Have you noticed lately that websites seem to be following you around on the web? Have you been to a website and looked at a few pages then left and gone to a news website only to see that prior sites advertisements show up?
This is called Remarketing advertising and if you haven’t seen it you will soon. While it is not a new form of advertising it has been gaining momentum lately as Google has been pushing it strongly to advertisers on its Adwords platform.
From a business perspective Remarketing is virtually the holy grail of sales and marketing. When a user comes to your website a ‘cookie’ gets placed on their computers web browser with information about what pages they looked at and even if they put items into the shopping cart. If the user leaves the site without buying anything you can use that ‘cookie’s’ information to show them advertising about your website and even the specific product or service they were looking at when they go to other websites like the Washington Post, Forbes, and millions of others. You can even offer them a discount if they come back and buy the product. Thats a pretty sweet cookie.
From the consumers perspective this can be a helpful thing but a lot of the time it crosses the line and becomes annoying and even worse creepy. While the ‘cookie’ is not tracking any personal or identifiable information about you the pervasiveness and tone of the advertisements generated can make users feel like you are watching them. It is important that you understand this and make adjustments accordingly or you may lose more business than you gain.
While Adwords Remarketing Campaigns are very easy to setup and start running you should take a little more time to fully plan out how you want to be interacting with your users. For instance I have a vendor who’s remarketing ads follow me all over the internet after I log into my account. I am already a customer of theirs yet I get bombarded with their ads all day long. This is an easy fix but it requires a few more steps in the setup of their campaign. By setting up actions an advertiser can turn off the Remarketing ads for a user when that user performs certain actions on the website. For instance if a user logs into their account you should probably assume that they are already a customer and you can stop advertising to them, or be very specific about a product that they may not be using.
There may be businesses where Remarketing is just overall not a great idea. If you have a business where your clients need to trust that you will honor their privacy, such as a criminal defense lawyer, then Remarketing may do more harm than good. Not only are you creeping them out by following them around the web, but you may be putting them in danger of outing that they need a criminal defense lawyer when someone notices that they get a lot of ads for one.
To conclude Remarketing has a lot of potential and is making businesses more money, but you have to use it intelligently or you may hurt your business.