Remarketing vs. Retargeting: What’s the Right Strategy for Your Quiz?

Are you confused with remarketing vs. retargeting? Here’s everything you need to know about the differences and how to use both effectively with a quiz!

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Looking back at it now, 2010 was a weird time.

It was a year where everyone was either listening to Justin Bieber, playing Angry Birds, or attempting to precariously balance themselves on office furniture while lying down.


But in between all the various fads and trends of the day, 2010 was also the year that the words “remarketing” and “retargeting” officially entered the marketing lexicon. It was in 2010 that Google Adwords released its Remarketing feature, forever changing the marketing world.

Ever since, remarketing and retargeting have become an essential part of any modern digital marketing strategy.

But what are they exactly?

Chances are that you’ve heard these terms before—maybe even used interchangeably—but what is the difference between the two? And, more importantly, why should you care?

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the similarities and differences between these two concepts, what they mean for your business, and how you can combine remarketing and retargeting with quizzes to create a killer marketing strategy.

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A Brief History of Remarketing and Retargeting

The terms “remarketing” and “retargeting” have only really existed since 2010. Although, if you’re willing to take a little trip with me down history lane, you’ll find that the concept of remarketing has literally existed for centuries.

Back in ye olde days, marketers and advertisers all faced a similar problem: How do I re-engage a potential customer? While we’ve all made at least one or two impulse purchases in the past, most of us like to have a little bit of time to think about a potential purchase before putting money down for it.

Image via Mintel

This posed a problem for marketers because it meant that even if they could get their ad in front of a potential customer and get them interested in whatever product they were selling, there was still no guarantee that their audience would still be thinking about it, let alone even remember it, a few days later.

Dating all the way back to the 15th century, businesses tried to overcome this challenge by directly sending catalogs and newsletters of their wares to past customers or simply handing them out to interested passersby. These catalogs would serve as helpful reminders for potential customers and increase the likelihood that they’d come back and purchase the item at a later date. American founding father Benjamin Franklin took this a step further as the United State’s first Postmaster General by starting the world’s first mail-order business, giving people the ability to purchase books without ever having to visit his shop in-person.

Image via Publitas

Fast-forward to the 1960s when Lester Wunderman, also known as “the father of direct marketing,” pioneered embracing consumer data and personalization to increase the effectiveness of marketing. 

Instead of sending out product catalogs to as many people as possible and hoping for the best, Wunderman revolutionized the game by using customer research data to find out which demographics were most likely to purchase whatever product he was selling.

His team went on to pioneer tactics, like sending promotional letters to specific zip codes, strategically placing ads in relevant newspapers and magazines, and creating loyalty reward programs for returning customers. It didn’t take long for other businesses to begin seriously applying his strategies to great success.

According to a study by Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that can offer a personalized experience and relevant recommendations. Furthermore, a survey by Marketo discovered that 78% of customers were more likely to engage with a brand if its marketing was personalized to their previous interactions with the brand.

Image via LeadPilot

Before long, the 90s rolled around and the internet took personalized marketing to a whole new level. Pretty soon, companies were able to start tracking which customers had visited their online store but then left without making a purchase. It got them thinking about how to best re-engage these types of leads.

Cookies and tracking pixels gave brands the ability to understand at which point in the customer journey leads were dropping out and what types of ads and marketing messages could be used to bring them back.

Nowadays, technology has evolved to the point where remarketing is now a sophisticated science; whole marketing campaigns are built to re-engage lost leads in real-time. Brands are reaching out to these leads in all sorts of ways, from traditional newsletters to email to social media ads.

What’s the Difference Between Remarketing and Retargeting?

Depending on who you talk to, remarketing and retargeting can either be totally different concepts or the exact same thing.

Much of the confusion comes from the fact that there is no clear consensus on what the exact definitions of the terms are. It’s kind of like arguing about the difference between ketchup and catsup. At the end of the day, while there are subtle differences between the two, they’re both tactics designed to re-engage potential customers who have interacted with your brand before.

Image via Giphy

However, for the purposes of this article and in my personal experience as a marketer, I’ve always found it very helpful to define each term like this:

  • Remarketing is when a brand reaches out to an audience that has already visited a brand’s website and has actively opted-in to receive more notifications, usually through email.
  • Retargeting is when a brand reaches out to an audience that has previously visited the brand and attempts to re-engage them specifically through paid display ads.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a grammar lesson and there is no test at the end. Even the most experienced marketers still have trouble deciphering what the “correct” terminology is.

