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Re-targeting Ads: Is my search history haunting me?

Louis Mardlin

May 27, 2020




The initial idea of re-targeting can make its audience feel as if they are being listened to, however, this idea offers a whole range of advantages, allowing you to stop comparing it to an online stalker.

Within today's society it is classed as the norm to indulge in online shopping. We can use it to get our hands on almost anything at the click of a button. Although, this doesn’t mean that it's not off-putting to see the latest trends that you had been browsing on ASOS suddenly appearing on your Facebook feed. This approach does, however, need to be assessed from the retailer’s perspective; identifying that it can be a key component in keeping their consumers captivated by their products. 

Re-targeting works through the privacy settings that the consumer has set on their web browser. These are in the form of a “cookie”, a term that most online users are aware of. Every time you visit a site, a "cookie" is dropped on to your Web browser. That cookie, which can stay for different periods of time, is anonymous. The retailer has no way of knowing who you are, or anything about you, all that they know is that you have browsed those specific items. This is the point where the retailer can then purchase ads through a number of re-targeting companies acting as the middlemen, selling ads aimed at your individual interests. These ads are then presented on news sites, blogs and even Facebook.

Analytics on monitor

The process of re-targeting on Facebook has proven to be one of the more effective means of advertisement. Within AdRoll’s ‘Re-targeting on Facebook by the Numbers’ report, advertisers saw a 92 percent increase in the number of interactions with these particular advertisements, as well as a 9 percent drop in cost per every thousand impressions reached.

When the statistics come together showing us that re-targeting has a positive impact on company interaction, the real question that we need to be asking ourselves is ‘why isn’t everyone using this method to make our online experience better?’.

What we can grasp from the statistics and the physical evidence that sits in front of us, on our screen, is that just because you click on something doesn’t mean that you are interested enough in the product. Therefore, it can be a risky spend if the company isn’t offering a strong enough product that will entice your target audience into being fully committed to the purchase. Another factor that comes into play is that you can never be certain that your re-targeting vendor is up to date with the amount of time an ad will appear on your consumers feed, which could ultimately push people away. 

From the research and findings into this topic, it is clear that if carried out right, re-targeting can prove to be a real success, but if done wrong can add to the noise of your busy Facebook feed. Ultimately, when you come across an ad that has been re-targeted to you, be grateful that they exist, because without them your feed would be full of irrelevant content that you would most likely be paying for the privilege to receive.