Remarketing: Beginner’s Guide

Any marketer who’s busied themselves with raising a brand’s profile, or retaining an engaged customer base, will tell you about the importance of remarketing. When it comes to tailoring content to suit your demographic, you need to also consider how vital it is to hold someone’s attention once you’ve grabbed it. Also, you should be looking to nurture leads even if they don’t convert in the first instance.

Retargeting is one avenue to go down if you want to achieve this and it’s essential to a strong social media strategy as well. Banner ads are one way to draw that first engagement, but if you want to reach someone who’s already visited your website, you’ll need to get to grips with retargeting ads. Alternatively, you might want to reach out to someone who’s already a contact in your database. In this case, you’ll need some understanding of the various options available to you, which is precisely the purpose of this blog.

So, let’s get started…


Remarketing Campaigns

When talking about remarketing, it’s important to mention retargeting ads, which seek out new audiences on social media, email and other platforms. This is very similar to remarketing, which attempts to re-engage customers with sales or marketing emails. The key difference is that retargeting seeks out new prospects with ads and remarketing is about churning up new interest in your business from current or inactive customers.

It’s easy enough to remember since there are really only two types of retargeting to distinguish: pixel-based and list-based. Both have their own advantages, but, if you want to differentiate between the two, it’s important to know their distinct benefits and flaws.

Pixel-based Retargeting

Arguably, the most common approach, this is a way to re-display ads for anonymous visitors to your website. If anyone visits your website, JavaScript (also known as a pixel) is then attached to their browser. This means that their browser has been ‘cookie-d’, so that when they go off to explore elsewhere, this cookie exists to give retargeting platforms a trace of where they’ve been. A closed tab doesn’t mean that digital footprint has been lost forever. Ads will later be served to you based on the pages you’ve visited. This is a useful tool if you want your ads to be more time-oriented, sending out reminders soon after leads have left your website. Or, you can make your ads specific to certain pages. Just be mindful that you will always be targeting low volumes in these campaigns. It’s a relatively small net to cast – not to mention the difficulty of using JavaScript on multiple pages at once.


List-based Retargeting

This option will only work if you already have the contact information of the customer you’re reaching out to. Stored in a database, like the one provided by MailChimp, you’ll be able to employ this method of retargeting by separating your contacts into specific audiences. Then you can create and refine lists for retargeting ads and upload their email addresses in your campaign (usually on one of your social channels). You can use different platforms to identify users and serve them relevant ads, based on their browsing behaviour, or interests – for example. This happens to be less common than pixel-based retargeting, but it allows you to carefully hone your ads and send them directly to strong leads and already engaged customers, based directly on their behaviour.


Other ways to separate these forms of retargeting include email retargeting, which again relies on information you’ve stored for a customer, or new lead. You can personalise your emails based on their location and other fields filled out at the point of subscription. Then there’s social media retargeting too – boosted by engagement on established platforms and linked to an already trusted account (as opposed to a small web banner ad that could’ve been posted by anyone). If you need to directly target those who’ve visited your website, you will of course need to make use of tracking pixels.

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