Are Brands Stalking You? 3 Popular (and Effective) Remarketing Techniques

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Ever look at a product online, decide not to buy it and then feel like it is haunting you all around the internet? You may not be losing your mind. You may be the focus of a smart remarketing campaign.

Remarketing/retargeting is a service offered by a variety of online display ad networks that lets you market to people who have visited your site in the past. The idea being, that you can attract lost prospects and lure them back to convert on your site (purchase something, download something, contact you, fill out their profile etc.). Many of the top ecommerce sites use it – some eerily well.

Here are three popular (and effective) remarketing techniques you may have seen:

  1. Basic remarketing with branding – This is the most simple remarketing strategy. Once a visitor leaves your site without completing the desired action you want from them, you can have ads appear on other sites as they travel around the internet. This will hopefully keep your company fresh in their mind so that they come back and complete their purchase or desired action.
  2. Personalized retargeting – This takes the basic example from above but includes images of the products you were looking at or searching for. As you travel around the web, you may see the shoes you looked for on Zappos, the t-shirt you put in your cart at CafePress or the jewelry you were eying on Overstock.
  3. Remarketing with increased coupon offers – Abandon your purchase on a big ticket item? You may notice a coupon for 10% off your purchase someplace else in the next week. Still don’t go back and buy it? That coupon offer may jump to 20% or have an additional offer. Remarketing can incentivize people to go back and finish their order.

A little freaked out?

Sure these are great options for businesses, but as a consumer, you may be a little freaked out. Opting out of ads like these can be tricky. This article shows you three ways you can opt out of retargeting cross-hairs by:

  1. Regularly clearing your cookies
  2. Trying to block behavior targeting
  3. Blocking ads altogether

Facebook-about-this-adFacebook is also a user of ad remarketing. To learn more about why you are seeing an ad on Facebook you can hit the X by the ad and click on About This Ad. If retargeting is used, you will have an option to edit your advertising preferences. Facebook also recently stated that they will be using AdChoices for the businesses that opt to add it to their ads.

Think about your concerns as a consumer and make sure you are being considerate to your customers too. ClickZ recommends always offering an opt out option, managing how frequently you use retargeting and giving converted customers a break.

Retargeting makes a lot of sense for businesses – when done right. If you are going to pay to have ads show up online, why not show them to people who have already expressed an interest in your brand and products?

The privacy debate will continue on. For now, keep yourself informed about how much of your information is being kept track of online. If you want to get even more freaked out about online privacy, check out this What They Know series that Wall Street Journal has put together.

Flickr photo credit: mybulldog