What does matter is that you understand the differences between using email vs PPC ads and the effect they can have on your overall marketing strategy.

How Do Brands Use Remarketing?

For most brands, the main purpose of remarketing is to support every stage of the customer lifecycle, from generating awareness to building brand loyalty.

According to VentureBeat, there are 43 different types of categories that digital marketing can fall into, from SEO to video marketing to mobile analytics. However, the one category that remains head-and-shoulders above all is email. To this day, email still generates the highest ROI for marketers, generating $38 for every $1 spent on email marketing.

Unlike other marketing channels, email has the unique advantage of being able to deliver personalized messages directly to your desired audience. Anytime someone subscribes to your email list, not only are they demonstrating an active interest in your brand but they’re also permitting you to send them more information.

Image via Moz

Here are a few examples of how different brands take advantage of email in their remarketing campaigns:


Why reinvent the wheel? Regular newsletters have long been an effective strategy for businesses to engage with their audience—and it’s no different today. According to a report by the Direct Marketing Association, email newsletters are the number one type of content that brands use to communicate and engage with their audience.

Image via The Direct Marketing Association

Through an email newsletter, brands can develop a much deeper relationship with their audience and ensure that they’re not quickly forgotten. By regularly sending high-value content, audiences are more likely to develop that all-important sense of know, like, and trust with that brand.

For example, you can see how MarketingProfs uses their email newsletters to promote their latest content and bring people back to their site.

By regularly receiving these types of newsletters, subscribers gain a much bigger appreciation of MarketingProf’s authority and expertise and are more likely to respond positively to any of MarketingProf’s future emails and offers.

screenshot of Marketing Prof's email newsletter

Triggered Email Sequences

Perhaps the greatest advantage of remarketing in the modern era is the ability to create automated email sequences that are triggered by specific actions. Think of every email you ever received on your birthday, after you made a purchase, or when you abandoned your cart halfway through shopping.

Image via BigCommerce

By tying these emails to specific actions and behaviors, marketers can ensure that their audiences are always receiving the right message at the right time. Doing so allows brands to drastically increase the engagement rate of their emails, which in turn leads to an increase in customer retention and sales.

In fact, a report by the Lenfest Institute discovered that there is a direct correlation between an email subscriber’s engagement and a business’s customer retention rate.

Image via Upland Software

Which is why you’ll often find many brands creating automated email sequences designed specifically to re-engage subscribers.

For whatever reason, subscribers can begin to lose interest in your emails and will stop reading them altogether. You can see how fashion retailer H&M re-engages lost subscribers by offering them a coupon code.

It’s an incredibly simple email, but this type of automation goes a long way in establishing a long-lasting relationship with your audience.

Image via ImpactBnd

Upsells and Cross-sells

Another major benefit of remarketing isn’t just that it helps you acquire new customers, but also retain your existing ones.

The holy grail for every business, large or small, is the repeat customer. Of course, new customers are important, but repeat customers are the bedrock of any sustainable and long-lasting business.

According to research by BrandKeys, businesses spend 11 times more in acquiring new customers in comparison to selling to pre-existing ones. Furthermore, statistics show that the more a customer does business with your brand, the higher the chances they are of purchasing from you again. After one purchase, a customer has a 27% chance of returning to your store, but that percentage shoots up to 54% after making a second and third purchase.

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Through remarketing, you can create entire email campaigns geared toward reaching past customers and boost your long-term profitability in the process.

The most obvious way to utilize this tactic is to leverage order confirmation emails as a way to cross-sell and introduce additional products that the customer might be interested in. Amazon is a master of this, often using their remarketing emails to offer product recommendations based on the subscriber’s purchasing history.

Image via Rejoiner

How do Brands Use Retargeting?

With the e-commerce industry continuing to grow and more and more people turning toward online shopping, retargeting has quickly become the go-to marketing strategy for small businesses and global conglomerates alike.

pixel and cookie report

On a very basic level, retargeting is just the natural evolution of remarketing. Only instead of relying on more direct marketing channels like email and physical mail, retargeting works by engaging users through paid display ads on third-party sites like Google or Facebook.

Through the use of digital pixels and cookies, organizations can simultaneously cut advertising costs and increase their conversion rate by only advertising to people that have interacted with their brand before. It also gives the additional benefit of allowing marketers to create even more personalized and engaging ads based on how a user has previously interacted with their website.

