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Remarketing Vs. Retargeting For eCommerce Sales

Aqiba D
Aqiba D
July 8, 2019
2 min read
Remarketing Vs. Retargeting For eCommerce Sales

Remarketing is the science behind bringing back lost customers and converting them.

Marketing has never been a one-off effort where you don’t go after prospects again repeatedly.

The concept of remarketing was derived so that no customer is ever lost.

Research suggests that remarketing is not only cheaper but has a greater success rate. Although, contrary to popular belief, remarketing and retargeting are not the same.

The difference between the two is that retargeting is in fact, a part of remarketing.

In essence, remarketing is mostly limited to email and SMS while retargeting is limited to web traffic. In other words, remarketing is essentially marketing to the same customer base again and again, while retargeting is basically targeting online ads at a specific group continuously.

For example, if you visit a hosting website, you will see ads by that company wherever there is a Google Ads slot. This is because that specific hosting website will be retargeting ads towards you; forcing you into revisiting their website.


Think back to the days of telemarketing and infomercials. If you showed interest in a product even once, you’d get countless calls from sales agents.

This is a prime example of remarketing.

And, it worked because people tend to second guess their choices, especially when they’re about to spend hard-earned money. The remarketing telephone calls ensured that customers remembered their interest in the product, and could reconsider their buying decision.

The most recent retargeting platform is social media.

The entire framework of social media sites is based on retargeting. For example, once you like a page and become a follower, you get updates about it and can set notifications for it.

Social media advertising has seen the same retargeting practices as we see on Google Ads.

Every e-commerce business on social media benefits from retargeting, as it’s one of the easiest and cheapest marketing avenues for lead conversion. That is, if said business has already spent considerably on their marketing efforts.


Popular Retargeting Apps for E-Commerce Businesses

There are several retargeting apps beings used nowadays; with the following 3 being the most popular, yielding the best results, and providing proper analytical data for you to gather and apply towards conversion.

Google Ads

Google Ads Remarketing for eCommerce stores

Google remarketing is one of the simplest yet most effective remarketing tools you can use.

If a visitor to your website meets your set criteria, Google Ads puts a cookie on that visitor’s device, which tracks them. Eventually, every webpage with a Google Ad window that they open, will show your ad in the ad panel.

The amount of retargeting depends on your budget and how much of the criteria the visitor fulfills. You can even set it such that if a visitor does revisit your site, they stop getting your retargeted ads.

Facebook Ads

Facebook remarketing works in the same way as Google remarketing except the ads are limited to Facebook alone.

If someone views your page, Facebook records their visit permanently and if they fit your retargeting criteria, Facebook will continue to show them your ad.

This ad may be shown on the ad panels, or in the sponsored posts. Your posts may even show up to them as, ‘Similar to posts you’ve interacted with’.


If your ecommerce store runs on Shopify, then Shoelace is one of the best retargeting tools available for your business (yes, they have a shopify app!).

Their main value proposition isn't serving ads so much as changing the customer journey. By showing the right brand experiences at the right time, Shoelace aims to deliver your brand story and curate your customer's attention for the wow moment - and towards a purchase.


Adroll basically does everything for you. Rather than setting up your remarketing campaign on Google, you can do so on AdRoll with minimal effort.

According to AdRoll, only 2% of unique visitors on e-commerce sites convert on their first visit. The rest of the 98%; however, can be converted through optimal retargeting efforts.


Remarketing Works – But How?

Ask any e-commerce business owners who have used remarketing, about their advice regarding it, and everyone will tell you that constant remarketing is important for greater conversion.

In essence, you basically have money on the table that’s just yours to take. All you have to do is make the effort – the effort being remarketing.

Barret Wilson at RV Snap Pad explains that the majority of their retargeting efforts are done on Facebook using Shoelace. He says,

"Retargeting helps our business by staying top-of-mind for the customer across their various digital channels. Take Facebook, for example, where we do most of our retargeting. We can retarget based on so many different types of intent triggers and steps along the Customer Journey. For example, if we know a certain customer has used our Search Tool and we've captured data on the type of RV they have, we can custom-tailor an advertising experience for just them, making it much more personalized and effective."

