Google Retargeting Adverts get muted
At the beginning of the year, Google announced it was going to introduce a ‘mute’ button for reminder adverts also known as retargeting adverts. That’s those creepy ads that pop up on your side bar, reminding you of that half an hour earlier in the day when you fell down an internet hole and ended up browsing holidays to the Maldives. Then the adverts follow you from browser to browser, across all your devices and social media platforms, enticing you with pictures of white sand and palm trees as you clutch a hot cup of tea in your draughty office, even though such a holiday is completely out of the question.

When these ads were first introduced in 1998, they had a massive Click Through Rate (CTR) of 44%. But now, everyone and their mother is using this channel, and consumers can’t move online without being served a multitude of adverts for products they viewed weeks ago or 20 minutes ago, and they are understandably growing weary.

Pestering Adverts

The mute feature was first introduced by Google in 2012, and was used extensively for blocking display ads, but this is the first time consumers have been offered the option to mute retargeted ads.

Whilst many people will rejoice at this news, there are also others who find some reminder ads useful. Personally, I would much prefer an advert to be relevant to me or to remind me of products I may have viewed before being drawn into the latest Buzzfeed clickbait, as it saves me time having to search for the product again once I emerge from the list of top toys of the 80s or what the stars of Game of Thrones like to eat for breakfast. However sometimes these ads can become irritating even for the likes of me.

Ethical Advertising

The onus is on advertisers to be ethical when subjecting users to any advert, but this is particularly the case with retargeting adverts. Indeed, the kind of hard sell delivered by retargeted ads can be damaging to brands. Developing and building a respected brand using a combination of marketing channels, adverts and touch points throughout the customer journey is a more effective way of advertising and increasing conversion rates.

Take, for example, Tommee Tippee, the number one baby feeding accessories brand in the UK. Not only has it invested heavily in a dynamic digital programme including social media marketing, SEO, PPC and online retailer activity, it also receives a substantial amount of PR and editorial endorsement from the parenting press and the parenting blog community. This serves to build trust in the brand and to foster engagement between the brand and its customers.

This is not to say that retargeting ads are always a bad idea, but it must be part of a wider strategy in order for it to contribute to the development of a brand. Utilising tools available when setting up campaigns such as capping the frequency of adverts shown in a particular time period or to a particular user is good practice as it helps to limit the annoyance to the user.

Engage with your audience, don’t sell to them

Due to the continuous advancement in technology, there are so many different creative ways of engaging with your audience as a business. More than ever, customers want to form relationships and it’s easier than ever to do so with social media.

Whilst retargeting ads certainly have their place, it is important to make sure they are just one element of a wider programme of digital marketing activity which places the customer experience at its heart.