The Internet audience is growing. The sophistication of technology used to reach the audience precisely is getting better too!The users are spending more time browsing, consuming content, researching, connecting, engaging, comparing prices, shopping or contributing information. Knowledge is also shared to a great extent.

On the other hand, there are brands and companies that target the audience for Engagement, Leads, Conversions, Registrations, etc. Every one tries to beat their competitors by being innovative and bringing in Never Done Before things to delight the customer.

Here comes the trap (for the innocent customer, its a trap, for the brand or agency, it is a part of their marketing strategy) Acquire New Customers – get new users to register for my service. Re-target Existing base – make sure every single individual is reached out again because he/she has been to my website before. try to remind them about my existence and make them interact / buy or register.
Re-market – the user may have visited my property and not engaged as per my minimum expectations, get him or her to like me and talk to me, because he or she is in my core target group Negatively re-targeting – don’t go to the same users more than 3 times. its probably safe to acquire newer users with the budget than follow the same person again and again. after 3 or 4 attempts, remove these users from my marketing list.

As a user, i don’t know if i am being targeted as a new acquiree or a re-targeted user or negatively regretted. I don’t even know there is a cookie tracking my behavior. someone is watching me all the time and checking what product i have browsed, bought or added to my wishlist.

The brand then follows me and shows me the same product that i have just visited. in my opinion, it is an awesome way to use technology. Showing the user the exact product from the same website.

But there is a big FLAW here!

I have just bought the product for 1500 Currency. And now you are showing me an add saying you can buy this at 1350? Are you trying to say i was fooled yesterday when i bought it for 1500?

Re-targeting precisely has its ups, but the flaws are seen only as a marketer. It can give rise to cognitive dissonance (mental stress after buying a product after having two or three shortlisted products and buying one. We wish we had bought the other one)

On the other hand, i had just visited the website and couldn’t complete the transaction. but thanks to the precise product display, I have bought it!

Intent – of the user is the biggest fear i have as a marketer.
Though there are tools that validate the intent of the user, but the human psyche is a complex algorithm.

Re-targeting may be one of the best ways to reach out and get the engagement levels rising, or filtering the audience. It is still a long way for technology to get into precision w.r.t spends and spill-over. but the audience has to be smart enough to browse carefully, protect their privacy (clear browsing history regularly) and making sure they browse with good intent and ensure thousands of brands are not following them everywhere.

The next big thing is Predictive Buying that Amazon is testing. It will help you buy things just by predicting your behaviors and choices. They also term it Anticipatory Shipping. This is surely a revolution and light years ahead of re-targeting.

Once this technology is fine tuned and learns from experience, there will be products at door-steps of the user, even before they log on to the Internet.