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In the world of account-based marketing, retargeting vs. remarketing is one of those topics where the definitions of terminologies, relevant practices, tools, and their application methods often overlap.

Moreover, tools that offer both capabilities to marketers, such as Google Ads, AdRoll, and Mailchimp, further complicate the differentiation. This makes it challenging for businesses to adopt the right method for generating leads, nurturing prospects, and preventing churn.

In this article, we'll look to differentiate between remarketing and retargeting, resources and retargeting software you need, and try to help you decide which method is best for your business.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting shows your ads to people who visited your website earlier but did not complete a desired action. The desired action could be signing up for a free trial or subscribing to the newsletter.

This ABM marketing strategy uses cookies to track these visitors across the web and display your ads when they are browsing different websites. Retargeting ads can be quite effective for approaching enterprise accounts as you can display your messages to specific personas.

When your visitors see your offerings over and over again, their chances of visiting your website and trying your product or requesting a demo increase. This brings a lot of hot leads to your sales funnel.

Various tools, such as Google Ads and Criteo, can track online activities to deliver personalized ad experiences to your audience.

Types of Retargeting Strategies

Retargeting an audience with display ads can be done in two ways:

  • On-site retargeting: This aims to engage with your visitors when they are on your website. The objective here is to nudge them to complete a certain task. Elements like exit-intent pop-ups and dynamic forms can help with this.
  • Off-site retargeting: This method tracks your visitors to display personalized ads after they leave your website. It keeps your brand’s name on top of their mind, so when they are ready to make the purchase, they know where to go.

It is recommended to start with on-site retargeting efforts to maximize the chances of converting a visitor into a lead or a paying customer. Moreover, the investment required is lower, in most cases, for B2B brands.

Benefits of Retargeting

Both on-site and off-site retargeting campaigns bring the following advantages:

  • Increases conversion rates by reminding your audience about your products and services
  • Enhances brand recall by consistently exposing them to your ad messages
  • Improves personalization for your potential customers as they will see recommendations from you based on their needs
  • Compliment other promotional efforts such as email outreach and social media marketing

To conclude, retargeting gets more leads into your sales funnel by showing your ads to your visitors across the internet. While running off-site retargeting campaigns, getting cookie consent from your audience is essential.

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What is Remarketing?

Remarketing targets specific visitors or past customers with tailored messages. This can happen through personalized email campaigns or social media platforms like LinkedIn. The aim here is to remind these target accounts about your offerings and to reconnect with them personally.

This differs from retargeting which displays personalized ads or pop-ups, targeting users over the internet.

Businesses rely on remarketing campaigns to send customized offers, remind about products left in their carts, etc. It can re-engage customers or motivate them to complete the purchase. Common tools used are Mailchimp and HubSpot.

Benefits of Remarketing

Reconnecting with specific accounts through a communication channel offers the following advantages:

  • Boosts customer retention by reminding your past buyers about your offerings to foster loyalty
  • Increases engagement as prospects are more likely to respond to customized messages rather than general ads
  • Decreases customer acquisition cost (CAC) by encouraging repeat purchases from past buyers through good service
  • Enhances the brand experience as existing customers will feel valued by the attention to detail

In summary, remarketing campaigns bring customers closer to your brand through personalized messaging. Remarketing can be beneficial for increasing customer lifetime value (CLTV) and reducing CAC.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing: Similarities and Differences

Both remarketing and retargeting offer great advantages for businesses in reaching audiences, converting leads, and retaining customers. However, to decisively determine which is best for your bran, it is key to look at where they overlap and how they differ.

Key AspectsRetargetingRemarketingSimilarities
Personalization LevelsMonitors visitors across the web to deliver display ads based on personalized needsSends tailored messages via email or social media directly to leadsBoth personalize the purchase experience for the target audience
Data TypesRelies on cookie data to display programmatic ads on various platforms (search engines, social media, third-party websites)Uses data points from CRM systems, including past purchases, buying patterns, and email responsivenessBoth use data-driven approaches to deliver personalized content
Resources and Tools NeededTools: Google AdWords, AdRoll, and Criteo for managing and displaying ads across ad networks and social media platformsTools: Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Klaviyo for managing and sending remarketing emailsBoth require specialized marketing software to run their campaigns
ChannelsLeverages online ads on social media, search engines, third-party websites, or external ad networksUtilizes email, text messages, in-app notifications, and social media inboxesBoth aim to re-engage existing customers and drive conversions
Retargeting vs. Remarketing

1. Personalization Levels

B2B marketing teams can leverage either of these to personalize the purchase experience of their target audience. The distinction lies in the execution.

