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a blog by Chris Barrow

Letters from a perfect imperfectionist: Re-marketing

I haven’t heard a single person tell me that they like re-marketing.

The term is used to describe what happens when you visit a website to research a product or service and the same product or service starts following you around the internet, on your other web searches and on your preferred social media sites.

So on a wet Sunday you take a look at sunny hotels for August.

The following Wednesday you are updating your Facebook status and there is the same hotel, in a little sponsored box down the side of your Facebook profile.

I’ll bet it has happened to you?

Now – before I go any further – guilty as charged.

We at 7connections have been re-marketing some of our events and products.

We have been following you – with the help of our digital marketing agency, ApexHub.

Along with paid advertising on Google and Facebook, we have been re-marketing.

The end result, a significant increase in people visiting our website and exchanging their email address for useful downloads.

It works.

The other day I was chatting to Annie about the fact that some strange adverts were appearing in both of our sponsored link areas on Facebook.

We realised that Facebook was promoting to my profile stuff that she had been searching and vice versa.

That sounds freaky to me (and I’d better think twice about what I’m looking at on the web).

I’m looking at my Facebook profile right now (another wet Sunday morning in Manchester) and I can see:

• a link to a business book on Amazon that I’ve already read and own – but sent a link to a client the other day with a recommend that he reads it • a link to the National Lottery – because I bought a lucky dip yesterday (for the first time in years – an impulse purchase) and checked the numbers an hour ago • having refreshed the page I now see a link to flowers for Mothers Day – my mother passed away some years ago – and Amazon wanting to sell me health supplements (no idea why)

I see the problem with re-marketing as being a lack of focus that can lead to offence.

Like “bugger off – my Mum is dead, I’ve already read that book and I’m unlikely to buy lottery tickets again (not a single number) – so if you are so bloody clever, why didn’t you figure that out?”

Therefore, a word of caution to myself and to my clients.

I see the benefits of re-marketing – but only if the target audience is chosen very carefully in order to avoid a sense of unease at the intrusion.

Perhaps the digital marketing experts can comment.

My sense is that this is a bandwagon that corporates are jumping on with huge budgets and just playing a numbers game.

That will dilute respect for the genre and, in the same way as sponsored links on Google, just encourage us to “switch off” so that the genuine and sensitive marketers are ignored.

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