Terminus Account-Based Marketing vs. Retargeting: What’s the Difference?

Retargeting is a cookie based targeting strategy that Terminus now offers as a part of its account-based marketing platform.

By placing a pixel on your website, you can collect the cookie from that visiting device and then serve that device ad impressions. This is an extremely valuable form of account-based advertising! As opposed to display advertising, which you are creating a list of accounts and targeting them with ads, these are contacts and website that are actively interacting with and interested in your brand. Retargeting with the Terminus platform is a great tactic to capitalize on this opportunity and maintain their attention.

Learn more by checking out our newest ebook covering account-based advertising.

How Does Account-Based Ad Targeting Work?

There are two main types of account-based advertising – cookie-based and IP-based. Understand the differences so you can decide what’s best for your advertising goals.

Cookie-Based Targeting

Cookies are small text files that record information about your device and web behavior to allow websites to tailor content to you. Cookies enable B2B advertisers to target devices whose users work at a specific company, have a particular title, or show other attributes of interest. They vary in exactly what data they encode – and different ad technologies provide different levels of accuracy and protection against fraud (devices pretending to be the device you’re trying to target).


  • Target buyers on and off their work wifi (75% of open web browsing happens off the work IP address)
  • Target by department and title
  • Prevents serving to companies with many people on their work wifi (e.g. hospitals)


  • Cannot be used in the EU (to comply with GDPR)
  • Cookie data is limited outside of the US

IP-Based Targeting

IP-based targeting uses the IP address of a company to serve ads to any devices browsing the web on that company’s wifi. It’s great for serving ads when people are in the office or on a specific network, but you won’t be able to serve ads outside of these occasions (which typically covers approximately 25% of open web browsing time).


  • Broader coverage of every device on a specific IP address
  • GDPR compliant


  • Can only serve impressions to people while they are in the office
  • Does not allow function or title-level targeting
  • Can be inaccurate, especially beyond Fortune 1000-scale companies

What About IP Cookies Overlays?

This is a unique type of targeting that combines IP and Cookie targeting. You first target the company IP, and then serve impressions to only a subset of cookied devices on that IP address.

Some providers offer this option if they cannot support cookie targeting, but this is not cookie targeting. This hodgepodge of IP and cookie target actually doesn’t solve the problem with IP targeting. You still can’t serve impressions outside of the office. Furthermore, if you want to serve impressions to target personas, your reach will be extremely limited because your can only target cookied devices within the company IP.

This strategy is typically only effective when targeting very large companies who do not have remote employees. The vast majority of the time, your goals will be better achieved with alternative strategies.

Proactive Targeting

Proactive targeting is whenever you serve impressions to a target accounts list. This could be to “warm up” accounts, provide air cover for sales, bring them back to your website, promote an event, or any other reason for a standard marketing campaign.

This requires a list of accounts or contacts that you want to proactively engage. By matching this list to companies IPs and cookies, you will be able to serve IP or cookie impressions. In this scenario, your technology partner will be critical. You need a partner who can match your target accounts. To compare vendors, ask them to compete in a match rate test! Terminus is ready to compete whenever they are.

All Cookies Aren’t Created Equal

Most account-based advertising solutions were originally built on IP-based targeting systems. This is because IP-based targeting is easier, and because it tends to drive a higher ad spend. Title and function targeting have become table-stakes for account-based display advertising because of the improved efficiency and ability to deliver personalized messages into specific functions. With this trend, many ABM platforms have introduced some cookie-based functionality into their ad stacks.

But not all cookie-based targeting is created equal.

Different cookies have different types of data. Some platforms only use your own first-party retargeting cookies — which doesn’t give you access to people before they’ve been on your website (remember, the whole point of display advertising in B2B is to get in front of the right specific people as early in their consideration curve as possible).

Terminus has invested deeply in the most advanced technology for selecting the right cookies to advertise against, preventing impression fraud, and providing automated and human-aided optimization systems specialized to achieve the types of engagement and revenue results B2B marketers need, instead of repurposing a B2C system.

This is all built on our proprietary B2B Account Graph – which is what lets us onboard cookies from a variety of data providers, clean them for accuracy, and match them to the companies in your own target account lists to give you the best balance of reach and accuracy.

Marketers Need to Operate With Efficiency

Now that we understand the different types of display advertising, we next need to explore when to use each technology.

Maximizing your results with your limited resources is the age old marketing struggle. This is particularly important for digital advertising. When the number of impressions gets into the thousands, having an inefficient targeting strategy can mean thousands of opportunities to engage your audience are missed or could have been spent better. This makes it hypercritical that your display platform maximizes your coverage of only the right people — so you can make your comparatively modest budget go as far as possible.

As we have seen, different display advertising technologies specialize in different areas. Let’s take a deeper look at when to use them.

Which Targeting Technology Is Best for Your Campaign

A good question to ask is: “Where are my targets spending time on the internet?”. In other words, are they on their company’s IP or are they outside of the office? This is important because cookie targeting can reach people out of the office or in the office, while IP targeting will only serve impressions to devices when they’re on the office wifi. So where do people typically spend time on the internet?

We did the math for you. We collected the latest research on people’s internet usage and work habits. A few interesting figures we found were that the average American spends 6.5 hours on the internet per day, on average professionals work from home one day per week, and that business executives spend less than 50% of their time actually in the office.

We then used this data to calculate how much time people spend on the internet at work and at home and the results were fascinating.

The data showed that 75% of the time we spend on the internet takes place out of the office. This number rose to 81% for executives!

Targeting with Efficiency

Efficiency requires you to allocate your resources where they will have the largest impact. In the realm of impressions, this means serving ad impressions to the right people at the right time.

To maximize our impression efficiency, we should match our advertising technology with where our targets spend their time — the office vs home.

Based on the data, an advertising strategy that serves 75% of your impressions to devices off company domains and 25% on company domain would be ideal.

If you are only serving ads with IP technology, you only have access to 25% of your potential impressions because you can’t reach them outside of the office. If you are only serving ads with cookies, you might not be able to achieve the reach or company specificity you might be able to with IP.

Without utilizing both cookie and IP targeting you will be drastically over indexing your spend in one area. To maximize your impression efficiency, you need both technologies.

Terminus Offers Display Advertising, Retargeting, and Email Banner Advertising

To achieve immersive coverage of your target accounts with advertising, you need multiple channels. IP targeting specializes in company level targeting, cookie targeting specializes in department and out of office targeting, and email expands your reach to the most popular communication channel in B2B.

Your ability to engage accounts online is restricted by where and when they spend their time. Every week the average American spends 34 hours online that are available for targeting via cookie targeting, 13 hours in their email, and 11 hours online that are available for targeting via IP targeting. This is all time that you can be building your brand!

By utilizing best in class technology and efficient targeting strategies you can use this time to your advantage. On the flip side, missing this opportunity is time spent they are engaging with someone else (maybe even your competitors).

Terminus is recognized as the premier account based advertising tool on the market. Our cookie, IP, retargeting, global, and LinkedIn targeting has allowed us to reach target accounts more effectively than any other ABM platform. With Terminus acquiring Sigstr, we expand upon that legacy.

By adding email ads to our capabilities, you can now truly immerse your target accounts in your brand. Serve powerful impressions at home, in the office, in your email, and drive business with Terminus.