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  • Writer's pictureAlen Belavic

What is Remarketing?

Remarketing (also known as retargeting) is a targeted way of serving ads to people who have previously visited or taken action on your website or app. It's a way to connect with people who already visited your website or consumed your content. You are essentially giving them a second chance to consider your product. Remarketing is focused on users who are already familiar with your product or brand. You are past the effort of familiarizing users with your brand and products, now you just want to move the users along the conversion funnel.

Think of it in terms of a first date. You met someone, got something to eat together and talked a bit about each other. During the course of the date, you got more familiar, you know their favorite color, movie and so on. Now after the date it's time for a follow up message, saying „hey, had a great time yesterday, how about a second date?“

Technical terms/It's all in the cookies

In technical terms, remarketing is the process of using a javascript tag (known as a pixel) to place a cookie in the user’s browser. The cookie then informs a remarketing platform to serve specific display ads through an ad exchange, based on the pages or products the user has engaged with or searched for on your website or app.


If you already advertise on Google, all you need to do is add a piece of Google remarketing code (pixel/tag) to your website so that visitors can get added to your remarketing audiences through browser cookies. You can customize the code for different pages to correspond to more defined categories.

Practical terms

In practical terms there is more than one use for remarketing. You are not only reminding users that you still exist and they've already seen your content. Remarketing is useful for increasing your brands awareness and reminding those audiences who are familiar with you to make a purchase. In eCommerce, for example, remarketing ads can be used to recover abandoned carts, by displaying the product the user added to the cart but left the site without purchasing.

Here is how remarketing works in three easy steps using Google AdWords (we are focusing on them as an example for this article):

· The user visits your website or consumes your content.

· This user is then tagged with a cookie and is added to a remarketing list.

· You then launch a campaign with ads shown only to users on this list.

Remarketing List
source: YouTube Google Ads

Benefits of remarketing

So with technicalities and practical use out of the way, what are the benefits of using remarketing? Well according to Google and their AdWords, there are quite a few benefits:

· Just in time targeting: You can show your ads to people who’ve previously interacted with your business right when they’re searching elsewhere and are more likely to make a purchase. You can also help customers find you by showing them your ads when they are actively looking for your business on Google Search.

· Focused advertising: You can create remarketing lists to advertise for specific cases. For example, you may create a remarketing list targeted for people who added something to their shopping cart but didn’t complete a transaction.

· Large-scale reach: You can reach people on your remarketing lists across their devices as they browse over 2 million websites and mobile apps.

· Efficient pricing: You can create high-performance remarketing campaigns with automated bidding. Real-time bidding calculates the optimal bid for the person viewing your ad, helping you win the ad auction with the best possible price. There's no extra cost to use Google's auction.

· Easy ad creation: Produce text, image, and video ads for free with Ad gallery. Combine a dynamic remarketing campaign with Ad gallery layouts to scale beautiful ads across all of your products or services.

· Campaign statistics: You’ll have reports of how your campaigns are performing, where your ads are showing, and what price you're paying.

Digital Marketing

Cons of remarketing

· Privacy concerns

Even though remarketing is widely and frequently used it still raises privacy concerns. Some may find it very useful and practical that a website where they saw a product that got their attention is showing them similar products or reminding them of their full carts. Others might find it fishy that a company has access to what they search and what they visit. The privacy concerns are only going up in this day and age, especially since privacy became a hot topic.

· Annoyance

Another con of remarketing is that it can be just plain annoying. Even though some users might have been actively interested in your product, seeing the same add 7-10 times all over again triggers annoyance. That same customer which was interested in your product might actively refuse to purchase your products on a basic principal of you annoying him.

· Banner Blindness

Is a term used to define the ineffectiveness of advertising due to oversaturation. In other terms, people grow tired of seeing your ads and just start to turn a blind eye to them in order to avoid being annoyed.

Types of remarketing (using AdWords)

·Standard remarketing: Show ads to your past visitors as they browse sites and apps.

·Dynamic remarketing: Showing ads that include products or services that people viewed on your website or app.

·Remarketing lists for search ads: Show ads to your past visitors as they do follow-up searches for what they need on Google, after leaving your website.

·Video remarketing: Show ads to people who have interacted with your videos or YouTube channel as they use YouTube and browse videos, websites, and apps.

·Customer list remarketing: With Customer match, you can upload lists of contact information that your customers have given you. When those people are signed into Google, you can show them ads across different Google products.

Remarketing is quite a useful tool, especially if you are a small to medium sized business. It gives you a chance to keep your product in contention. You are staying in front of the line in eyes view of an audience that already showed an interest in you or your product. You do not have to go and search for an audience that might have an interest in you, you are specifically targeting those that already did that. It gives you a chance to stay relevant and it certainly gives you exposure. Even though it can be annoying to some, small and medium businesses can use it quite effectively.

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