July 10, 2015

Targeting Mismatch

Personalized Re-targeting is a type of advertising designed to turn would-be customers into actual customers, by showing the would-be customers products they previously expressed interest in. You may have noticed that some products and merchants seem to follow you around the internet. You may have viewed a product on one website and then noticed an advertisement for the same product on another. Advertisers are hoping to lure you back to their site to complete the transaction by reminding you of products you previously looked at. After all, you must be at least a little interested in the product to have viewed it the first time. Or so their logic goes.

Personalized Re-targeting has been around for years. I’ve encountered this behavior before back in 2011. Only then re-targeting made sense. The past few weeks the re-targeting I’ve witnessed has just been a waste of advertiser dollars.

Domingo and I are in the middle of furnishing our new home. High on that list was a new dinning room table. I spent a few days browsing different tables online before making a purchase. For the next week my facebook feed was filled with ads, not just for the table I purchased, but for the other tables I viewed as well. All from the same merchant. “Still on your mind?” the caption for one ad reads. “Don’t let this one slip away!” reads another. I didn’t. I had made the purchase.

I suspect it’s extremely rare for someone to purchase the same dinning room table from the same merchant in two transactions over a short period of time. If I’m being generous I would assume it’s slightly less rare for someone to purchase two different dining room tables from the same merchant in two different transactions. The ad broker monitoring my behavior and tracking me as I viewed all those dinning room tables should have also noticed I added one to my cart. But no. If the ad broker did observe the check out process, they decided to remain blissfully ignorant of the transaction. As a result I’m shown ads that don’t interest me. It’s not only annoying to the consumer, it wastes the merchant’s ad dollars.

This afternoon I purchased a kitchen table. My news feed is once again filled with advertisements featuring the new table. Same problem but different product and different merchant.

I’m all for personalized advertising. (Yes, please do help me find good area rugs that go with the furniture I’m purchasing!) Targeting advertising doesn’t have to be a nuisance. In order to not be a nuisance, however, it’s going to have to get a bit smarter.

Related posts:

Posted in Internet & Technology | Tags: , ,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.