What is remarketing? A not-so-scary answer. Probably.

Remarketing Defined

A few months ago I tried explaining remarketing to a group of somewhat social media savvy people. You know, people who like and use social media and know enough not to post photos they don’t want their kids to see.

Regular people.

Anyway, in attempting an explanation I ended up scaring everyone so I thought maybe, just maybe I could turn things around.

Maybe.

What is remarketing?

You know when you shop on Amazon and the boxes below show you what other people purchased? Well that’s kind of remarketing. Step one let’s say.

OK, so you’ve visited Amazon and you clicked on a couple things in the “other people purchased these products too” box. Maybe you even put something in your shopping cart. But then. You changed your mind.

Say it isn’t so!

So you move on. Bye bye Amazon, hello Facebook! Or Google, or whatever.You move on. While you’re browsing you happen to see…wait, what’s this? The same product you were just looking at on Amazon? Well it’s starting to look a bit more interesting now…hmm…

And you click on the link.

That, my friends, is remarketing.

So I understand why it’s scary. How did one website tell the other website what you were looking at? And what else does it know about you!?

I get it.

But the thing you have to keep in mind is you’re the one who told the Internet all it knows about you. No one else told the website anything. So if you don’t want websites to show you stuff you didn’t buy but might change your mind about, then you just need to give it a little less to go on.

Here are a couple quick tips to protect your privacy online

  • If you don’t want Facebook to know what you looked at on Amazon just clear your cache or turn on private browsing
  • Don’t fill in your social media profiles, especially your birthdate, address, phone number, etc.
  • Don’t put your social insurance number on online forms unless it’s your bank or for a credit check
  • Use a password safe to store your passwords—so they can be auto-generated and you don’t have to remember them. Of course this is awkward if you’re trying to log into apps on your phone…haven’t figured that one out yet
  • Don’t give your postal code when using your credit card…you might as well give the store your address, phone number, and middle name too

So, remarketing isn’t scary if you know what you’ve shared online. And if you think you’ve shared to much, time to do a profile purge! Have fun!

Something else to keep in mind is if you are successful in tricking the Internet you’re going to get a lot of non-relevant advertising. Like I do. For diaper coupons and hockey stat apps.