This is because Facebook allows for specific segmental triggers which help develop your marketing efforts around the customer journey.

Benjamin Dara, the Chief Marketing Officer at MyMedic, who also uses Shoelace, sums up today’s marketing world, what the customer wants, and the importance of retargeting in a great way.

“Re-targeting has become an essential part of our sales process and funnel. We have continued and will continue to grow our re-targeting strategy to provide the best experience for our people. User experience is very important to us, and we realize that attracting visitors isn't the main battle anymore. It's providing them with a cohesive brand experience that engenders them towards multiple purchases (lifetime value), and re-targeting sure is a great way to do that.”


What Are the Stats?

It’s safe to assume that if a customer comes back to your e-commerce site, they are there with the intention of buying something. Since the entire idea of remarketing is to bring customers back, you can be sure that the stats would be extremely positive.

Rish Sharma from Q-See says,

“We are averaging currently about 7 to 8 ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), during some promotional times close 23x ROAS.”

However, Barret Wilson explains that the same cannot be expected with Facebook remarketing, since at the moment, it’s mostly about which stage of the customer journey you are in.

Usually, the brand awareness campaigns wouldn’t yield as much return on investment because Facebook remarketing is more about cheap scalability, awareness, and overall brand growth, rather than selling.

Contrary to Barret’s comment, Benjamin Dara says that their Facebook remarketing yields them a 7 ROAS. He goes on to say,

“So lifetime with Facebook re-targeting alone we are averaging a 7 to 1 return on ad spend, with the ups and downs through the years of the changes of Facebook and to our business. At times we have seen ROAS as high as 20 to 1, 15 to 1, and so forth.”

This is a testament of the fact that even remarketing is not an exact science.

You need to understand your audience, target market, and of course your brand, in order to reap the benefits of remarketing.


Remarketing Tips

The most important thing when it comes to remarketing is to know your customer. You need a clearly defined target market, proper data-mining, as well as analytics and insight, to understand your customers.

Once you have a solid grasp on the aforementioned factors, you can either choose automated retargeting or you can do it manually.

Rish and Benjamin use Shoelace’s engine and assert the importance of a good Shoelace account manager. Although, once you get the hang of it, it’s advised to start manually retargeting your customers for maximum brand growth and sales.

Perhaps the most important thing to note is that remarketing is an on-going process like all of marketing.

This means that you need to constantly monitor your remarketing campaigns, keep an eye on general analytics, and make appropriate amendments to your approach; while leveraging even the smallest of opportunities.

Barret has a relatively unique tip he wants to share with the world,

"Retargeting starts with your current data. Look into your Google Analytics account and it'll have all the age, geographic, gender and interest data you need to start a retargeting campaign. Based on your intent and audience, you'll want to cater your landing page to have a purpose for retargeting ads, whether that be clicks, form submissions, purchases, etc. Once your website begins to have moderate amounts of traffic, you can start to utilize tools like Look-a-Like audiences on Facebook."

On the other hand, Benjamin Dara offered a more stoic thought-process and approach to retargeting. He says,

“You know, in the beginning for all businesses re-targeting probably is a way for you to convert those lost customers. Whether you are doing it with abandoned carts, on Facebook, through Messenger, Instagram, or Google and its partners: that is sort of how it all begins.

To those who are starting out. You are definitely as they say "leaving money on the table", and that will be your focus for maybe a year or two before the shift will begin to "am I leaving past customer’s money on the table", and then to "am I providing the best experience and evangelizing our user base?"

When that happens, you have graduated my friend!


Bottom Line

Remarketing definitely works!

It has worked for countless e-commerce sites and even social media-based businesses.

Any business that spends money on Google Ads or Facebook advertising but doesn’t use remarketing is essentially letting go of a large chunk of their customer-base and potential sales.

One of the best things about remarketing is that it’s easily incorporated into online services, such as Referral Candy, where an entire retargeting category is available on the dashboard.

Referral marketing and retargeting combined can do wonders for your e-commerce business – brand awareness and growth along with increased sales.

Aqiba D
Aqiba D

Aqiba is a professional writer based in Houston, Texas. Her passion is content writing and has been writing for 7 years.

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