Retargeting vs. Reactivation vs. Remarketing

Sometimes marketing can seem more complicated simply because of the vocabulary. Like every other industry, people tend to get caught up in the buzzwords.

But it’s always confusing when you enter a conference with professionals in your own field and can’t understand exactly what they’re talking about. Aren’t you all supposed to be in the same business?

It’s easier if professionals are all on the same page about their terminology and techniques.

Today, we wanted to clear up one of the most confusing set of phrases we’ve come across so far: retargeting vs. reactivation vs. remarketing

These can all be useful marketing techniques, but it seems like every company is using these terms differently! So here’s a guideline for understanding what each of these should mean.

Retargeting – When someone has visited a brand’s website, or their information is otherwise captured through lead generation methods (such as signing up for a class or downloading a brochure), and they don’t take any further actions (such as completing a purchase or becoming a member), you will likely approach them with “retargeting” efforts. 

This means that you successfully targeted them once (they must have heard about your brand in order to show interest in the first place), but then there was a missed connection along the way. So you need to target them a second time, more deliberately and effectively, based on the actions they’ve already taken. Now you know a little about them. 

Perhaps they visited your bird sanctuary, and landed on your page about spotted owls; next, you want to show them ads that specifically mention how they can support the spotted owls by donating to your sanctuary. That’s a solid retargeting approach.

Reactivation – Reactivating basically means reaching out to people who have already been customers or clients, but maybe you haven’t heard from them in a while. You want to speak to them like people who already know about your brand and probably already like you. This phrase is often used when it comes to weeding out the cold prospects from the warm. Some people have gone silent because they are not likely to become lifetime customers, and you will waste a lot of time trying to re-engage them indefinitely. A successful reactivation campaign might show you who is going to come back, which means you should keep nurturing those people, versus who is gone for good, and should be put on a “cold” list.

Remarketing – Remarketing is a lot like reactivating; in fact, some companies use this phrase interchangeably. Once again, you’re reaching out to audiences who have already engaged successfully with your brand. You can segment your campaigns to them based on their actions, so it’s a little more specific than when you’re just broadly “marketing” to everyone at once, or when you’re “retargeting” to leads who have never actually engaged with your company before. As opposed to “reactivation,” this phrase might be used when you’re not in the midst of cleaning up your lists or trying to figure out which segments of your audience are worth investing further time and cost on.

Here’s the bottom line: Agencies might use strange vocabulary internally, but what matters most is that they can clearly explain their approach to the client. You can tell that someone knows what they’re actually talking about when you know what they’re talking about. 

If a so-called “marketing expert” is using too many fancy buzzwords, they’re probably more flash than substance. 

At Mad 4 Marketing, we always ensure that you understand your strategy from the start. Ready to find out? Let’s talk.

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