The 12 Days of Online Christmas Shopping

This has been my first working Christmas. There’s no more time to go and buy Christmas presents at a quiet moment and facing the immense crowds of Christmas shoppers on the weekend, standing hours at cash registers, is not something I have patience for. Therefore I have truly experienced the joys of online Christmas shopping this year. Here’s a small excerpt of the successes and failures of online retargeting that I noticed during my shopping experience.

Day 1: I look for a dress for the upcoming festivities. After shopping around a bit, I see one that I like but want to take some time to think about it.

Day 2: I get bombarded with ‘pink dresses’ on every online advert from one particular store.

Day 3: I get fed up with the adverts, clean out my cookies and buy a black dress from a different shop.

Day 4: I search for a pair of ski gloves for my holiday in the Alps, but don’t find anything I like.

Day 5:  I get flooded with more adverts for gloves and dresses… and much to my frustration accidentally click on one of them, which only makes it worse.

Day 6: I’m so sick of seeing these ads that I tweet how much I’m fed up with this shop on Twitter. A lot of people have the same experience and agree!

Day 7: I realize that I still need to buy a present for my brother so I’m on the look out.

Day 8: I see good review from a friend on Facebook about gaming headphones: perfect for my brother! So I do a quick, superficial research on the Internet.

Day 9: I do a little more research on the product and its functionalities, but also look at and compare other products and stores.

Day 10: I click through an ad served to me and decided to buy the headphones.

Day 11: I receive my package the very next day, I’m happy about the whole experience and tweet about it. I don’t see any other adverts from this store (even though I still see gloves and dresses everywhere).

Day 12: I realize I could also buy a blender for my mum on the same site so I browse around again and order for her too.

Retargeting is really an interesting process.

It was clear to me that the gloves & dresses stores didn’t use a Smart Retargeting method, like IgnitionOne implements for its clients. They just looked at the category/product I had looked at last and didn’t know my real interest. They also just tried to show me their adverts as much as possible in the hope that I would finally click on it.

It was obvious that the headphone store had a different strategy. It knew my true interest, and my click path. By using IgnitionOne’s technology, this website scored my propensity to buy. As my score increased, the technology took into account my ‘undeclared interest’. This means not just showing the last product visited but the one that has the highest score. The algorithm calculated when I had reached my critical buying intention score and served me a targeted advert with a very interesting offer (discount + free shipping) whilst browsing that lowered my purchasing barrier.  The company tracked how my interest was increasing and then calculated the perfect time to show me just one  advert with an interesting offer.

When considering both unique retargeting structures, it is apparent to me why one advertising technique seemed less intrusive than the other, and why I chose one experience, and thus one product, over the other.

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