“Retargeting” is a term commonly used when discussing advertising. But it can be a foreign concept if you’re not involved in the world of cybersecurity or advertising.
To make matters even more complicated, people discuss it in both positive and negative terms. That can make it even more confusing if you don’t know much about it. Is it good? Is it bad? What does the term even mean?
Read on to learn more about the concept of ad retargeting, and what it can mean to you and your internet browsing habits.
What Is Ad Retargeting?
Retargeting is a simple concept, even though it’s somewhat complicated to put into play. Essentially, it provides personalized ads to people who browsed a website and looked at a product, but who didn’t actually purchase anything. Only 2% of people make a purchase on their first visit to an online store. Retargeting helps online retailers to raise that number.
How Can Ad Retargeting Make My Internet Experience Better?
For people who are mindful of how advertising can affect shopping habits, ad retargeting can actually be a good thing. For example, say you browsed for a USB cable but wandered away from the page and didn’t buy anything. Ad retargeting can remind you later. It’s a good way to get back to products that weren’t impulse buys; you just forgot to buy.
In addition, advertisers take notice of the products you look at, how long you look at them, which items you spent time researching, and more. With a good ad retargeting campaign (which is where many reputable retailers will spend their money), you’ll see ads for the products that you were actually considering, rather than ones you just glossed over.
How Might Ad Retargeting Be Dangerous?
Although ad retargeting can be helpful in bringing your attention back to products you forgot to buy, it does have its cons.
If you don’t pay attention to the ways in which advertising affects your buying habits, you might end up influenced to buy things you didn’t really need. When retargeting ads come up, they’re intentionally trying to make you buy a product. If you didn’t buy that product because you were no longer interested in it, an ad popping up might influence you to buy it even though you didn’t really need it.
Another thing to remember is that ad retargeting uses your browsing data. It collects your information, and uses it to glean substantial information about you, including your location, gender, and other browsing habits. If you’re especially privacy-minded, which is an important part of using the internet, it’s good to be mindful of the ways that advertising companies may use your data. That includes ad retargeting.
How Do I Maintain My Internet Privacy?
It’s true that cybersecurity and online privacy is a big topic right now. It’s one that many people and companies are starting to pick apart into a more nuanced discussion.
Ad retargeting usually isn’t inherently malicious. Internet browsing privacy becomes much more important when advertising companies retain your personal data, which they might inadvertently leak through data breaches and other security issues. To try and protect yourself online, keep an eye on your information.
Perform a people search on yourself on a regular basis to monitor your identity and your information. When you do, you can note when or if unauthorized information changes occur. It could be due to private information that has been unintentionally leaked onto the internet. Or maybe a company lost it in a data breach. Either way, with that evidence in hand, then you can attempt to clean things up where you think the leaks may have occurred.
Unless you pay extremely close attention, it’s not an achievable goal to shut down ad retargeting when you browse. You can turn off personalized ads on many social media sites. But if you browse news or entertainment sites, you’ll probably still end up seeing some retargeted ads. As long as you’re aware of how advertising affects you, it’s not a huge deal.
What is a huge deal is your privacy on the rest of the internet. By keeping an eye on your information, you can try to keep it safe while still enjoying advertising customized to you and your needs.
For more information about matters related to your digital identity, read all about it on the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo credit: Andrii Yalanskyi – stock.adobe.com