You Can Run But You Can’t Hide From Online Advertisers

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
<p>Whatever it takes, you're gonna get the message.</p>

Whatever it takes, you're gonna get the message.


Increasingly, online advertisers don’t want to let you escape once you’ve clicked on their ad or visited their website. You’ve probably noticed that certain ads seem to follow you around the web and pop up on websites that often have nothing to do with the ad you’re seeing.

You’ve just been retargeted.

Retargeting, or remarketing as it’s also called, is all the rage these days and here’s why. Most web pages convert something in the order of 2% of traffic on the first visit. Unconverted visitors click away, usually lost forever. “Convert” simply means you buy a product or take some other action the website owner or advertiser wants you to take.

But, what if advertisers could exploit that first contact and repeatedly present their offer until you accept?

<p>Eventually, the offer is too good to resist.</p>

Eventually, the offer is too good to resist.


Let’s face it, we all lead busy lives. When it comes to websites we’re “skimmers”, often spending no more than a few seconds on a page before moving on.

Add to this the possibility of being distracted by a ping from Facebook, mail arriving in your inbox or dashing off to pick the kids up from school, and the chances of you completing a particular action plummets.


That’s why they use retargeting to repeatedly present you with the same offer knowing that you’re far more likely to convert the second, third or fourth time you encounter the ad.

Retargeting is intended to repeatedly re-engage the 98% of bounced traffic that doesn’t make a decision on the first pass.


Retargeting is a “cookie-based” technology; in essence it’s fairly straightforward. You view a web page or an ad and your browser is automatically “cookied” with an unobtrusive bit of Javascript code. A cookie can also be called a pixel. You don’t even know you’ve been cookied, but that little piece of code allows advertisers to follow you all over the web.

The next time you go browsing online, the retargeting provider knows exactly where to serve the ad, thanks to the code your browser previously accepted.


The reason for the upsurge in retargeting is that it works incredibly well.

<p>Advertisers know you'll eventually pull out your credit card.</p>

Advertisers know you'll eventually pull out your credit card.

As soon as you view an advert or show interest in a product, you immediately climb to the next rung of the marketing ladder. You move from being a cold prospect to a qualified prospect. In marketing terms, you’re now a much more valuable commodity.

Here are some of the main reasons retargeting works so well:

- You’re already familiar and therefore more comfortable with the brand being presented.

- You’ve shown at least an initial interest in the product so should convert to a sale more easily than a cold prospect.

- It’s generally accepted in marketing circles that you may need to be exposed to a product as many as 7 times before making a buying decision.


Fortunately, there’s a simple solution if the prospect of being retargeted is something that concerns or might potentially annoy you.

Retargeting is cookie-based. You simply need to clear your browser cookies and it should all go away. How you clear cookies depends on the browser you use. You’ll often find the option to clear your cookies in the “settings” tab of your browser.

If in doubt, a quick Google search should set you on the right track.

About the author:

Les is a full-time Writer and Author. He can be commissioned at

Before You Go

Popular in the Community