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Retargeting & Remarketing: A How-To Guide

Do you need help reaching your target audience in the digital marketing landscape? Remarketing and retargeting can be the game-changers you need to reconnect with users who have already shown interest in your products or services.

Meredith Cunningham Published: April 4, 2024
Retargeting & Remarketing: A How-To Guide image

Let’s explore the nuances of retargeting and remarketing and how to leverage them effectively.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing

While the terms are often interchangeable, there are differences between the two, if blurry. 

In both instances, the strategies involve showing display ads to consumers who have visited your website or interacted with your brand in some way, like signing up for a newsletter or filling out a form.

  • Retargeting involves showing ads to consumers who have yet to purchase to bring them back to the website to make a purchase or take another desired action, like filling out a form. 
  • Remarketing involves showing ads to consumers who have purchased to create repeat customers, increase brand loyalty, and take advantage of upselling opportunities.

Despite these differences, these strategies aim to re-engage users interested in a brand’s products or services. By targeting users who have already expressed interest in your brand, remarketing seeks to increase brand recall, drive repeat visits to the website, and, ultimately, boost conversions. It’s an effective way for advertisers to stay top-of-mind with potential customers and guide them further down the sales funnel.

How Does Remarketing & Retargeting Work?

Both tactics work by placing a tracking pixel or code on a website that collects data about user interactions, such as visited pages, products viewed, or actions taken. Advertisers can then use this data to create audience segments and deliver personalized ads to users who fit certain criteria, such as those who visited specific product pages or abandoned shopping carts.

For example, let’s say a customer has purchased a moisturizing lotion from your website. After a month, you can send that customer an email, text message, or app notification encouraging them to buy another bottle because their supply is getting low (remarketing). You can also retarget these users with digital ads while they’re online through avenues like site, search, social, and contextual retargeting. Learn more about different retargeting tactics here.

Industries that Can Benefit From Remarketing Campaigns
With any marketing and advertising campaign, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Each campaign must consider the brand’s unique voice, differentiators, brand goals, and measures of success. However, remarketing and retargeting can benefit many brands in many industries, including Automotive, Healthcare, Home Improvement, Tourism and Travel, and Law Firms.

Marketing Channels for a Remarketing Campaign

With the right combination of marketing channels, you can create a comprehensive remarketing strategy that effectively re-engages users across various touchpoints and drives them toward conversion. However, It’s essential to analyze the performance of each channel and optimize the campaign accordingly to maximize results, so don’t forget to measure the success of your campaigns with analytics tools. 

OTT/CTV Streaming TV

TV reigns supreme as an effective advertising medium, thanks to its big screens, beautiful audio, and captivating visuals, which make ads more memorable than on other platforms. With the rise in streaming platforms, advertisers can leverage streaming’s digital capabilities to retarget and remarket to consumers and customers alike. 

How? Online actions through a laptop, mobile device, gaming console, smart TV, or streaming service are all connected to the internet and use the household’s IP address. Tracking pixels collect data on the IP address online activities, user behaviors, interests, and brand interactions. Then, this data can segment audiences and show relevant, remarketed, or retargeted ads across online and streaming channels. 

Streaming is also an excellent channel for retargeting and remarketing, considering the habits of some of today’s viewers—they are never without their phones. You can leverage the second-screen phenomenon here and create ads with the goal of viewers seeing the advertisement on the larger TV screen and then visiting the website for more information on the smaller screen. 


You can use several retargeting and remarketing tactics to convert consumers into customers and create repeat business. 

  • Site Retargeting: Using pixels, you can track website visitors and quickly retarget them as they continue browsing the internet – including on social media sites. For example, if you visit Amazon and look through desk chairs, you leave a cookie to retarget you with Amazon desk chair advertisements on other sites. 
  • Contextual Retargeting: Target an audience that has interacted with content related to your offerings. For example, if your business sells cosmetic bags, you should target customers browsing a beauty products site. 
  • Search Retargeting: SEM/SEO retargeting is similar to site retargeting because it uses visitor behavior. However, with Search Retargeting, ads served to users are based on recent search queries, not recent site visits. For example, if someone were to search for “gold heels,” they would see ads for gold heels despite never visiting the advertised brand’s website.


Email retargeting typically involves sending follow-up emails with tailored content, such as product recommendations or special offers, to encourage conversions, which can be anything from making a purchase, filling out a form, or downloading a resource. By targeting users who have already shown interest in the brand, email retargeting helps increase engagement, drive conversions, and maximize the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns.

What are the Benefits of Remarketing?

Because the individuals viewing your remarketing advertisements have previously displayed interest in your website content and information, these ads help maintain your brand’s presence, encouraging them to revisit your site for further exploration and eventual conversion. Other benefits include: 

Reaching the Right Audience

With remarketing, a great deal of customer data is available to help you create highly targeted audience segments of people who have already shown interest in your brand. This makes them a highly relevant and receptive audience to your brand. They may need that extra push down the sales funnel to conversion, and remarketing allows you to hit them with reminders and incentives to buy. 

Ad Personalization

With this wealth of customer data, you can create highly personalized ads to nudge consumers to purchase, especially if they are repeat customers. Forrester Research found that 47% enjoy personalized experiences after they’ve bought a product/service. However, data privacy is a concern for this personalized experience, and a 2023 CI&T survey found that 87% of respondents want to be asked for permission to collect personal data first. Be sure to make it clear that visitors’ data is being collected when they are on your website to provide this personalized experience. 

