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Remarketing Vs. Retargeting: Are They The Same Thing?

In the advertising world, the terms "remarketing" and "retargeting" are often used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion among marketers and business owners alike. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of these two strategies, shedding light on their differences and exploring when it is most appropriate to leverage each.

Remarketing & Retargeting

Similar, but different. Crafting successful advertising campaigns involves navigating through the complexities of audience targeting, creative testing, and data analysis. While both remarketing and retargeting aim to re-engage potential customers, their strategies and target audiences differ significantly.


Retargeting encompasses various approaches, often manifesting as online ad placements or display ads directed at users who have interacted with a website without completing a purchase. Third-party platforms, such as the Google Display Network or Facebook (Meta), facilitate retargeting by displaying ads on other sites visited by potential customers.

On-Site Interactions

This involves targeting individuals who have previously visited your site, interacted with products, or taken specific actions without making a purchase. Strategies may include targeting based on product interaction, referral source, or email list engagement.

Off-Site Interactions

With the evolution of social media, retargeting has expanded to include users who interact with a brand's page or events on platforms like Facebook. This off-site interaction targeting broadens the scope of retargeting strategies.

Retargeting strategy facebook 2024


While the terms are often used interchangeably, remarketing primarily focuses on re-engaging existing customers through platforms like email or paid ads. It involves tactics such as email reminders for service renewals or upselling additional accessories based on a customer's purchase history.

The Blurry Line Between Remarketing & Retargeting

The line between remarketing and retargeting has become increasingly blurred in recent years. Platforms like Google Ads and Meta Ads have facilitated the integration of email lists into paid media targeting, eroding the traditional silos between these strategies.

When to Use Retargeting vs. Remarketing

The decision to deploy retargeting or remarketing depends on the overarching marketing strategy. Combining both tactics can incrementally boost conversions, targeting both new and existing customers more efficiently.

Prioritizing Retargeting:

  • Aimed at gaining new customers.

  • Ideal for one-time purchase products/services.

  • Effective when already investing in awareness-building campaigns.

Prioritizing Remarketing:

  • Geared towards repeat purchase products/services.

  • Suitable for upselling to existing customers.

  • Cost-effective for brands with limited marketing budgets.

How to retarget in 2023 and how will the deprecation of the third-party cookie impact retargeting?

For over a decade, third-party cookies have played a crucial role in the retargeting of ads, with major tech players such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google heavily depending on them for their advertising efforts.

As privacy concerns grow among consumers, companies like Google, Apple, and Mozilla have revealed plans to phase out third-party cookies. This shift is compelling many brands to reassess their advertising approaches. While the majority of retargeting campaigns currently rely on third-party cookies, their impending demise doesn't signify the end of retargeting. Instead, it signals a need for marketers to embrace more innovative approaches in crafting retargeting ads, such as leveraging alternative strategies like first-party cookies.

Setting up Effective Retargeting Campaigns Partnering with a marketing agency or opting for a self-serve approach can facilitate the setup of retargeting ads. Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook provide remarketing options, and we'll explore how to harness these familiar platforms for impactful retargeting campaigns.

Retargeting with Google Ads Utilizing Google Ads for retargeting involves creating lists of website and app visitors and targeting them with ads—a practice known as list-based retargeting. Follow these steps to set up a remarketing tag:

  1. Sign in or create a Google Ads account.

  2. Navigate to "Audience Manager" and select "Audience Sources."

  3. Click on the Google Ads tag card and choose "Details" or "Set up tag."

  4. Opt for "Use Tag Manager" and copy your conversion link.

Retargeting on Social Media With Facebook and Instagram's expansive user base, both owned by Meta, they stand out as prime advertising platforms. Facebook & Instagram Ads constitute over 23% of digital ad spending. Retargeting campaigns on Facebook have demonstrated a 70% boost in conversion rates and a click-through rate ten times higher than typical ads. Meta's retargeting process involves:

  1. Create a list of the customers you want to retarget.

  2. Install a Facebook pixel for retargeting website visitors.

  3. Develop a Custom Audience from your list or pixel data to define target audiences.

  4. Craft ads displaying relevant items from your catalog.

How to set up facebook retargeting campaigns

Set Up Facebook Pixel

  • Open Ads Manager or Facebook Business Manager.

  • Access the "Pixels" section and create a pixel for your website.

Install the Pixel Code:

  • Add the pixel code manually to your website's code or through Tag Manager.

  • Confirm the pixel is working correctly using tools like the Facebook Pixel Chrome extension.

Set Up Facebook Pixel Events:

  • Add additional information to track standard events, such as Add to Cart, Payment Info, etc.

  • Customize the pixel code within your website's code for each event.

Create Facebook Retargeting Audiences:

  • Access Facebook Business Manager and select "Audiences."

  • Click on "Create Audience" and choose "Custom Audience."

  • Select "Website Traffic" and set conditions based on past visitor behavior.

  • Name your audience and click "Create Audience."

By following these steps, you'll establish a solid foundation for effective Facebook retargeting campaigns, boosting lead quality and conversion rates. Keep in mind that retargeting as of 2023/2024 is more difficult due to the privacy concerns grow among consumers, companies like Google, Apple, and Mozilla have revealed plans to phase out third-party cookies.

As digital marketing continues to evolve, the distinctions between retargeting and remarketing have become less clear. However, the shared goal remains constant - increasing conversions from those most likely to engage with a brand. Retargeting focuses on potential customers, leveraging paid ads, while remarketing hones in on existing customers through email campaigns or paid ads for specific upselling and messaging.

In conclusion, the merging of retargeting and remarketing reflects the broader trends in digital marketing. The focus is shifting from rigidly defined tactics to determining the optimal blend that yields the best results. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, marketers can leverage Adcredo, a versatile multimedia platform, to streamline and enhance their campaigns across various digital platforms, ensuring efficiency and success in the competitive world of online advertising. Learn more about Adcredo here.

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Anna Sahlberg Carlsson  Digital Marketing Specialist
Anna Sahlberg Carlsson, Digital Marketing Specialist


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