Is Remarketing a Type of Retargeting?

Updated: February 20, 2023
Is Remarketing a Type of Retargeting?

First things first, let us make one thing clear–remarketing and retargeting ads is not the same digital marketing strategy. With the two terms being used more interchangeably each day, we thought it important to take a stance showing which side of the fence we’re on.

If you’re new to the marketing world or you’re starting to delve into paid digital advertising opportunities for the first time, you’ll like hear some teams refer to retargeting and remarketing in the same breadth; in this case, it’s important to know that while retargeting is a type of remarketing strategy, they are not the same thing.

Confused? Fear not. We’ll break down the umbrella term of ‘remarketing’ below and then highlight the difference between the two strategies. Further to that, we’ll run through a list of pros and cons of each so you can decide which campaign type will make the most sense for your brand and show you the best ROI.

Read on to learn more about the 101 behind remarketing options and how to decide if and when you bring retargeting into play.

Online Ads, Google Ads, Remarketing vs Targeting Campaigns, and More!

If you’re thoroughly confused about the differences between remarketing and retargeting–fear not and let us lead the way. First and foremost, a few definitions for clarity:

Digital Marketing:

An umbrella term for all forms of digital marketing strategies, platforms, tools, and actions taken online to advertise your brand, business, products, or services. Regardless of your call-to-action or how you want to engage your target audience, digital marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it explicitly uses online tools to get the job done.


Another umbrella term–this time, remarketing means engaging potential customers, leads, or viewers who have come across your website, brand, or offer before. While some definitions may only consider remarketing as a form of email marketing meant to re-engage potential buyers when they abandon their purchase carts or interact with specific products on your website without following through to a sale, the Edge Marketing team considers remarketing to include all forms of marketing tactics and tools meant to bring existing leads (however luke-warm they may be) back in your fold.


Here’s where it differs–retargeting is a ‘type’ of remarketing. Given that we just confirmed remarketing is an umbrella term for all marketing actions and strategies that can be taken to bring potential leads back into your branded world, retargeting is just one type of many remarketing strategies that can be taken to re-engage the same. For these blog purposes, we’ll consider retargeting to be a paid form of digital marketing to finding and reconnecting with leads online.

Where do Google Ads come into play? This ones’ easy–Google Ads has excellent retargeting (and other remarketing) capabilities. Further still, when using Google Analytics, you can gain heaps of meaningful data about your online visitors, buyers, and (hopefully) re-engaged leads. If you haven’t yet set up Google Analytics, make sure you do so and link it to your website, landing pages, or eCommerce store before kicking off a remarketing or retargeting campaign.

For even more clarity, check out the pros and cons of both remarketing and retargeting digital marketing strategies below.

Remarketing Campaign Pros

Now that you’ve got the basics down and can tell the difference between both remarketing and retargeting, we’ve summarised a top-level pros and cons lists of both. Among our favourite aspects of relying on broadly-speaking remarketing strategies there is:

Reconnect with lost leads

No matter how or where you lost them–different remarketing strategies can let you reconnect with lost leads on the platform of your (and their) choosing. From re-engaging with past customers via email campaigns to offering promo codes to past social media buyers, you don’t have to spend money on paid remarketing campaigns when you have the data needed to do it in-house.

Present relevant offers to your leads

Likewise–remarketing strategies that are based on real-data (like past purchase behaviour) is a great way to find and convert lost traffic. If you’ve set up Google Analytics or have access to purchase data, we highly recommend refining your remarketing offers based on CTAs that have converted to sales in the past.

You can remarket for free.

Not including time spent, some remarketing strategies can be DIY-d in-house if you have the time and willingness to commit. From freemium email remarketing campaign platforms to sending direct, targeted email messages to past clients, there are effective remarketing strategies that can be undertaken for zero dollars–fantastic when you’re working with a limited budget.

