargeting falls under the wide umbrella of remarketing.

So whichever term you decide to use, holds little or no importance. What’s important is to decide who you want to remarket to and which channel you want to use. 

Phew! Now that we know what the two mean, let’s now see how remarketing works, its benefits, and the tools to use. 

How Does Remarketing Work?


what-is-remarketing process

(Source: BlueCorona)

Remarketing works by placing cookies on the devices of visitors to your website who meet your criteria (s). Their cookie ID is added to your retargeting audience list.

Once the cookies are placed on a visitor’s website, you can track his/her activities and navigation on your website. This helps you understand the time they spent on certain pages which allows you to analyze what the user is interested in. 

Now that you know what your user was interested in, you can show him some adverts around it and offer some special incentives to get him to make a purchase. 

Similarly, you can remarket to your existing customers and announce upcoming sales/discounts and push them by giving them a members-only sale. Here, you will be using your existing customer database and segregating them depending on the campaign objective. 

Remarketing can be done using tools/services like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Pixel, MailChimp, etc which will be covered in the sections below, so make sure to stick to the end. 

Lastly, to ensure complete understanding, let’s take a look at an example. 

Imagine you run an e-commerce store that sells clothing. One of your hottest selling products is your “wide-legged jeans”. Now, with remarketing you may develop a “Wide-Legged Jeans” audience based on visitors and their behavior on this product page.

You’ll be able to show these visitors highly targeted display ads that promote your wide-legged jeans. You already know what they’re looking for, so you use a unique offer like free shipping, a 10% discount, or buy one get one free to entice them to make a purchase. 

And bravo. This is exactly how a remarketing campaign works. 

Given below are just a few of the benefits of remarketing which have motivated multiple businesses to use it.

Top 5 Benefits of Remarketing That Make It Supreme

What can your business gain from remarketing? Let’s look at the benefits.

1. Enables Brand Recall

Consumers browse your website for a number of reasons but do not take any action (purchase of a good or service). Perhaps they found a better deal, forgot about your website, were casually browsing your options, or simply wanted to take their time before making a decision.

Whatever the reason, it’s critical that your customers remember you and the final goal is to always promote call-to-action(CTA). 

With the power of remarketing, you can use these tailored adverts to remind individuals about their previous interests – especially if they’re looking for related products. This helps in increasing brand recall. 

So even if they don’t make an immediate purchase, they will remember your brand the next time they decide to buy that product/similar products. 

2. Cost-Effective

It is no secret that all-in-all digital marketing is a very cost-effective method of marketing that shows commendable results. And so is the case with remarketing. The cost for remarketing campaigns is not very pocket-burning and definitely not expensive for the kind of results that have been recorded. 

According to CMO, 25 % of viewers like to see retargeted advertising, and website visitors who are retargeted are 43 % more likely to convert. This brings us to our next benefit. 

3. Higher ROI

Retargeting customers who have already visited your website and expressed interest in your business will almost certainly save you money because they have a higher intent. When compared to reaching out to a bigger audience that might or might not be interested. 

Thus, you will be investing in customers most likely to buy and which in turn will recover your investment and give you higher profits. 

4. Improves Ad relevance

The reason for remarketing is that marketers are able to provide ads based on previous actions. Remarketing works so well that according to MotoCMS cart abandonment can be reduced by 6.5% and online sales can be increased by almost 20%.

If customers are more likely to see ads that suit their interests, there are higher chances that they will take action.

5. Specific Targeting Options

One of the major advantages of remarketing ads is to directly target those who are interested in the product or service through different features.

You can create different remarketing lists, according to Google, for instance, those who have added something to a cart but did not check out.

Those are a few of the benefits associated with remarketing. 

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6 Best Tools To Do Remarketing (Strategies Included)

Let’s look at the various channels that can be optimised for remarketing purposes-

1. Remarketing Using Google Ads

What is remarketing - Google Ads

Google Ads is a popular tool for a wide range of digital marketing strategies and is highly useful for businesses. So, we recommend learning Google Ads end-to-end, especially for remarketing. Here’s an online Google Ads course that can help.

Listed below are some of the features and types of remarketing offered by Google Ads

  • Standard remarketing: Show adverts to previous visitors as they surf websites and apps. 
  • Dynamic remarketing: Dynamic remarketing, which takes remarketing to the next level by showing ads that feature products or services that customers looked at on your website or app, can help you get better results.
  • Custom Marketing: You can add custom preferences like age, gender, etc on all the visitors and then show adverts to only those visitors who fit the custom criteria.
  • Remarketing lists for search ads: Show adverts to previous visitors as they conduct follow-up Google searches for what they require after leaving your site. 
  • Video remarketing: As consumers use YouTube and browse the Display Network videos, websites, and applications, show adverts to those who have interacted with your videos or YouTube channel. 
  • Customer list remarketing: You can submit lists of contact information that your clients have provided you with using Customer Match. You can also show them adverts across multiple Google products if they are signed into Google.

In our opinion, you must go for custom remarketing as the number of visitors on your product pages can be large but not all of them may be interested or fall in your target audience.

2. Remarketing Using Google Analytics 

What is remarketing - Google Analytics

Ideally, Google Analytics is an analytical tool but you can use it for remarketing with its option of building audiences. All you need to do is link your Google Ads account with your Google Analytics account which enables you to combine the data and conduct remarketing. 

All of this may sound technical and this calls for a detailed understanding of both tools. Once you’re aware of how they both work, it gets much easier to work with them. Consider registering for these Online Google Analytics Course and Online Google Ads Courses. These courses teach the tools right from scratch to advanced settings.