Maximize ROI 

The cost of retargeting varies depending on the platforms, ad types, length of the campaign, and other factors unique to each brand and campaign. However, reaching the right audience with personalized experiences can lead to long-term customer loyalty and increased lifetime value. While the ROI might not be immediate, increased lifetime value pays off in the long run in terms of lower advertising spend and higher conversion rates, thus improving ROI.

What are the Challenges of Remarketing?

While powerful, remarketing comes with challenges that require careful planning and ongoing optimization to overcome. They include: 

Ad Fatigue

Overexposure to remarketing ads can lead to ad fatigue among users, causing annoyance or indifference. This can negatively impact brand perception and reduce the effectiveness of remarketing campaigns, especially if ads are displayed too frequently or at inconvenient times. Balancing ad frequency is crucial in remarketing campaigns to avoid overwhelming users with too many ads at the wrong time. After all, better-timed ads can lead to diminishing returns.

Limited Reach

Remarketing targets only users who have previously visited your website or interacted with your brand. This limits the potential audience size compared to other advertising methods, potentially reducing the scale of your campaigns. If you want to reach a vast audience to improve brand awareness, TV advertising is an effective way to achieve those goals. 

Privacy Concerns

Remarketing relies on tracking users’ online behavior, which can raise privacy concerns. Some users may feel uncomfortable with retargeting across websites based on their previous interactions. Make sure you’re using first-party data and marketing solutions like TEGNA’s AudienceOne to help ease privacy concerns and ensure you’re reaching parties that have opted into data collection. 

Marketing Attribution

Attribution can be challenging in remarketing campaigns, especially when users interact with multiple touchpoints before converting. Determining the exact impact of remarketing on conversions and ROI can be complex. However, a tool like TEGNA Attribution can help measure various touchpoints across broadcast TV, streaming, and digital channels. 

How to Design a Successful Remarketing Campaign

Designing a successful remarketing campaign involves strategic planning, clear goals, audience segmentation, compelling messaging, and continuous optimization. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you design and execute an effective remarketing campaign:

Create Customer Personas

Knowing your target audience is critical in any marketing campaign, especially if you want your creative to cater to the consumer’s interests. Building persona profiles will help segment your audience based on criteria such as interest to ensure they receive the most relevant messages possible. 

A good marketing persona profile should include general attributes and cover wants, needs, and pain points. An excellent marketing persona profile will consist of a person’s motivations to purchase and relevant challenges your brand can help them solve. However, each brand should determine what’s pertinent to its business. A plumbing marketing profile may include age, income, and interests, while a hospital marketing persona may focus more on a user’s location.

Define Important Metrics 

Defining essential metrics in a remarketing or retargeting campaign involves identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure the effectiveness of your efforts in reconnecting with and re-engaging your target audience. Here are some essential metrics to consider:

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of users who click on ads, and a high CTR indicates that the ads are compelling and relevant to the audience.
  • Conversion Rate counts users who complete a desired action and directly reflects the campaign’s effectiveness in driving conversions.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is the average cost of acquiring a new customer or lead. It helps evaluate spending efficiency and determine the campaign’s overall profitability.
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is the revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising and indicates the campaign’s profitability.
  • Engagement Metrics include time spent on site, page views, and user bounce rate to assess engagement and interest levels among the remarketed audience.
  • Frequency measures how often users see your remarketing ads. Balancing frequency to reinforce your message without excessive ad exposure is essential.
  • Audience Segmentation Performance analyzes performance to understand which segments respond best to your remarketing efforts, allowing you to refine your targeting and messaging strategies for better results.
  • View-Through Conversions track the number of users who saw your remarketing ads but still need to click on them directly converted later. 
  • Lifetime Value (LTV) estimates the total revenue generated by a customer over their entire relationship with your business to evaluate the campaign’s long-term impact and profitability.

By monitoring and analyzing these metrics throughout your remarketing campaign with a tool like TEGNA Attribution, you can gain valuable insights into its performance, identify areas for improvement, and optimize your strategies to achieve your marketing goals effectively.

Optimize Messaging 

Develop engaging ad creatives that grab attention, communicate your message clearly, and encourage action. Use eye-catching visuals, compelling copy, and strong calls-to-action (CTAs) to entice users to click on your ads. Be sure to analyze your campaign data to identify areas for improvement continuously. Test different ad creatives, messaging variations, audience segments, and bidding strategies to optimize performance and drive better results over time.

Remarketing with Team TEGNA

With our extensive targeting capabilities at TEGNA, you can reach an audience likely to interact with your brand. You can target and retarget audiences based on demographics and behaviors, a specific location, or an event. We can also help determine the effectiveness of your campaigns with TEGNA Attribution. Learn more about how TEGNA can help you reach the right audience at the right time with remarketing and retargeting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I use retargeting in my remarketing campaign?

Retargeting is a crucial component of remarketing campaigns. To utilize retargeting effectively, ensure your website has pixel tracking to identify and track users who have visited your site but have yet to convert. Then, create tailored ads to reconnect with these users across various channels, nudging them toward conversion.

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