Image via SendinBlue

Below are a few examples of the different types of retargeting you can use:

Static Retargeting

The most basic and traditional form of retargeting is static retargeting.

A static retargeting strategy works by developing a series of generic ads that are designed to be displayed to all previous site visitors. Unlike more personalized forms of retargeting (which we’ll get into a little bit), static retargeting acts more like a gentle reminder for your audience rather than a direct call-out.

Remember that most people tend to visit multiple sites when doing research, and it can be very easy to forget your business and what it offers. Static retargeting gives potential customers a nudge back toward your brand over your competitors, with Adobe finding that retargeting can boost ad response by a whopping 400%!

Image via Visiture

Due to the generic nature of static retargeting, you’ll often find brands using a static retargeting strategy as a way to build  brand recognition among their audience. Which is why you’ll typically find many static retargeting ads offering lead magnets like discount codes and free content as a way to bring people back to their site.

Image via Wishpond

Dynamic Retargeting

For businesses that have a large product catalog and don’t want to spend hours creating hundreds of thousands of different ads, then you’ll definitely want to look into dynamic retargeting campaigns.

Dynamic retargeting is a more advanced form of retargeting as it uses machine learning to create personalized ads for customers in real-time. This works by having the retargeting cookie on your site track which product pages each person has been visiting and then automatically create ads for that customer featuring the very same items they were just looking at.

Image via KlientBoost

Due to the hyper-personalized nature of these ads, it’s no surprise that dynamic retargeting campaigns boast impressive statistics, like a 34% increase in clickthrough rate and a 775% increase in sales.

One of the most common ways dynamic retargeting is used is to deal with cart abandonment. When you consider the fact that up to 75% of consumers end up abandoning their cart halfway through, dynamic retargeting gives businesses the ability to automatically remind those customers of the items they’ve left in their cart. In fact, this tactic is so effective that it can boost the recapture rate for abandoned cart customers from 8% to 26%!

Image via ClickZ

Search Term Retargeting

Search term retargeting may not be as popular as its cousins, but it is still a very powerful form of retargeting in its own right. The main difference with search retargeting is that it doesn’t rely on whether or not someone has visited your site before, but the keywords they use when performing an online search.

What makes this search retargeting so powerful is that it allows brands to connect with shoppers based on their purchase intent, even if they’ve never heard of the brand before. According to Wordstream, retargeted search ads have the best conversion rates out of all the different types of retargeting, however, they also tend to be the most expensive.

Image via Schubert B2B

For example, if a furniture store is looking to sell their new couches, they might target keywords like “best couches” or “couch reviews” or any other set of keywords that demonstrate a high purchase intent.

Using their chosen ad network, the furniture store can then place a specialized cookie on a whole list of keywords and make sure that their ads are only being displayed to people who have used those search terms.

Image via Choozle

You can even take this a step further by bidding on the names of your competitors or brands that have a similar audience to yours. For example, if you sell designer purses you can purchase the keyword “Gucci purses” and potentially capture customers before they turn to a competitor.

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A Modern Marketing Technique: Quizzes and Remarketing

Now that you have a pretty good understanding of how remarketing and retargeting work, let’s get into the good stuff: how can you use these strategies to boost everything from the quality of your leads to your overall sales and revenue?

Well, I’ll be honest with you: there are a lot of things you can be doing.

Image via Giphy

But, since this is an article on a quiz making blog, I’m going to run through three killer strategies that combine the power of quizzes and remarketing to generate you even more impressive results.

What makes this particular combination so powerful is the added emphasis on personalization and customer segmentation.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, the primary benefit—or secret sauce, if you will—of remarketing and retargeting strategies is their ability to engage audiences with ads that are personalized to their unique personality and interests. Quizzes act as the perfect way to acquire new leads and gather vital customer information at the same time.

Pair that up with remarketing and retargeting tactics, and you have yourself a personalized marketing and advertising engine on steroids.

So, without further ado, let me show you the collective power of quizzes and remarketing.

Remarketing Emails and Quiz Results

When it comes to remarketing, and email marketing in general, one of the biggest mistakes any brand can make is treating their audience as if they’re one giant group.

According to a recent report by SmarterHQ, up to 70% of millennials feel frustrated when a brand sends them irrelevant marketing emails and vastly prefer receiving personalized messages over general email blasts.

