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Dispelling some myths about remarketing

First things first, let’s try our best to put the debate to bed. Is it remarketing or retargeting? Technically, we believe retargeting is the practice of reaching users based on cookies you have collected, whereas remarketing uses user data that they have more openly shared with you, such as their email or address. However, they ultimately mean the same thing and we will forgive you for using the two terms interchangeably to mean the same thing (just like we do many times throughout our recent podcast episode on the topic)

Now I have that part out of the way; I want to dispel a few myths.

Myth 1: Retargeting is only used for basket abandonment

The reason this misconception exists is that retargeting IS primarily made up of basket abandonment audience segments because that’s a vast and influential group of people that marketers understandably want to engage. The misconception then is that basket abandonment is the only use of retargeting, whereas, in reality, this is just a part of the opportunity! You can use retargeting effectively in other areas of e-commerce, and outside of it as well. If you’re a B2B enterprise wanting to improve lead to conversion revenue, you may not have considered retargeting as a result of this myth. Now, as a result of this short paragraph, hopefully, you will reconsider!

Myth 2: Retargeting = display banners

Similarly, this misconception exists because display is a large part of the retargeting world, and that’s fine. However, it doesn’t end there. Look at the rest of the online advertising space and retargeting is at home everywhere. Look outside of online advertising, and you can see remarketing being used successfully within email channels, direct mail, and even SMS. When you think about it, email marketing is only remarketing activity (unless you’re buying email addresses, which is not cool). So, it is wrong to think display banners are the only way of employing this type of re-engaging strategy, so stop thinking that and start appreciating email marketing as a beautiful channel to nurture, grow and build loyalty with your customers.

Think of it like this – as long as you have collected some customer data to identify that user again, you can employ these tactics. It is faster and easier to collect cookies to retarget people with a display banner, but that doesn’t mean it has to end there. Work a bit harder and collect an email address or even a physical address, and you suddenly have the tools to start remarketing straight to a prospects inbox or doormat!

At PK we can trigger direct mail sends that are linked directly to a users behaviour on your site. As long as you have our pixel on your site, and the logged-in user has previously shared their address with you, you can start sending bespoke and programmatic direct mail. And what’s even better than that? Combining it with email sends a well. A recent case study of ours showed the combination converted lapsed customers 80% more effectively than either channel by itself – it’s a beautiful thing.

The good thing about knowing this is a myth is that you can now start folding in channels that have a way better reputation when compared with remarketing banners. 90% of the time I tell someone I work in online ads, they’ll ask if I’m responsible for those annoying banners that follow them around the internet after they look at a product once – people hate these ads when they are used with no regard to a person’s digital space! It is perfectly simple to avoid your brand being that annoying, but that is a conversation for another day. The point I want to make now is that this kind of hate doesn’t exist to anywhere near the same level with email, direct mail or even SMS, and I believe that’s why we see much stronger engagements with these channels. Give it a go, and I expect you’ll see the same!

Myth 3: Retargeting is at the conversion end of the funnel

I believe the biggest misconception is that remarketing belongs at the bottom of the funnel. Naturally, retargeting as a strategy is quite at home at the conversion end of the funnel, especially when you think about how useful basket abandonment emails are. So, the myth isn’t that it shouldn’t sit at that end of the funnel at all, it’s that it should only sit at that end of the funnel. If you think of someone coming to your website for the very first time, they can only reach you via prospecting activity. But after that, assuming you can collect a visit cookie, everything can become retargeting and that users experience of your brand can in some way be guided by retargeting activity. If you’ve been able to collect an email address, even better – you can deliver a nicely tailored welcome email introducing them to your brand.

So there you have it!

Three myths about retargeting, debunked! Some more prevalent than others, but all none the less important to consider. I hope that the points have caused some curiosity, and if you would like to discuss that further, don’t hesitate to give us a call!


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