Re-targeting Technology - "The Pants That Stalked Me on the Web"

The Pants That Stalked Me on the Web - Advertising Age - DigitalNext
"I surfed over to my favorite apparel website, Zappos, now a part of Amazon.

After a few clicks, Zappos' recommendation engine went to work and started offering me the selections that people who looked at the same shorts I did ultimately bought -- a cool idea and a feature that has been useful to me in the past.

Then, I abandoned the search and did something else. That's when the weirdness started.

In the five days since, those recommendations have been appearing just about everywhere I've been on the web, including MSNBC, Salon, CNN.com and The Guardian. The ad scrolls through my Zappos recommendations: Hurley, Converse by John Varvatos, Quicksilver, Rip Curl, Volcom. Whatever. At this point I've started to actually think I never really have to go back to Zappos to buy the shorts -- no need, they're following me."

That story might sound creepy at first. But I find the technology both fascinating and a great tool for marketers. Have a look at Criteo, who are behind the technology. Here's how it works.



This is like AdWords on steroids... and marketers should definitely see better ROI. Because you already know the prospect has shown interest, as opposed to just randomly displaying ads based on the content he's currently browsing. And user stories such as the one above prove that the technology works in the real world ;)


Comments

Kathryn said…
Hi Tyrell,
Kathryn here- marketing associate at AdRoll.com. I totally agree that the technology behind retargeting is a wonderful opportunity. Helping consumers understand the idea behind it is pivotal to success and growth in the future. I, for one, love seeing ads about products and services I am actually interested in. However, I know there is a lot of concern over shoppers being stalked by ads, and here at AdRoll we never want to harass customers! Check out our blog if you're interested: http://bit.ly/a4nLTI. We love hearing your input! Thanks!
Tyrell said…
Kathryn,

As I mentioned at the start of my post, this technology potentially can be viewed as creepy. But then again, there is no real privacy on the internet is there? Look at facebook for instance. And I know Google's AdSense reads my e-mail to display ads that match the content of the mail that I'm reading. The list goes on..

However, I do agree with you that there should be standards and best practices addressing privacy, especially for advertising technologies.

Thanks for your input!

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