I was recently in the market for a pair of new shoes. I was not looking for very long, research and purchasing took less than an hour. For the next week or so I was chased around the internet by brown brogues. This is called 'remarketing'. The clever search engines know what purchases you are considering and delivers targeted adverts featuring matched products.
That is quite clever. The problem is that many purchasing decisions are made very quickly. I can see why it might be very effective for a car, for example, but clothing, shoes and similar items must have a much shorter decision processing time.
I am fairly careful about clicking ads. I am a marketer and it annoys me that only 5% or so of my clicks convert into enquiries. People are 'click happy', we are told. Still, is is very annoying and I try to be aware of the cost of a click, futile though that may be.
The problem with remarketing is part of the psychology of buyer's remorse. I found myself clicking on an advert because I thought the shoes might be better than the ones that I had purchased. Many people will click on adverts that may show a better or cheaper product, because they fear they may have made the wrong decision. As far as the marketer running that campaign is concerned that might look like success, but it is actually wasted budget.
I sent out a tweet on the morning that I was in the market for shoes. This was at a point when I had yet to make a decision. Would the internet be so clever that it could catch me at this point, when it could have sold me a product. The answer is no.
Back in 2010 Google's Eric Schmidt famously and rather ominously made his; 'we know where you are, we know what you like' comments, and the implication was that Google would soon know what you want before you do, which really must be the golden goose for the marketing industry.
Well, that was six years ago and the internet still can't sell me a pair of shoes. I had to buy them, and I did put the clues out there. As for the company whose ad I clicked after I had made my purchase I apologise, I just wanted to be sure I had made the right decision.