How To Choose Between Retargeting and PPC Advertising

As part of my 2019 digital marketing strategy, I’ve decided to incorporate advertising into this year’s budget. But there’s many options to choose from and I want the best one for my business while being the most cost effective with the highest success rate. With increased site traffic in mind, I started the research on the best advertising campaigns that would align with that goal. Narrowing down the options, I landed on two; PPC & Retargeting.

Now to choose.


Also known as, remarketing, is a marketing channel that helps you convert website visitors into customers after they’ve left your site. It simply takes anyone who has visited your site and attaches a cookie (or code) to them. This then allows you to ‘follow’ them around the web as they visit other sites. And based on related keywords to your business, Google will know when and where to place the advertisements (that you’ve previously designed) on the other sites they are visiting. Remarketing serves more as a reminder to your current audience, instead of driving, or introducing, new contacts to your site.

Ultimately, this is to help keep your brand in front of your visitors even well after they’ve moved on.

(Source: Retargeter)

Retargeting works best in conjunction with inbound marketing or lead generation (e.g. content marketing such as blog posts, videos, whitepapers, infographics, etc.). Alone, they are great for driving traffic, but don’t help to convert the lead. On the reverse, retargeting can increase conversions, but it can’t drive people to your site. Your best best is using content marketing to drive people to your site, then hit them with retargeting to bring them back and make a purchase.

Make sense?

So, what’s the cost? Generally speaking, you’ll be charged based on CPC, or Cost-Per-Click. You’ll only be charged once someone clicks on your ad. The price of the click is determined based on a bidding process where you choose other relevant sites to your business. Once your audience goes to that site, Google enters you into a bidding process with other advertisers for the placement and get charged only if your ad is selected and clicked on.

You can optimize your ad placement by determining which sites will generate the most qualified leads. You might have an initial higher spend but you’ll get a more engaged audience on the return and those actually interested in buying your product.

The benefit? Retargeting builds visibility for your brand, allowing you to reach an audience that has already expressed interest in your products.



PPC, or pay-per-click, is when you pay the publisher (of the ad) when the ad is clicked. It requires bidding on certain keyword phrases relevant to your target market.  Pay-per-click marketing is a way of using search engine advertising to generate clicks to your website, and drive new traffic to your site based on keywords.

(Source: Wordstream)

In layman’s terms, you’re advertising to consumers who are searching specifically for your product with branded and non-branded keywords such as, ‘whitening toothpaste’ vs. Crest 3D White. Google then place your ads where your target market is searching.

The cost to you?  End line, every time your ad is clicked, sending a visitor to your website, you pay the search engine a small fee. (“pay per click.”) But the actual cost is determined by a bidding process: Users bid on keywords. Every time a search is initiated, Google digs into the pool of bidding advertisers and chooses a set of winners to appear in the ad space on its search results page. The “winners” are chosen based on a combination of factors, including the quality and relevance of their keywords and ad text, as well as the size of their keyword bids.

When your PPC campaign is well-designed and running smoothly, that fee will be trivial, because the visit is worth more to your business than what you pay for it.

The bottom line? You’ll increase new traffic to your site which will in turn allow you to grow your customer base and use this for future marketing strategies. PPC will result in a greater number of leads, but a lower number of conversions. But that doesn’t mean they can’t convert further down the line!


In Conclusion

First, determine what your goal is then you’ll know which method is better for your business. Do you want to drive more traffic to your site at a lower quality or bring back your current audience and convert them to a purchase?

Coming back to our original scenario, PPC would work best. But it might be worth re-considering if you look at your overall long-term digital strategy. I’d recommend weighing the pros vs. cons and contemplate the follow up / set up work necessary for each situation to ultimately decide which works best for your business.

As always, make sure you are monitoring the results of the process and testing everything with room for adjustments along the way.