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What Is Remarketing? A Step-by-Step Guide (Updated for 2024)


Businesses are always looking for new ways to attract and keep their audience. Remarketing, also called retargeting, is a powerful tool that helps brands reconnect with people who have already visited their website. By using this technique, companies can send personalized and relevant marketing messages, creating benefits for both the business and the customer.

1. Understanding Remarketing:

Remarketing is a digital marketing method that lets businesses show ads to people who have visited their website or used their online platforms before but didn't complete a desired action. This strategy works because these visitors have already shown interest in the brand, making them good candidates for re-engagement.

2. The Mechanics Behind Remarketing Campaigns

Remarketing campaigns work by tracking what users do on a website. This usually involves using cookies, which are small files on a user's device that track their online activities. With this data, remarketing campaigns can show relevant ads to these users on different platforms like search engines, social media, and other websites.

The remarketing process unfolds as follows:

1. A potential customer visits a brand's website or engages with its online presence.

2. The visitor's actions (or lack thereof) are tracked and recorded through cookies.

3. As the individual navigates other websites or platforms, they are served targeted advertisements related to the brand's products or services they previously explored.

4. These personalized ads aim to re-engage the visitor, encouraging them to return to the brand's website and complete the desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service.

3. Distinguishing Remarketing from Retargeting

While the terms "remarketing" and "retargeting" are often used interchangeably, there are subtle distinctions between the two concepts:


  • Retargeting primarily focuses on serving paid advertisements to individuals who have previously interacted with a brand's online presence. These ads are typically displayed across search engines, social media platforms, and other websites within advertising networks.

  • Remarketing, on the other hand, encompasses a broader scope that includes not only paid advertising but also targeted email campaigns. By leveraging customer data and browsing behavior, remarketing campaigns can deliver highly personalized email communications, fostering a deeper connection with the audience.

4. Leveraging Remarketing Lists

Remarketing campaigns rely heavily on the creation and utilization of remarketing lists. These lists comprise individuals who have taken (or have not taken) specific actions on a brand's website or online platforms. For example, a remarketing list could include visitors who have viewed a particular product category, added items to their shopping cart, or navigated to the checkout page without completing the purchase.

By segmenting their audience into these tailored remarketing lists, businesses can craft highly targeted campaigns, tailoring their messaging and offers to align with each group's unique behaviors and interests.

5. Employing Remarketing Pixel Tags

Remarketing pixel tags, also known as tracking pixels, are essential for remarketing campaigns. These small pieces of code are placed on a website's pages to track visitor activities by placing cookies.

As visitors move through the website, their actions are recorded, allowing the remarketing platform to automatically add them to specific remarketing lists. For example, if someone signs up for a newsletter and reaches the "thank you" page, they are added to one list. If someone leaves items in their shopping cart, they are added to a different list for cart abandonment campaigns.

6. Exploring Different Remarketing Campaign Types

Remarketing campaigns can take various forms, each designed to achieve specific objectives and cater to different audience segments. Here are four common types of remarketing campaigns:

1. Standard Remarketing

standard marketing

Standard remarketing is the most widely used form of this marketing strategy. It tracks and targets customers who have visited a brand's website, leveraging pixel tags and cookie data. For example, a business could remarket to all visitors who have accessed their homepage within the past month, serving them banner ads, text ads, social media advertisements, or email campaigns.

2. Dynamic Remarketing

Dynamic marketing

Dynamic remarketing takes personalization to the next level by showcasing the exact products or services a visitor has previously viewed or added to their cart. This approach requires businesses to submit a product feed to the advertising platform they intend to use, enabling the dynamic creation and delivery of highly relevant advertisements featuring the specific items the visitor has expressed interest in.

3. Display Remarketing

Display remarketing is a straightforward way to reach customers who have previously visited a brand's website. It tracks individuals who have shown interest in the brand's offerings and serves them visually appealing display advertisements when they navigate to other websites within the advertising network.