It’s not enough to just get someone to join your email list, you have to keep them on there long enough to build a positive relationship with your brand. This is harder to do if each new subscriber feels as if they’re only being subjected to generic messages that come off as empty and impersonal.

Image via Giphy

As soon as someone joins your mailing list, they should be welcomed with an email sequence that has been personalized to their unique interests, motivations, and pain points.

By far the easiest way to achieve that is to build a lead generating quiz that allows you to acquire a ton of leads and, more importantly, also gives you the power to automatically segment your audience based on their quiz results.

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In creating a quiz that segments your audience for you, you’ll be able to make the most out of your remarketing strategy and ensure that each and every person that signs up to your email list is being welcomed with the right type of content.

A great example of this is Amber Lilyestrom’s Core Purposes quiz, which she uses to help attract and nurture new leads as well as promote her online course.

While the quiz itself was fantastic at acquiring new subscribers for her email list, generating over 4,000 new leads in a matter of weeks, she also understood that most people just won’t be interested in buying something right after a quiz. There just hasn’t been enough trust built up yet.

To overcome this, she also designed an automated followup email sequence that would help her nurture, qualify, and ultimately convert every new quiz lead that came her way. This incredibly simple strategy not only helped her acquire thousands of high-quality leads but it also exponentially increased sales for her online course and her other products.

The key to what made this strategy so powerful for Amber was the fact that she made sure to tailor her content to each individual quiz result from the very first email.

What makes this email so powerful is that it’s not simply a recap of the quiz results the lead has already seen, but that it actually engaged them on a more personal level.

Everything from the language Amber used to the tone she employed in her copywriting was personalized as much as possible. Instead of trying to guess at what kind of content her audience was looking for, the quiz allowed Amber to directly address her new leads and quickly demonstrate that she understands them as individuals and not just another face in the crowd.

Amber Lilyestrom email

Also, take note of how she gives additional value at the end of the email by including links to blog posts and podcast episodes that have been selected specifically for that customer persona.

It’s an incredibly smart way to remind the reader that the content they’re receiving has been personalized to them, as well as subtly reinforcing Amber’s authority and expertise. All of this goes a long way to building up that all-important sense of “know, like, and trust” among her new subscribers early on.

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Supercharge Your Product Recommendation Quiz with Retargeting

When it comes to incorporating quizzes into your marketing strategy, one of the best ways to quickly convert cold leads into interested customers is through a product recommendation quiz.

As you’ve already guessed from the name, a product recommendation quiz is a quiz that helps quiz-takers find the best product for them based on how they answer the questions. This strategy is especially useful if you have a business that sells multiple products or services.

According to a report by CMS Connected, a whopping 35% of Amazon’s $280 billion global revenue can be directly attributed to its recommendation engine.

Image via Giphy

At Interact, we’ve seen many of our own users—particularly e-commerce businesses—use this strategy to great effect.

As an online coffee subscription business, the team at BeanBox understands that not everyone drinks coffee the same way. If you’ve ever dived into the YouTube rabbit hole of artisanal coffee, you’ll know that people really take their coffee seriously, from the way it’s made (French press gang for life!) to the types of beans they use.

With that in mind, BeanBox created their “What’s Your Coffee Personality?” quiz to help new shoppers find the best coffee bean for them.

Beanbox quiz cover

In this short 7-question quiz, quiz-takers are asked about their coffee preferences with questions like “How do you take your coffee?” and “How intense or strong do you like your joe?”

Take note of how conversational and friendly the tone of the quiz is. Besides offering a product recommendation, the quiz also allows BeanBox to show off a bit of their brand’s personality and develop a stronger rapport with customers by speaking their language.

How do you take your coffee quiz question

When quiz-takers have answered all of the questions, BeanBox will send them a short list of the types of beans and flavors they’re likely to prefer.

Even better, the quiz also ends with a strong call-to-action, incentivizing quiz-takers to subscribe to BeanBox’s email list by offering them an exclusive $5 discount on their coffee starter kit. It’s a very simple but effective offer, with BeanBox’s result page driving a huge amount of sign-ups and conversions for them.

Bean Sophisticate quiz result

But what really sets BeanBox apart is how they also use retargeting and Facebook ads to capture the leads that didn’t end up converting immediately.

By setting up a Facebook retargeting pixel on their quiz’s results page and the product page for their starter box, BeanBox learns exactly which leads are aware of the $5 offer.

