Google Re-Marketing: ‘Cyber Stalking’ or Brilliant Marketing Tool?

Google Re-Marketing: ‘Cyber Stalking’ or Brilliant Marketing Tool?
Helsinki, Finland, May 4, 2019: Google Ads AdWords application icon on Apple iPhone X screen close-up. Google Ad Words icon. Google ads Adwords application. Social media network


Right now, as you read this blog, my companies ads are getting ready to follow you. It won’t matter where you go online or how varied your surfing may be… The ads will follow. You can be reading up on your hobbies, shopping online, booking a flight or looking at hilarious videos of cats doing the craziest things: We’ll be there. Stalking you.


Well sort of. What you’ll actually see is an advert which will appear across the Google Display network of Google websites and affiliate sites that support Google ads. What may appear to be stalking is simply a call to action trying to entice you to return and we pay for the privilege of you clicking that advert and returning. We’re not actually stalking you but trying to get you to return and look at our website with the hope that at some point your initial interest in our content or company translates into you enquiring with us and becoming a client we work with… Perhaps helping you follow (Or stalk) others around the net!


How does Google Re-marketing Work?


There is no sorcery involved, I can assure you!

In simple terms, we use marketing and our top-notch online marketing content to bring in visitors. Some may simply read a blog and leave or explore a few pages before doing so. The re-marketing then kicks in to bring that visitor back and try to entice you into making an enquiry. It is simply an avenue to try and reconnect with a website visitor and remind them of the site’s products or services.


A webmaster must put a bit of ground work in to actually get the re-marketing campaign running though:


  • Update your Google Analytics tracking code & Privacy Policy Ensure your Adwords account in linked to your Google Analytics
  • Read and agree to the Terms of Service
  • Establish the Campaigns you wish to target for running re-marketing
  • Set up lists of your targeted audiences to start gathering data data & Build campaigns in Adwords to apply that data to create the relevant ads to those groups: Maybe “Men’s retro t-shirts” or “Ladies evening gowns”
  • Once you have over 100+ (The more the better) you can turn on the ads
  • CHECK FREQUENTLY to measure the results!

There is quite a bit of work involved just to get the thing running, let alone managing it and making the campaign effective!


How does it know you’ve visited?


Cookie monsterCookies. Not the biscuit; but the tiny bytes of information stored on your machine (Hence the term ’cookies’) that log your surfing activity and where you have been whilst online. You can set up re-marketing to be specific to what the visitor actually viewed on your site, such as a product or service which would be set in a list via Adwords to recognise that you showed an interest and may want to but from the website. It’s another point of contact and if you used ads to attract a visitor in the first place, why shouldn’t you remind them you exist and try to encourage them to buy from you?


The Webmaster can limit or extend the amount of time the re-marketing will be active for so you won’t be following a one-time visitor around the internet for the rest of eternity!


Google is not exclusively using re-marketing systems. Facebook for example have a similar system based on your activity on the social network and affiliate sites. (It is a bit more hit and miss and not as well regulated as Google’s ad network though!) Those sponsored ads at the side – Yep believe it or not, they are targeted to posts you’ve made and what you’ve viewed on Facebook. Though the ads often seem to be a bit random. You will see sponsored links to items you’ve viewed on Ebay in the news feed – Just one example of re-marketing.


Why People Think It’s Stalking – Is it an Invasion of Privacy?


A surprising number of people these days seem to object to anything that gathers their information is any shape or form. Maybe they are scared of the spam mail it might bring, the thought of giving away intimate details of their life or the thought that somewhere the NSA or “the powers that be” are collecting it all and building a cyber profile about them. If you need reassurance, read up on “Keyword Not Provided” and the fact that Google secures your details and does not share them.


But either way, re-marketing is simply reacting to where you’ve ‘been’ on the internet and what your shopping interests are and trying to remind you of products or services YOU’VE ALREADY LOOKED AT –  Only if the website owner is actually paying for the service. It’s not a case of having someone, somewhere reading through your browser history and making a judgement. It’s not a huge conspiracy!


Remember you’re using a Free Service!


No one likes spam, that’s for sure and everyone likes a free service. But people often complain when Google or Facebook “bombard them with ads” – But these free services are propped up by revenue from ads: About 97% of Google’s total revenue is reliant on advertising. Take away that revenue and expect a reduced service or no service at all. It’s crazy to expect something of high quality to be completely free! Look at television, we all accept the fact that we have to tolerate ads to watch the free to air channels OR you have a service like the BBC that you have to pay a license fee to watch – Which people complain about. People just like to complain. Ads are everywhere and if they did not work, then advertisers would not be paying to advertise. Simple!


So remember that whilst you may feel your privacy is being invaded, you can’t complain if you continue using the service, watch the tv, read a newspaper and see any form of advertising anywhere. You are not being hunted down by the New World Order: You are having targeted ads directed at you to try and entice you to spend money with the companies who are sponsoring those ads! Instead of a broad ad campaign like tv, newspapers, radio or bill boards, these ads are tailored for the end user.


Why Would a Company Run Re-Marketing Anyway?


Let’s ignore the folks in the tinfoil hats who believe everything IS a conspiracy for a moment and think about how re-marketing works (Above) and why any webmaster would actively pay to get you back on their website.


You may be running ads or PLA’s to attract traffic to your website which will cost you money to attract new visitors. With an average conversion rate of let’s say 2% on your listed ads you need 50 people to your website to make a single sale. So you’re paying to bring them there in the first place… That may not be economically viable with low cost products or services. You need to up those odds!


In some industries, re-trargeted customers are 70% more likely to complete a purchase than non re-target customers according to Criteo. Suddenly, you’re initial outlay to bring the traffic to the site in the first place is viable. Your re-marketing lists are propping up your possibility of making money.


If the system did not work then no one would use it, but it works very effectively if the campaign is set up properly and the ads are of a decent quality. What advertiser would not want a second bite of the apple and the possibility of actually making the sale when they paid to bring the traffic to their site in the first place?


How to Stop it!


Does it really bother you that much? Really?


OK. Clear your cookies or install an ad blocker browser extension. Don’t browse the internet whilst signed into a browser such as Chrome. Or simply stop using the services that use targeted ads. Yep – Quit using Google and Facebook. Stop visiting Amazon and Ebay. STAY AWAY FROM THE INTERNET!


You can’t totally prevent it but to be honest you’re going to be seeing targeted ads pretty much everywhere you go online. They are not there to annoy you, nor are they a true invasion of privacy. They won’t be knocking on your door or calling your mobile and bothering you for a sale.


You may feel it is an invasion of your privacy but the bottom line is, without ads, the internet would be a less effective experience and if I’m going to see those ads, they may as well be targeted to something that I actually like! So there!