I heard an interesting story just before Christmas.
It made me think about some of the newer online marketing methods out there.
More importantly, I realised that there some pretty major flaws, which might affect how much and where they are used in the future.
I thought I would share the story with you, as it may make you think about online marketing techniques and some of the issues they could create for your business.
Imagine this scenario.
You log on to the internet using your pc or tablet, searching for a present for your better half. As you peruse the products and services you think they might like, across various websites, you eventually find the perfect present – an iPad mini, do a quick price check across the different sites and settle on one of them.
You quickly make the purchase before your partner arrives back and make a nice cup of tea. Straight face.
Job done for another year. Phew. She will be so surprised on Christmas morning. You can’t wait to see her face when she opens it.
What happens next?
Your partner arrives back and sits down to check the latest weather and there are stacks of adverts for iPad minis. Everywhere they go on the internet, iPad minis in the banners. What they are seeing is the ‘new’ marketing phenomenon – remarketing.
How does remarketing work?
While you browse, a silent shopping ‘assistant’ is quietly tracking your web visits to find out what you are interested in. Once you move on, the ads are customised around the places you visited and the products you viewed. The aim is to get you to click back to that supplier to make that purchase and increase their sales conversion rates.
In principle, there is nothing wrong with this as evidently, it really works to increase conversion, so the argument would be that it is providing a valuable service to the customer.
The challenge is that once everyone knows this, it is simply showing what the previous user was looking at before you, it has the potential to ruin those special days we wait a full year to experience. Equally, if you were looking at something in secret, say a dating website, your partner may not be too happy either.
What can I do about it?
In either scenario, the issue is about how these problems can be resolved by opting out or being able to limit the scope of this. There are ways to do this already but realistically, how many people are using them?
UPDATE: Here is another result of profiling your visits – “People who bought this also bought…” I wonder what the profile of this product’s customers were http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0012LOQUQ/b3ta-21
Have you had a special occasion ruined by a bit of ‘remarketing’? Let us know in the comments.