Display markteing

4. Search Remarketing

Search remarketing is a powerful tool for capturing the attention of past website visitors within search engine results. By leveraging an individual's browsing history, search remarketing campaigns can customize paid search advertisements to feature products or services the visitor has previously explored, increasing the likelihood of re-engagement and conversion.

7. Implementing a Remarketing Campaign on Google Ads

Google Ads, one of the most widely used advertising platforms, offers robust remarketing capabilities. To run a remarketing campaign on this platform, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create a Remarketing List

1. Navigate to the "Audience Manager" within the Google Ads interface's "Shared Library."

Remarketing list

2. If you haven't already added the remarketing pixel to your website, follow the prompts to set it up and customize your remarketing settings.


3. Select "Segments" from the left-hand menu and click the "+" button to create a new list.


4. Choose the type of list you want to create, such as website visitors, mobile app users, YouTube users, or a custom combination.


5. If creating a list for website visitors, provide a name and specify the criteria for inclusion, such as visiting a particular page or exhibiting specific behaviors.


Step 2: Set Up Your Google Ads Remarketing Campaign

1. Create a new campaign within your Google Ads account, selecting the appropriate campaign type (e.g., Display, Search, Shopping ads).

2. Name your campaign and provide the URL you want to direct visitors to from your advertisements.

3. When creating your ad group and ad, select the remarketing list you want to target, potentially including Gmail ads for individuals who have shared their email addresses with your business.

4. Design your ad's visuals and copy, set your budget and timeframe, and publish the campaign when ready.

Step 3: Monitor and Optimize with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for monitoring and measuring the success of your remarketing campaigns. Here are some key ways to leverage this platform:

1. Track increased page views: Observe whether specific pages on your website have experienced an uptick in visitors since launching your remarketing campaign, and identify their sources.

2. Set up events: If your goal is to encourage specific actions from visitors, create events in Google Analytics to track whether there has been an increase in those actions after launching your remarketing campaign.

3. Test remarketing ads: Create multiple ad campaigns and serve them to identical remarketing audiences to determine which variations perform best. Use Google Analytics to create separate audiences with shared attributes and compare the effectiveness of different campaign variations.

By regularly monitoring and optimizing your remarketing campaigns based on performance data, you can continually refine and enhance their effectiveness, ensuring maximum return on your marketing investments.

8. Boosting Conversion Rates with Remarketing

Remarketing campaigns offer a powerful solution for re-engaging distracted website visitors and nurturing them towards conversion. By delivering highly relevant and personalized marketing messages to individuals who have already expressed interest in your brand, you increase the likelihood of capturing their attention and guiding them through the sales funnel.

Implement a well-crafted remarketing strategy to unlock the full potential of this marketing approach and witness a significant boost in your conversion rates, fostering long-lasting relationships with your target audience.

9. The Power of Remarketing: Key Takeaways

As you embark on your remarketing journey, keep these essential points in mind:

  • Remarketing allows you to re-engage with potential customers who have previously interacted with your brand, capitalizing on their existing interest and familiarity.

  • Leverage remarketing lists and pixel tags to segment your audience and deliver highly targeted campaigns tailored to their specific behaviors and interests.

  • Explore different types of remarketing campaigns, such as standard, dynamic, display, and search remarketing, to cater to diverse audience segments and objectives.

  • Implement remarketing campaigns on platforms like Google Ads, following best practices for creating lists, setting up campaigns, and monitoring performance with Google Analytics.

  • Continuously optimize and refine your remarketing efforts based on performance data, testing different variations to maximize their effectiveness and drive conversions.

By mastering the art of remarketing, you can create numerous opportunities to build strong, lasting connections with your audience. This approach helps cultivate brand loyalty and keeps your business in the minds of potential customers. Ultimately, effective remarketing can drive your business towards ongoing growth and success, ensuring your marketing efforts are both impactful and efficient.



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