3. Remarketing Using Facebook Pixel

What is remarketing - Facebook Pixel

It is targeting a person more than once on Facebook and Instagram. Remarketing is possible with the use of Facebook Pixel code

So what exactly is pixel code?

Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you can place on your website to report conversions, build audiences and get rich insights into how people are using your website – Facebook

To put it simply, you can follow your visitors till they come back to your site.

The pixel keeps track of different actions users perform on your website, such as purchasing something or adding something to their wishlist. These actions are referred to as “events” on Facebook.\

And, when combined with pixel code, Facebook advertising offers a wealth of features. It’s never been easier to remarket.

You May Be Interested To Read: How to Find the right Target Audience on Facebook?

To discover more about the many capabilities available with Facebook advertisements, register for this online Facebook & Instagram ads course.


4. Remarketing Using Emails 

What is remarketing - Email Remarketing

(Source: HubSpot)

The base principle of remarketing remains the same here as well. Once you have assessed the behaviour of the users on your websites, you can now remarket to them via email. 

This accounts for the best form of personalized remarketing. Say you have noticed 3 prominent behaviours on your website, one part of the audience spent time on your product ‘X’, the second part spent their time on product “Y” and the third part of the audience left an item(s) in the shopping cart and left. 

Now you can run 3 email remarketing campaigns targeting each part of the audience separately and offering them incentives according to their behaviour. More incentives can be given to the third part of the audience who almost made a purchase. 

Within these 3 campaigns, each email sent can be highly personalized and customized to make the customer feel that the offer and communication being made is especially for them. 

But this form of remarketing can be done only if you have the email IDs of all the visitors to your website and thus, a lead generation tactic on your website is very important. Learn how to conduct lead generation and the tools for it with our Lead Generation Guide

A popular email marketing tool is MailChimp. Start building power email lists and conduct remarketing by first learning it with this Online Email Marketing Course.


5. Remarketing Using WhatsApp 

what is remarketing - whatsapp remarketing

(Source: Useinsider)

You can also use WhatsApp as a channel to remarket to your visitors. Just like emails, you will need their phone numbers to do so. 

You can broadcast messages to a particular remarketing list and get your message out there. This is greatly advantageous as people of all ages are well-versed with Whatsapp and use it on a daily basis. 

So the chances of reading your messages are the highest. And with the WhatsApp business account feature, you will be able to make formal communication with them on a messenger used for private conversations. 

Learn how to set up your WhatsApp business account and the number of opportunities it offers with this WhatsApp Marketing Guide.


6. Remarketing Using SMS 

what is remarketing - sms remarketing

(Source: smsbump)

SMS marketing has the highest conversion rate when compared to display ads and email marketing. Thus, all you need to do is collect phone numbers from your visitors in exchange for a freebie or any other incentive. 

Some popular SMS marketing tools are: 

  • TextMagic 
  • SimpleTexting
  • Salesmsg
  • EZ Texting
  • Twilio
  • Airship
  • Gupshup
  • TextLocal

These were the 6 best channels to conduct remarketing along with the tools for each. Remarketing is a slightly complex technique but once mastered, it will help you achieve commendable results. 

Although, remarketing is not the only great invention of digital marketing. There are various other digital marketing concepts and techniques that have helped businesses grow and expand. 

You can find out more about how companies leveraged digital marketing strategies and did wonders with these case studies

Especially since the covid-19 pandemic, many businesses have re-established themselves with the help of digitalization. 

Top 3 Challenges of Remarketing & How to Tackle Them

While remarketing sounds too good to be true and is a faster way to convert leads into sales, it comes with its own set of challenges. Let’s look at some of them below- 

1. Encouraging a Repurchase

The logic behind showing previous purchases via remarketing can be a downfall. It can irritate the customer and if the customer has had bad experiences, it can trigger a bad reputation for the brand. 

2. Overdoing It

There is no easy way to say this but remarketing, if not done correctly or overdone, can give a sense of unsafety to the viewer and can be also called borderline creepy. Hence, while planning the remarketing campaign, ensure that you aren’t showing the same product to the same person over and over. 

3. Immediately Remarketing

The customer has just about decided not to make a purchase. If you immediately show up on their social media, it can negatively impact their decision. Hence, ideally, after a few hours, when the person is in a neutral mood, showing up on their social media or email can work effectively.


How Can You Up Your Game Along with Remarketing?

We highly recommend you learn digital marketing skills in detail to upskill yourself and keep up with industry standards demand. 

IIDE’s 11-month Post Graduation in Digital Marketing is a good choice for all those who want to learn from industry experts & leaders alongside some great learners with hands-on practical learning. 

Even business owners of top companies like Abbot, Mahindra & Mahindra, Cipla, etc have started upskilling their employees in digital marketing to keep them updated & relevant to today’s customers’ demands and needs. 

So if you’re a business owner too, connect with us today to learn about our digital marketing corporate training to find out how we can help you upskill and digitize your employees with tailor-made solutions. 

Remarketing is a vast pool and you have to get started somewhere. We hope this blog has been that kick-start you needed. If you have any questions, feel free to let us know in the comments section below. 

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Karan Shah

Founder and CEO at IIDE

He is a passionate public speaker and teacher for over 10 years. He has trained over 60,000+ students and 25+ corporates in Digital Marketing via online and offline channels. He is a Harvard alumnus specialising in E-commerce......[Read full bio]


  1. Florian Ehrlichmann

    Yeah it is true that re marketing is really effective for online store

    • Karan Shah

      True that!


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