Ever visited a website, even if by accident and then noticed that you seem to be finding them wherever you go? Often the chances are that you would be dismissing it. Like when you see something and you feel then that you are seeing it everywhere, but really you are just more open to noticing it and you do so. The chances are, you are being presented with the new display advertisements because of a site you previously visited – and they are following you around.
Seemingly a pretty quiet affair, the concept of adword remarketing has come up quite a bit lately. I can see many of the marketers wanting to do more and more of this and why wouldn’t they? Its a great concept if you want to flog some stuff. Google’s got an interesting definition of it on Google’s Ad Innovations page.
Remarketing lets you show ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the Web.
When you use remarketing, you’ll tag pages of your site that correspond to certain categories you want to promote. For example, you could add a “TV” tag on all of the pages where you sell televisions. You can then create an AdWords campaign to show highly relevant messages (such as ads displaying a special offer on TVs) to people who’ve visted these pages as they browse sites across the Google Display Network.
While the above might seem innocent, I mean its just another form of online display advertising, its the intrusive nature of this particular form that has caught so much attention. In simple terms, upon visiting a website, viewing content and leaving, you will continue to be shown advertisements from the brand you have visited as you go to other websites. By way of a practical example, you visit an insurance companies website to quickly check out some car insurance and grab a quick quote. While there, the site tags your browser with a cookie and as you move around the internet to other sites, perhaps even days later – you could be presented with more insurance advertising from that same insurer.
It seems simple enough, harmless – perhaps even helpful is the way some would suggest, but lets present another example. Say you walk into a car yard, you view the car you wanted to see and then leave. One of the sales staff decides to follow you and continues to do so for the next two days until you walk into another car yard. Realising you are still in the market for a car, the first car sales staff from the yard you previously visited presents themselves again with a copy of the deal you might have been looking at. Quite likely, most people would be horrorfied at the concept. But it is essentially the same thing.
Who is Remarketing?
Many companies are now doing this as a part of their online strategy. Particularly organisations that rely on high volume traffic for their business for example, hotelliers, resorts and travel organisations. They are relying on the fact that you quite likely will do a lot of online shopping before you purchase and they want to be there all the time in case you might be ready to make a purchase.
How does it work?
The activities involve the placement of third party cookies onto the users machine, which in itself has become something of a furore among the digital community and the browser developers lead by Mozilla, but closely followed by the developers of Safari and Internet Explorer. They clearly despise the practice and are moving to default their browsers to deny such cookies.
The cookies provide a message back to google adwords letting them know what site you are visiting. Google makes the connection and basically will then present advertising content to you that matches both your history and your current site pages.
Overall, I believe this to be quite a scary concept, and personally it is another reason that I will be disabling cookies, blocking advertisements and such. Of course there are the necessary advertising, and in some cases the advertising is quite good and really is appropriate. These are the ones that you really do want to support and we should. Perhaps eventually it will all come full circle and decent, non-intrusive online advertising will make its way back through. Lets hope so, but in the meantime – what do you think?