Retargeting Campaigns Benefits

If you’re working with a tangible marketing budget, you might want to consider paid retargeting strategies. Why? Because you have more opportunities to get in front of leads when you have a budget–better still if you’re trying to reconnect with warm leads who haven’t yet purchased from your brand (thereby you don’t have past purchase data) or when you want to automate your campaign.

Warm Leads–Not Yet Buyers:

Wondering where your many website visitors out in the Google ether floated off to? Not to worry–paid remarketing campaigns, like retargeting, can help track down and convert lost website traffic into engaged viewers or pop them back into the lead and sales funnel. If a warm lead hasn’t yet converted to a directly engaged lead or customer, you may not have the data needed to remarket with other strategies (like past purchase history) but Google Analytics and Ads can help your campaign find them online and re-engage them with your brand.

Automation, Automation, Automation:

Short for time? Us too. One of the best things about paid marketing campaigns is that you can design a campaign, plug in the data, optimise it, and let Google do it for you. While we appreciate the privilege of having a great marketing spend, needless to say automation is the right choice for larger businesses and brands who have a wide reach online and don’t have the time (or have too much data) to directly connect with every new lead one-on-one. If you like to set, forget, and review your campaign data and metrics later, paying for a large retargeting ad platform, like Google Analytics and Ads, will be for you.

Test and Track Campaign Effectiveness for a Better ROI

Want to get better in time? Don’t we all. Every good marketer knows that every campaign is a collection of new data or trial-by-refined-error to gain more real-time feedback and insight about your target audiences–and retargeting is no different. If you have the money to spend, paid campaigns are an excellent, fast way to test keywords, messaging, and offers to lost leads to see which are the most effective. (Which is a great way to better define and action your future marketing campaigns.)

A Word of Caution: How to Decide Which Strategy to Use

Based on the above, you may already know what strategies and tactics will best suit your business or brand. (For example, if you’re working with a free-ninety nine budget and have zero ad spend, you may want to consider in-house remarketing efforts you can action on your own.)

If you’re deciding between the two, it’s important to consider:

There are multiple remarketing strategies.

Retargeting is simply one of the many remarketing strategies–for both paid and organic campaigns. If you have the ad spend to pay for paid campaigns but aren’t sure if a Google Ads retargeting campaign is in your laneway, check out other premium tactics. (Better yet–speak directly with the Edge Marketing team.)

If you have access to the data that drives either remarketing or retargeting campaigns.

For our new small business owners or digital marketers, it’s important to consider the data you’ll want to have access to before diving into any paid campaigns. Not to say that you can’t opt for paid retargeting campaigns or otherwise–but you’ll see the best ROI on your dollars spent if you have all of the information needed before you launch a new campaign. Not sure where to begin? Keep an eye on the Edge Marketing blogs to learn what type of lead and customer data you’ll want to review when strategising a paid remarketing campaign.

We appreciate that remarketing and retargeting campaigns might seem like expert-domain in the world of digital marketing. If you think that retargeting ads could benefit your brand (they can benefit everyone!) but aren’t sure where to begin, connect with the Edge Marketing team about designing a paid campaign. For our beginners, we recommend checking out Google’s remarketing tools (you’ll find out more about these on our blog) to see which more affordable strategies you can consider completing on your own.

Drive More Website Visitors with the Edge Marketing Team

Getting started optimising your website and digital marketing campaigns to bring in new traffic and re-engage existing customers today. As one of Australia’s leading digital marketing agencies, we take pride in helping our clients and readers level up by designing, executing, and measuring effective campaigns.

If you’re not ready to outsource your marketing work to a team just yet, feel free to follow the Edge Marketing blog. Each week we deep dive into up-and-coming digital marketing trends, SEO best practices, and how to drive paid advertisements and organic search engine campaigns. Dedicated to helping every business at every stage create a killer online advertising strategy, exploring our articles can help you attract customers and increase brand awareness today.

With services catering to both larger-scale businesses who need extra marketing help to small businesses just getting started, our digital agency has something for everyone. Contact our team or follow along with our blogs to begin levelling up online.


Mira -

Head of Paid Media

1300 558 659 -

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