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Tips for Digital Marketers: Understanding Email Remarketing & Retargeting Ads

The two main forms of remarketing are email remarketing and retargeting ad campaigns. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between the two and discuss the benefits of each strategy.

Research shows that only about 2% of consumers will make a purchase on their first visit to your site¹. So how can you motivate site visitors to return and become paying customers? The answer is remarketing, which is a broad digital marketing strategy that involves re-engaging past site visitors to motivate them to convert. The two main forms of remarketing are email remarketing and retargeting ad campaigns. In this article, we’ll explain the differences between the two and discuss the benefits of each strategy.

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DEFINITION: Remarketing emails are commonly used to remind past site visitors to purchase items left in their cart or wish list or to renew their subscription to your products or services. 

PURPOSE: Customers in your email remarketing list have already taken action on your site that indicates they’re interested in your products. Sometimes a remarketing email message is just the nudge that a customer may need to return to their cart or wish list and finalize a purchase.

SCOPE & BENEFITS: Almost 95% of adults online use email and over 90% of consumers check their email daily². So once you’ve captured a user’s email address, it’s easy to reconnect with them to influence a purchasing decision. Consider a couple of staggering statistics:

  • About 60% of consumers make a purchase online as a result of a remarketing email³.
  • The return on investment for email remarketing is a whopping 4,300%!
  • The average ecommerce conversion rate is between 2% and 4% while the conversion rate for email remarketing can be as high as 41%.


DEFINITION: Retargeting is a form of remarketing that is specific to online advertising. Rather than reconnecting with past site visitors via emails, you create additional touch points through online ads. These ads are placed on third-party sites across the web, such as the Google Display Network, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and other advertising channels. When a visitor completes a certain action on your site, such as clicking on a product, a cookie is set in their browser. The cookie provides you with information specific to that user that allows you to retarget them with ads after they leave your site.  

PURPOSE: Regularly reminding past site visitors of your products and services via retargeting ads that appear on the sites they visit often increases your chances of re-engaging their interest in your brand and acquiring a successful conversion.

SCOPE & BENEFITS: Retargeting ad campaigns have higher engagement rates and heighten brand awareness more effectively than typical ad campaigns. Consider some compelling statistics:

  • Consumers who see retargeting ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website.
  • Compared with other ad placement strategies, retargeting generates the highest lift in business name searches by over 1,000%!
  • The click-through rate (CTR) of retargeted ads is 10 times higher than the CTR of a typical display ad.


Alt Media Studios manages the website and digital marketing efforts of a local trash removal company. This year from March through August, we embarked upon what turned out to be an incredibly successful retargeting ad campaign for their company!

We implemented two Display ad campaigns: one for past visitors of the Front Load dumpsters page in the past 90 days, and one for past visitors of the Roll Off dumpsters page. Each ad contained messaging specifically targeting that specific type of dumpster. What were the results? Our client acquired 68 conversions, including phone calls and form submissions! And with the average cost-per-click of only 10¢ per ad and an ad budget of just $2 per day, it’s clear that coupling a Display campaign with retargeting is a winning combination that offers inexpensive brand exposure.


Email remarketing and retargeting ads are two digital marketing strategies that are designed to motivate consumers who have interacted with your brand and website in the past to return and make a purchase or complete another type of conversion.

Characteristics of effective remarketing emails and retargeting ads often overlap and include the following:

  • Offering the consumer an extra incentive to go back and make a purchase, perhaps through a promo code to receive a percentage off their total
  • A sense of urgency, reminding customers that the items they’re interested in are available in limited quantities or that a discount you’re offering has an expiration date
  • An enticing and engaging headline
  • Copy that is compelling, engaging, enticing, and directly addresses potential objections to making a purchase
  • Upsell or cross-sell by providing the consumer with some further suggestions for similar or complementary products

However, the key difference is that email remarketing uses marketing emails to re-engage past site visitors while retargeting involves strategic ad campaigns. Email remarketing is limited to an email platform, while retargeting pushes ad content in front of consumers on search engines, social media sites, and even competitor sites. As a result, retargeting offers a much greater reach than email remarketing.


Our team of digital marketing experts includes Paid Advertising Specialists, PPC Analysts, and Social Media Analysts. We can leverage retargeting ad campaigns across multiple online platforms to help transform site visitors into repeat customers. Contact Alt Media Studios today to learn more about how partnering with us can take your business to new heights!




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