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retargeting (remarketing)

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is digital advertising that features specific products or services and targets an individual who has viewed them online. Customers and leads already in an advertiser's database may also be subjects for retargeting. Retargeting is the technology behind ads that follow people from one site to another.

Retargeting can work in a couple of different ways. When someone visits a product web page, a cookie consisting of a small piece of JavaScript is added to their browser. The cookie is called a pixel (not related to the computer display pixel); the approach is sometimes referred to as pixel-based retargeting. If that visitor leaves the site without making a purchase, the cookie sends a message to retargeting software to place ads for the product on other sites that the user visits within the associated advertising network.

List-based retargeting is aimed at existing contacts in a business’ database. The process involves uploading a list of their email addresses to a remarketing platform, typically for a social media campaign on Facebook or Twitter. The platform identifies users on the list and serves the ads only to them.

The principle behind remarketing is the Rule of Seven, an advertising concept holding that a consumer typically has to encounter a given marketing message seven times before making a purchase.

See also: targeted advertising

This was last updated in February 2017

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