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Creeper Ads
January 17, 2020
By Brett Grischo


You know how you search for something on Google and then you get ads on all your social media and smart phone for something related to that search? Like a few years ago when I was invited to a string of black-tie events but I didn’t go to most of them because I didn’t own a tux and I didn’t want to rent something some high school kid soiled on Prom night so I decided to buy a tuxedo and googled where to buy one?

Well, for the next few weeks, I had tuxedo ads bombarding me more often than the spam phone calls informing me my social security has been suspended AND the IRS is going to arrest me. Remember when AOL somehow got eleventyseven bajillion CDs in your lap in the late 90s (sorry Millennials – you have no idea!)? I think that person invented retargeting.

The problem with my tuxedo experience is that my search revealed a couple places that sell tuxes and being the dude I am, I went out and bought one within a day. I didn’t shop around or try on more than two. I hunted and conquered. Therefore, all those retargeted digital ads were a waste of money and impressions by the advertisers. I can see delivering a few ads that day and perhaps the next few days, but not for a few weeks. Buying a tuxedo is not like purchasing a yacht or a manufacturing plant – I mean, yeah, you gotta shop around a bit for those.

The good news is savvy media buyers know how to run retargeting digital campaigns. Like my cohorts here at Explore Communications. They know how to target them with precision, how to pace them, how to track them and how to know when to shut them down. Some marketers and agencies handling tuxedo clients apparently don’t know these tools of the trade.

Not only is shutting down these retargeting campaigns after the appropriate flow (this is called frequency capping) important for cost efficiencies and relevancy, it can seriously affect someone’s reputation and integrity. I have a buddy who for some reason clicked on an ad for lingerie and now he’s getting served up countless ads for bras and panties in his social media.

Why he was browsing women’s unmentionables is really none of my business, however I’m doing my part to get the word out via this blog and storytelling at the local watering hole. Shop talk, ya know? Sure, perhaps the advertiser makes no judgement and wants to cater to men who like wearing women’s intimate apparel but after getting no response from my anonymous friend (name may or may not rhyme with bomb and its definitely not mom) they should have stopped targeting and retargeting my buddy. Now he’s afraid to show me this weekend’s NFL spreads on his phone because he doesn’t want me to see all the Victoria’s Secret ads!

The beauty of ‘creeper ads’ is that when they are relevant AND timely, consumers don’t mind them at all and actually appreciate them. But when they aren’t targeted correctly or if they run too long and too often, it can have a negative effect on the consumer’s perception of the brand.

There are ways to combat these issues and we’ve been implementing them for countless clients here at Explore Communications. Google us to learn more and I promise we won’t show up in your Instagram feed tomorrow. But we could.

2 responses to “Creeper Ads”

    • Thanks Vicki! And congratulations – you are the very first ever comment on this blog that has been approved (and isn’t spam). Woot woot! This blog is gonna be a big deal!

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