Be Careful What You (Remarket) For

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it a few hundred times more on this site in the future– remarketing works. There’s a combination of factors at work; frequency of messaging, “last click”/”last view” attribution, and the likelihood that a previous visitor to your site would have eventually converted anyway. It’s a big business in display advertising, one that most advertisers would be foolish to not take advantage of.

Most advertisers, that is.

There’s something to be said for not embarrassing your customer base. Considering many of use use computers & tablets in the office, on the bus, in restaurants– damn near everywhere –the chance that someone we know, or don’t, could be looking over our shoulders while browsing the world wide webs is rather high. Not to mention the fact that many families, couples, and other close inhabitants have a higher likelihood of sharing a single computer, often without utilizing unique log-ins, meaning cookies are shared between users.

That’s why, for certain products & services, remarketing should be handled with care.

I’m pretty sure I don’t need to spell out for you any products specifically, so let’s just say this: advertising sensitive products can be a delicate matter. There are already strict restrictions on Big Pharma advertisers, but medicines certainly aren’t the only goods that Joe Q. Public may not want others to know he or she uses. This can especially be true with display advertising– I’m certain you could imagine some products, although SFW, you wouldn’t want to see dancing around the top & right rail of every site you visit.

Not only do you risk alienating your core audience through the remarketing of sensitive products, but you may find yourself on the blacklists of many big publishers if someone raises a fuss.

There are, however, methods of utilizing remarketing for these products & services a bit more discreetly. For example, Google AdWords and Chitika offer text-based ads, which won’t necessarily stand-out to anyone observing or using someone else’s computer. Ads can be written in a manner where, unless you’re very familiar with that particular product, they don’t mean much to people outside of the very specific target audience. For display, it is a little more tricky– again, though, the proper wording (and non-descript images) can make all the difference.

Has anyone had any experience with advertising sensitive products, especially in the case of using remarketing? I’d love to hear your methods!

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