Online Marketing

Surviving Analytical Stalking

Have you ever felt stalked by the internet with ads that know what you just searched?  Or wonder how does Google know that I am here?  If you have felt this way, you may have been a victim of online Retargeting, Targeted Ads or Location Based Marketing.  Keep reading for more information about surviving these online stalking… (aka “research”)… methods.

Retargeting & Targeted Ads

If you have used an online site to browse and item, chances are you have been a victim of retargeting.  This is when you receive ads based on previous actions or purchases.  While this can be an effective method to reconnect with interested shoppers even after they leave a website, if done poorly, it can be seen as ad stalking.

I apologize in advance of the upcoming sad example, though it will help me with my point.  Years ago I had to make a decision regarding my beloved dog, Sam.  It seemed to be time for a decision to lay him to rest.  So, I sought the internet for guidance on how I would know I was making the right decision, which was a mistake.  Days later, I had to say goodbye and he crossed Rainbow Bridge, I kept getting ads and pop-ups on dog euthanasia.  I kept thinking why on earth are these ads popping up and how can I get rid of the ads that felt suffocating?  This was certainly an example of bad retargeting and their reminder only increased the sadness in my heart.

On a different note, advances in data modeling and predictive analysis also allow targeted online ads to those in specific target markets (vs a consumer’s previous action).   On a happier example, I have been “victim” of this type of online stalking when I buy an item on Amazon.  Once I click “add to cart”, I am instantly enticed and delighted with “similar items people bought” with the same purchase.  This seems less creepy, it doesn’t break my heart, and I admit some of the similar items have also shown up at my house, in that box with a smiling face. 🙂

Location Based Marketing (Mobile)

Thanks to innovations in location intelligence, marketers also use Location Based Marketing to target consumers based on where they go, which gives insight on the consumer journey from ad exposure to store visit to purchase data.  As a consumer, you have a choice to enable or disable “Location Based Services” from your phone to avoid being the victim (or recipient) of Location Based Marketing.

On a recent trip to Knoxville, TN I learned about Google Rewards and Google Contribute, great examples of Location Based Marketing, from my leader David.  He was very excited about these online activities and as he described them, my mind went to “creepy” with some added benefits.  These platforms automatically send you surveys and ask for reviews based on where you have been (hotels restaurants) or where you called from a Google Search.  The added benefit is that they give you money (sometimes a mere $.18) for each activity/survey to use in the Google Play Store.  I have not downloaded these apps though I saw real time the requests David got to review Knox Mason, the Tennessean and Tupelo Honey.  The benefit of these examples is that it is purely opt-in so while google likely knows you are there; your opinion is only sought if you have set up these apps on your mobile device.

Let’s do a little survey, do you like or dislike being “stalked on the internet”?  Why/Why not?



1 thought on “Surviving Analytical Stalking”

  1. I do not like being ad stalked. Since technology has the capability for this kind of stalking, what else is being “watched” & where is our privacy headed. And WHO on the back end is watching me.


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