NOTE: this post originally appeared on the scratch blog on March 26, 2013
Previously, on the scratch blog:
Elan yammered on about how he thinks he is fat, and how it bothers him that his spammy online activities result in ad-upon-ad from companies trying to sell him weight loss solutions.
Elan Packer: Things you should know when you travel the Interweb
People on the Internet track things. They cookie (no, Elan, not THAT kind of cookie), tag and retarget. They hitch on to your online travels and try to deliver relevant—or in many cases seemingly NOT relevant (but based on your activity to date all the same)—messaging in the form of ads. Or they’re just trying to get as many impressions as possible. The strategies and tactics vary, but ultimately the facts remain:
- Where you go/where you have been is trackable.
- Your search habits are predictable/targetable.
- That said, just because you’ve entered a search term relevant to someone’s business, doesn’t mean you’re ready to be bombarded with their sales pitch, but this, clearly, happens.
- SEM and SEO retargeting.
- What route (paid/organic) did they take to get to your site, and what did they do once they got there?
- Combine those two factors and you have a “better” sense of that consumer’s behaviour.
- You can be targeted based on your email activity.
- Did you unsubscribe? Did you click on the link? Did you wait a week before you clicked on the link? Did you forward the email? Was there retargeting in the body of the email body, which doesn’t require you to do anything but open the email.
- You can retarget contextually.
- Inferences are made based on your online actions. If you are looking into airfare options to Florida, it’s possible that the airline in question, and local hotel are going to mutually benefit by targeting their respective site traffic.
Further… Elan, you’re not fat. You’re just big-boned. And that’s ok. We like you. We really, really like you. And, based on what we’ve just discussed… the Internet? It only knows what you tell it. Somehow, someway, you’ve either acted in such a way that the Internet can assume/infer fatness, or you’ve directly told it that you’re fat. Why would you do that? It’s just weird.
For some extra fun, just for Elan: A site for people addicted to Dr. Pepper.