Please Let Me Opt Out

  |  October 14, 2010   |  Comments

Retargeting has run amok. Here are some ways for advertisers, ad networks, and consumers to all get what they want.

Luckily, my wife was not looking over my shoulder the past three weeks after I went online jewelry shopping. She'd have seen ads for the necklace I'm going to get her!

Retargeting - it's a powerful tool. But I'd like to float an idea that'll make it much more powerful: please, please don't make me look at your ad again. It's a simple suggestion - but first, a quick review of retargeting.

An ad network watches you surf across multiple e-commerce sites, looking at vacations, shoes, books, or even necklaces. It sees that you are interested in one particular destination, style, author, or design and sells that expressed interest to one of their advertisers who wants to sell that trip, pair, tome, or bling.

All you know from your side of the screen is that one or two vendors out there are having sales on just the thing you were looking at. Magic! Until the magic becomes as annoying as a "wardrobe consultant" following you around a store telling you what you should buy. "I'm just looking!" is a legitimate answer and one that would allow the bored, pesky, or just hungry sales person to find a better prospective client to glom on to.

The "Just Looking" Button

I'd advocate a campaign-specific opt out; a button on each ad (be it banner, pop-up, fold down, or inflatable) that lets me declare, "No - I really don't want it." One click and I'm free from seeing the same offer everywhere I turn, free of that creepy feeling of being followed around, free to be served up other items that actually interest me.

The advertiser benefits from this push button freedom even more than I. They can save the money they would have spent on repeatedly showing me their ads. They can wander off in search of greener pastures while getting a specific response from me indicating my disinclination to buy.

They save money, I keep my sanity, and the ad network learns that much more about me that they can then use for targeting. Win-win-win.

The Industry Effort to Self-Regulate

The Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising is a conglomeration of online advertising associations trying to stay ahead of government regulation. It is trying to educate the public and offer a link to the Network Advertising Initiative's Opt-out Tool. It doesn't give consumers the level of control or the advertisers the feedback I propose, but it's a start.

The Management Perspective

Why is something as tactical as an opt-out button important to management? It's a local expression of a global philosophy about the use of data in marketing. It's a reminder that the laws of unexpected consequences will always bite you in the rear and that customer centricity will always pat you on the back. It is always better to collect and use data for your customers rather than about them. It is always better to remember that you can harm your brand through overexposure and can shine in the eyes of customers if you are available but not omnipresent.

If you are willing to look at your sales cycle from the buying side - through customer-colored glasses - then the data you collect, the numbers you crunch, and the insights you derive from your analytics will serve your customers as well as your shareholders.

And please - don't tell my wife about the necklace. It's a surprise.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jim Sterne

Jim Sterne is an international consultant focused on measuring the value of the online marketing for creating and strengthening customer relationships. Sterne has written eight books on using the Internet for marketing, produces the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and is co-founder and current chairman of the Digital Analytics Association.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...