What is Remarketing?

Author: / On: March 13, 2012 / Categories: Behavioral Data, Customer Intelligence, General, Marketing Automation, Personalized, Remarketing

It’s a word used frequently, but it can sometimes mean different things to different people. So what is remarketing? As remarketing programs have been designed, built, and executed over the last 15 years, it’s been interesting to watch the term “remarketing” morph into a myriad of different meanings as vendors, consultants, and analysts adapted the definition to fit their needs. Some believe remarketing is synonymous with shopping cart abandonment, while others use the terms remarketing and retargeting interchangeably. The clearest definition goes back to when remarketing first became a commonly used online marketing term in the late ’90s.

Remarketing (v) –The process of reengaging a visitor/customer based on a recent interaction with your brand, often in an automated fashion.

It’s a simple definition, and with elements of classic direct marketing, conversation marketing, behavioral marketing, and a dash of experiential optimization thrown in for good measure. The spirit of remarketing is simple as well. At its most basic, remarketing is about listening and reacting to what your customers/visitors are telling you through their actions.
• Remarketing delivers messages to past visitors of a website or lost prospects once they leave the site
• Remarketing looks to keep focus on a specific brand
• Remarketing works well with discounts, incentives, and specials
• The reassuring part to consumers: no personal information is gathered during remarketing

Still have questions?


Remarketing has clear differences from traditional marketing efforts. Traditional marketing is a process of identifying which visitors or customers may respond to a marketing effort. A traditional marketing campaign will start with a question of who? Who needs this product? Who needs this service? Who is at risk of being a brand churn victim?
In remarketing, whether the communication has been positive or negative, customers have already responded in one way or another, perhaps by arming you with the following facts:
• They have an interest in a particular product or category
• They demonstrated challenges with your website, like being unable to enter a valid address for shipment
• They are loyal to your brand
• They are no longer engaging through email sends

By selectively targeting users who have previously demonstrated an interest, the focus shifts from the target audience, who, to what. Thus, remarketing begins with the path to reengaging with who; by focusing on the created opportunity, or the what. These opportunities, identified as inherently temporal and event driven, make it important for remarketers to first listen and then act, otherwise the opportunity to turn prospects into customers is lost.

For remarketing to work, it’s important to remember that even though online customers are leaving, it is that information that is most important. Remarketing will find that information and act on it, giving prospects the opportunity to revisit a brand they already expressed an interest in and giving you the opportunity to gain a customer.