Retargeting campaigns monitor your visitors across the web to deliver them display ads based on their personalized needs. On the other hand, remarketing requires you to send tailored messages via email or social media directly to the leads.

As you can imagine, retargeting and remarketing use different kinds of data, which brings us to the next point.

2. Data Types

Since retargeting follows your audience across the web, it relies on cookie data. This information is pivotal in displaying programmatic ads on various platforms. The platforms can range from search engines, social media channels, and third-party websites.

However, remarketing campaigns look at data points from your CRM systems. This gives insights into your customers' past purchases, buying patterns, responsiveness to your emails, etc. This data is pivotal in sending personalized offers in remarketing emails that resonate with existing customers.

3. Resources and Tools Needed

Many tools in the B2B marketing stack allow teams to run both strategies concurrently from one place. At the same time, you can consider specialized marketing software to keep the relevant marketing campaigns separate and avoid confusion.

Retargeting campaigns require tools like Google AdWords, AdRoll, and Criteo. These apps will help you manage and display ads across ad networks and social media platforms. Remarketing email campaigns utilize tools such as Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Klaviyo.

4. Channels

You may have deduced already, considering we have discussed both re-engaging strategies in detail by now.

The retargeting technique leverages online ads for which it uses social media, search engines, third-party websites, or external ad networks. At the same time, the remarketing method relies on email, text messages, in-app notifications (in the case of SaaS product-based businesses), and social media inboxes.

In summary, remarketing and retargeting strategies are crucial for engaging existing customers and driving conversions. They share similarities in their focus on personalization and data-driven approaches but differ in the tools, resources, and channels they utilize. Integrating both strategies can enhance overall marketing efforts and maximize ROI.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing: Which Should You Use for ABM

Deciding between retargeting and remarketing for your ABM strategy requires you to consider your needs and what your audience responds to best. 

How to Use Retargeting in ABM

B2B marketing teams can use tools like Google Ads, RollWorks, and AdRoll to target their audience across the web. Displaying relevant content based on the needs and preferences of the site visitors can get you more leads that are ready to purchase.

Consider the example of PayScale, a compensation software for businesses that gives real-time insights to both employers and employees. They adopted RollWorks to target a specific persona within their audience. 

This resulted in a 500% increase in target account traffic, a 45% reduction in time to close, and a 6x return on investment (ROI) in revenue within seven months!

Simply put, B2B brands can use retargeting to display their messages to decision-makers or power users. This can get them relevant prospects who are likely more ready to buy quickly.

How to Use Remarketing in ABM

B2B marketing teams can use tools like HubSpot, Freshworks, and Mailchimp to learn about their customers. Based on this information, they then send them personalized messages containing offers and recommendations via campaigns like email marketing.

This increases the customer lifetime value and the average deal size.

Propeller Aero, for example, used HubSpot to do just that. The 3D mapping and analytics tool uses the CRM solution to deliver personalized buying experiences to high-value accounts. Running remarketing campaigns helped them boost their average deal size by 23% and increased the close rate by 12%.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing: Which Tactic Should You Adopt?

Remarketing and retargeting are two outreach strategies that remind prospects and past customers about your offerings. Both of the methods employ personalization tactics to increase the likelihood of conversion or a repeat purchase.

It is crucial to focus on retargeting vs. remarketing to learn how they differ and which one is best for your ABM needs.

Retargeting displays programmatic ads to your audience by tracking them through cookies across the web. On the other hand, remarketing helps B2B marketers write personalized messages that re-engage their past customers.

Both remarketing and retargeting methods have proven themselves effective while scoring leads, converting prospects, and retaining customers through ABM campaigns.

It is essential to keep in mind that the tools and strategies implemented with either of the above marketing techniques evolve. 

Staying updated about recent trends, innovative software, and novel tactics in ABM can be important for gaining an edge in the market. So, subscribe to our newsletter to get a pulse on all things ABM right in your inbox.

Dozie Anyaegbunam
By Dozie Anyaegbunam

Dozie Anyaegbunam is the Senior Editor of The CMO, digital marketing firepower for SaaS pioneers. He's a marketing strategist with years of experience in Marketing, Communications, Ecommerce, and SEO. And has worked across verticals ranging from software to edu-tech, apparel, and F&B, leading teams at B2B SaaS startups, global multinationals, and the public sector. He’s the Founder & Host of The Newcomer’s Podcast featuring immigrants and their stories of moving to a new country, and he’s currently producing a documentary on the immigrant’s experience.