• Daniel Vardi

    the users can always remove cookies and marketers should remove the item from the list if the item was purchased. If it wasn’t, and another person sees the remarketing ads, doesn’t that just add to a game of guesses?

  • Louis Venter

    Install http://thisisadplus.com as a chrome extension and block the ads you don’t want to see and allow the ones you do. Simple.

  • http://www.LeadDiscovery.com/ Jerry Nordstrom

    The Jacket?… sure it was…. :-)

  • Todd Culter

    Exact same thing happened to me last month. My wife guessed what I had gotten for her birthday because she saw the ads for it everywhere she went on our shared laptop.

  • http://eduardo.cereto.net/ Eduardo Cereto Carvalho

    Seriously people, we’re going into 2014, maybe it’s time to give you family members their own devices for christmas. And if, for some reason you HAVE to share a device, at the very least have the decency to use separate user profiles, this is not new stuff, not new stuff at all.

    Chrome has user profiles built-in, just in case you don’t want to setup a new system user. Learn to use it.

    If you use the same browser she can find out just by going into your email, no need to guess through ad banners.

    I can’t even believe this is real, seems like something a journalist just made up.

  • GertG

    George Carlin said it best. If you work in advertising or marketing, kill yourself.

  • SebastianBassi

    There is no need to see ads at all. You should not use the browser without an adblock extension or plugin. It is a 2 click install on most modern browser.
    Another solution: Private mode, that is why this mode is for according to Chrome.

  • Izzy Cohen

    Just use incognito mode in Chrome or Private mode in Firefox when shopping.
    Another alternative is installing AdBlockerPlus on all browesers. Its amazing.

  • Brad Flora

    I run a retargeting company and this annoys me too!

    The reason this stuff happens is because many players in the space soak up advertiser spend by not immediately opting users out of product retargeting campaigns after a purchase is made. The advertisers don’t always know to ask for this and the retargeting companies make more money if they don’t suggest it.

    These personalized campaigns are so profitable for the advertisers that they don’t notice the extra spend being bled out on people who they shouldn’t be retargeting.

    This tends to happen among the big “enterprise” retargeting companies that serve large online retailers like Macy’s. There’s so many people involved in the deals and operations of the campaigns that no one person is there to say, hey, let’s make sure this doesn’t happen.

    The takeaway: Only work with retargeting vendors that give you control and visibility into who you’re targeting and why! We do this, but so do others. Not everyone is this lame.

  • http://www.elite-strategies.com/blog Patrick Coombe

    i personally love seeing my daughters hello kitty advertisements and my wifes skin cream offers, no?

  • Greg Simon

    It can be a bit annoying if you share a device but really as others have mentioned if that’s the case it’s on you to cover your tracks if it’s a concern. Solutions:

    -Different User/Login Accounts
    -Different Users on Chrome (if you’re using chrome) by going to Settings -> “Users” section, click Add new user.
    -Clear cookies/history
    -Incognito Mode in Chrome, Ctrl-Shift-N
    -Stop sharing your device, if you can afford to do online shopping chances are you can also afford a laptop/tablet etc of your own.

    If anything this is something that’s just annoying to the user who’s shopping because they’ll have targeted ads directed to them that are not in their area of interest.


  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    I’m going to assume you just blindly rushed past the part at the end of the story where I said some browsers have profiles in order to make the inevitable “blame the user” comment. So…

    First, going into 2014 isn’t some magical year where all families can suddenly afford to buy a computer or tablet for each member of the family. I think there are plenty of families where having just one device is still a stretch financially.

    Second, Chrome does have built-in user profiles (which I mentioned), and anyone worried about this might want to investigate those (which I also mentioned). Of course, that means making sure your seven-year-old has a Google Account, because profiles require a Google Account. And oh, you’re supposed to be 13 to have one. But hey, just lie, right? But then, some people might not like the idea that the only way for multiple people to have accounts on Chrome is if they all give up some of their privacy to Google.

    Third, I’m not sure how you get the idea that anyone using a browser can get into someone’s email. It’s not like you’re handing over your password. But that’s also where you’re missing the point. The article isn’t about trying to prevent someone who is trying to spy on what you’re buying for them. It’s about how you might accidentally reveal your purchases, because of how ad retargeting works.

    Which leads to fourth, yeah, this is real. And if you want to see it yourself, go to Macy’s, as shown above, and click on any product. Then go to The Guardian and click a few pages. Do the same by going to ThinkGeek, and then going to The Telegraph. Then you can make your own screenshots of how it really does happen, post them, and have someone else tell you that you made it all up :)

    Yes, if someone wants to ensure that retargeting doesn’t reveal their Christmas purchases or site visitation habits, there are things they can do to better control that privacy. Yes, users should be more aware of this. That’s part of the point I made at the end.

    But, there’s a lot more that both advertisers and advertising networks could also do. In the end, telling a bunch of users they’re doing it wrong doesn’t necessarily help things. It can just annoy them or invite some outside force, save government regulation, to step in and try and fix stuff.

  • Gautam Jain

    Retargeting is annoying because it takes your attention away again & again. While reading something else, your attention keeps going towards the ads. Even if you have not opted to buy that product, it comes in front of you. Even if you have purchased that product, it comes in front of you. Why? Why? I think retargeting has a short life span because of this. It is easy to ignore banners of products you have never seen or read about.

  • albeit

    Can’t you just have your kids use a different account on your computer? The cookies aren’t shared between them.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    They can. That’s what I note at the end. But it’s also a pain logging in and out. There are also times when two people might want to look at the same computer at the same time (“hey look at this video”). Users who really care can find solutions. But there are things that advertisers and ad networks might also consider.

  • James

    Surely these are the very reasons that retargeting *will* carry on being successful – it’s an advertisers dream!

    I’d be interested if anyone can share some statistics, but I always use 2% as a target for visitor conversion. A chance to aim at the remaining 98% with an ad that isn’t ‘easy to ignore’ is so valuable to e-retailers that this is here to stay!

  • Terence Craven

    Great post.

    Adding nothing new to this, but using an incognito browser in Chrome would be one way around this. That said, it’s a pain to enter your details every time you visit a new website. For that reason, I knowingly ran the risk of these re-targeting ads appearing this year and I’ve pretty much escaped the embarrassing retargeting ads.

  • Greg Shuey

    I’ve never thought about it this way… Great insight and kinda humerous!

  • MaryMactavish

    I look at so many things that most ads I see are for things I’d vaguely pondered, and my laptop isn’t shared. But it’s still sort of unpleasant. And if I decided not to buy something, the ad isn’t going to change my mind.