In doing this, instead of setting up a general Facebook ad that goes out to everyone, the team at BeanBox can simultaneously lower the cost of their ad spend and increase their ad’s conversion rate by only targeting people who are already aware of the offer. Not only do these ads act as a way to bring people back into BeanBox’s sales funnel, but it also serves as an active reminder for quiz-takers to take advantage of the offer they received.

Another great example of this strategy in action is Platinum Skin Care’s strategy to retarget around individual products.

After taking their skincare regimen quiz, quiz-takers land on a results page that helps pinpoint what their exact concerns are—such as anti-aging, wrinkles, or acne—and also offers an entire skincare regimen complete with the best products for them.

premature aging information

Afterward, quiz-takers are retargeted with dynamic product ads that specifically highlight the very same pain points and products mentioned in the quiz results.

What I like most about Platinum Skin Care’s strategy is that they make sure to include positive customer testimonials in their ads as a way to build up even more trust and authority around their brand and products.

ad with woman's testimonial
Another woman's testimonial in Facebook ad

Platinum Skin Care continues to take it up a notch by also incorporating an abandoned cart ad as part of their retargeting strategy. 

abandoned cart ad
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Acquiring Even More High-Quality Leads With Lookalike Audiences

Something that we’ve written about a lot on this blog is a quiz’s ability to help you generate high-quality leads for your business.

As a lead magnet, it doesn’t really get that much better than a quiz. Quiz lead magnets have, on average, a 40-50% conversion rate, which is huge compared to other types of lead magnets where a 20-25% conversion rate is already considered great.

The reason I bring this up is because it doesn’t matter how compelling your quiz is if you can’t get it in front of your target audience. It’s kind of like that old story about the tree falling in the woods and whether or not it makes a sound if no one is around to hear it.

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In my experience, this is the biggest mistake that people make after finishing their lead generating quizzes. People will spend hours crafting the perfect quiz, only to have it go nowhere because they’re promoting it to the wrong audience. Putting your quiz on your website’s homepage and sharing it on social media is a good start, but that alone isn’t enough these days. 

To really get your lead generating quiz working for you, we’ll be turning to a more advanced retargeting technique called Similar or Lookalike audience retargeting.

Image via Salesforce

Regular retargeting works by only displaying ads to people who have visited your site before, while PPC networks like Google Ads and Facebook Ads also allow you to target audiences who exhibit the same characteristics as your best customers.

Despite the fact that Google Ads calls this feature Similar Audiences and Facebook calls it Lookalike Audiences, they’re both essentially the same thing.

Basically, Google and Facebook’s algorithm will sort through all your customer data to help you discover certain patterns or trends, where it will then take that information and attempt to find similar patterns in their overall user base. This means that you’ll be given the ability to target cold leads who are the most likely to engage with your ads, despite never having heard of your brand before. 

According to Google’s own reporting, advertisers who use these features will typically see 48% more click-throughs and a 41% higher conversion rate compared to regular PPC ads.

This is why we always recommend running a paid advertising strategy for your lead generation quiz—and using lookalike audiences is a perfect way for you to make sure that your quiz is getting in front of the right people.

Of course, the next part of your quiz’s paid advertising strategy is to make sure that you’re creating an ad that people actually want to click.

To help give you some inspiration, check out some of my favorite ads that Interact users have created to promote their quizzes:

sleep consulting quiz ad
quiz ad for Kaye Putnam's quiz
Amber Lilyestrom quiz ad

We have another post that you can check out on how to create the perfect Facebook ad for your quiz, but for now, I’ll give you a quick rundown of what all these great examples have in common:

  • Eye-catching image: Never forget that humans are visual creatures, able to process visual information way faster than any other type of information. It’s no surprise that each example has a beautifully designed graphic that immediately catches the eye of anyone scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed. The graphic also lets people know what they will get from clicking the link.
  • Conversion-driven copy: As a writer, I’m a little biased toward this, but I love how the copywriting in each example focuses on the lead’s key pain points and concerns before going on to explain how quiz-takers will benefit from learning the result.
  • Great headline: It’s perfectly fine to use the title of the quiz as your headline, but you can always add a little extra engagement with the sub-headline.
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Now you have everything you need to build your own remarketing or retargeting strategy!

As you can see, remarketing is an incredibly powerful strategy that every type of brand can use to exponentially increase their leads, sales, and revenue. Even better, you can easily supercharge your remarketing or retargeting strategy by combining them with online quizzes.

Boost Your Marketing With a Quiz Now!