Why Do I Keep Seeing The Same Ads?
You visited Ikea’s site once in search of some new furniture. Moments later, you bounced over to Facebook and saw ads for the exact cabinet you almost bought.
“Looking for a new cabinet?” The picture looked even better the second time.
“Hmm… Pretty fishy…
But boy is that a nice cabinet!” *Click!*
Wait, what just happened?
Our Best Friend: Remarketing
It was no coincidence that you started seeing online ads from Ikea right after you visited their site. Digital marketers can’t actually read your mind; we’re good, but we’re not that good.
We get by with a little help from our friend: remarketing.
So what is it? Simply put, remarketing let’s you show ads to people who have already visited your site or mobile apps.
Interesting… but, how?
Well, when you visited Ikea’s site, they stored a small piece of data in your web browser. This small piece of data is called a “cookie”.
What are Cookies?
Internet cookies are tiny text files that contain the domain of the webpage you visited along with a long number (also known as a session ID).
You can think of that session ID as a number Ikea created to identify who you are. The same way the government identifies you by your social security number, your web browser now identifies you as someone who loves cabinets!
The same cookie also allows Ikea to analyze how you interacted with their site. Not only did you (user0478) look for a cabinet, you also selected some preferences: open-shelving cherry mahogany. And then when you left, ha… well, you never really left!
OK, maybe I scared you a bit. Before you run to delete your cookies, let me explain what else cookies do.
Cookies are Actually Really Helpful!
Don’t worry, the cookie itself doesn’t contain any personal information. Believe it or not, the cookies stored in your browser drastically improve your online experience. Deleting them will not stop you from seeing ads, instead, you’ll just stop seeing ads relevant to your browsing behaviour.
It’s also worth noting that cookies aren’t only used for remarketing, or re-targeting as others like to call it.
Cookies are also used by web developers to create user sessions. This allows the browser to remember your login information and keep those concert tickets you were iffy about in your shopping cart.
I like to think of internet cookies as the barista at Starbucks that always remembers my order. “Hey, Mike… the usual pumpkin-spiced latte, extra foam?” “Yes, please!”
Thanks to cookies, the next time you visit Facebook, the browser will ask the site “Who is making this request?” Then they communicate in robot language, “The person with 518 friends and a cover photo of a cat in outer space. Oh yeah, and they’ve been looking at some cherry mahogany open-shelf cabinets lately.”
Why we Love Remarketing
Because getting interested visitors to your site isn’t easy. And when that does happen, getting users to convert the first time is highly unlikely.
People browse religiously, and often forget which sites they visited and which products they nearly purchased. Studies have suggested that up to 95% of users visit a site the first time just for research purposes. The same study indicates that 70% of those users will eventually buy a product similar to the one they were viewing.
Without remarketing, you can pretty well guarantee that purchase will be from one of your competitors. Now go ahead and take a stand for your market share; start a remarketing campaign and win your customers back!
Digital Marketing Specialist
Michael is a Digital Marketing Specialist @ Neumarkets. Toronto's Digital Marketing agency. He and his teammates help clients scale their digital marketing ROI by optimizing search, paid social, remarketing and email marketing campaigns.