Stalking For Profit!

How much do you worry about the data that companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon hold on you?

Do you fear that ‘Big Brother is watching you’ every second you spend on the Internet?

Or are you like me? Do you tweet your location without enough thought? Check out your privacy settings to make sure not everything is public but then pretty much share what you want to online without much worry at all?

To be honest, the only Big Brother I really worry about online tends to be when my wifi is being slow and I get uncharacteristically angry about Celebrity Big Brother taking too long to buffer on Channel 5 On Demand.

Here’s a more timely question…

Have you downloaded Facebook’s messenger app for your phone?

It’s an app that’s caused a whole mass of controversy over the past month as hundreds of thousands of users reacted badly to both Facebook’s seemingly ‘bully boy’ tactics to FORCE you to download it in order to read your messages on the go, and then more, against the apparently worrying privacy and data issues that arise out of the permissions you grant to Facebook when you agree the terms and conditions of installing the app… T&Cs most of us never bother to read.

The app certainly takes some ‘liberties’, shall we say, compared to other apps of a similar nature.

But most of the reasons behind the permissions are common sense – for example, the ability to access your camera or to record audio are obviously necessary to record video within the app and to do things like conference calls.

Those that aren’t so common sense – e.g. the constant ‘on’ status of location pinpointing – can be switched off alone, rather than avoiding the whole app.

I am not going to claim to be hugely knowledgeable on this topic, but I will say that after some extensive reading on the matter, I’m happy enough to use the app myself.

The reason I was thinking about this now is that it sort of ties in to the topic I want to talk to you about in today’s email… Remarketing.

Why? Because, just as the Messenger app faced a huge backlash, the topic of re-marketing usually provokes a similar divide of opinion and a certain degree of fear in many consumers.

Ever been online and wondered why a product you’d just been looking at on another site suddenly shows up on the new site you’re visiting?

I was shopping for make up earlier today, abandoning my cart after resisting some shiny temptation – then went to catch up on the news, only to see the very products I’d been looking at in a big banner on the top of the page.

Welcome to the exciting/terrifying world of remarketing!

Lots of in-the-know Internet marketers have been using remarketing for a long, long time. But the technology that’s developed over recent years now makes it something that’s EASY and not too time-zapping.

It’s almost certainly something that you’ve seen for yourself – even if you didn’t realise that was what it was at the time.

Here’s a general example of how you’ve been retargeted/remarketed to, using an example that happened to me just this week…

You take a look on eBay for a new wardrobe, get interested in a certain item – let’s say an up-cycled shabby-chic offering that someone local has just posted for auction – and click through to look at the detail and what the seller has to offer.

Then your better half comes in to the room and you think better of making impulse purchases that would almost certainly require the hiring of a van for pick-up – and so you leave eBay to go do something else… Like look at photos of kittens on a blog.

As you’re skimming and scanning through kitten pics, the image of that wardrobe on eBay follows you around. It appears again when you click over to a news site or to look up the weather. There it is again on Facebook as you update your friends about your dinner choices.

You think about that wardrobe again, and before you know it, you’re back on eBay and placing a bid. And before you know it again, you’re loading it up in to a £55 per day van that you’ve had to hire and your other half is divorcing you.*

That is remarketing. And it really, really works. And not just for big businesses like eBay, Amazon and John Lewis, either.

How does remarketing work?

You’re probably more than a little familiar with websites sharing their ‘cookie’ policies these days. It is something that has to be done, by everyone who uses cookies.

That has seeped in to our collective consciousness much like smoking warnings on fag packets. It’s always there, on every site. So much so that you kind of become immune to it. ??Cookies are key. You see, remarketing works by keeping track of anyone – by using cookies – who visits a certain website or a certain page on a certain website.

The cookie that is placed on to someone’s computer when they visit a site then allows for ads to be displayed to that user when they visit other sites.

The main point with remarketing is to re-engage with those people who have been ‘qualified’ as potential customers enough that they have looked at your products or services and visited your website.

Because they have got to your site or product, these past visitors are more likely that your average Joe to be potential customers and more likely to convert.

Getting practical, if you like the sound of using the possibilities of remarketing on your own websites as a means to attract people who have previously visited BACK then there are a variety of strategies for how to do so.

As well as a lot of tests you can do to know which website visitors to target – just those who have spent a certain amount of time on your site, or seen a certain page, or added something to a basket, for example – and on how to make the most of your remarketing ads.

Google Adwords offer a brilliant remarketing service that I’ve been looking at in some detail. I haven’t paid for any ads yet, but I am keen to do so if it’s something you want to learn about. ??It’s a massive topic and one that I’m keen to hear your opinions on. Would you like tutorials on how to set up remarketing campaigns? Have you tried remarketing? Did it work?

I want to know if you’d be interested in learning more. Please email me ( and let me know.

How could remarketing benefit your business?

If you have product pages on any of your websites, then remarketing can bring back what is the online version of a ‘window shopper’.

Because cookies last for set periods of time you can even wait a certain amount of days or weeks before showing ads to people… so you can try to catch them on payday!

You can create product specific ads that can be shown again and again and again to people who have considered buying that very product.

Creepy? Maybe. Does it work? All the data out there, the blog posts I have read, the report on industry sites, say YES. And huge websites like Amazon, eBay, Asos, John Lewis, are all using it a lot. A hell of a lot. So the answer is almost certainly yes for them.

Of course, it can also be used for name-generation and building email lists – giving you the chance to offer people that free ebook or email newsletter – again and again too.

That’s something that’s definitely worth testing (*adds to to-do list*).

For anyone wanting to build an email list, sell products online and get more targeted traffic (that’s all of us then!) I think this is definitely something we should be discussing and testing more.

Is it creepy?

Lots of people hate the idea of being remarketed to. But I embrace it. As someone who has been working in Internet Marketing for a decade now, I find the concept of it very exciting.

And, to me, it offers a more tailored Internet experience. I’d RATHER see ads for sites, products and services I’m interested in than for irrelevant products I have no interest in. But maybe that’s just me?!?

Please do send me your opinion and let me know if you’d like me to do some testing on this on your behalf. ??See you soon and have a brilliant week.

This article first appeared on Internet Income Detective. Read more and comment here