In the age of the Internet, many advertisers have chosen to take a modern approach in the way they influence people to buy their products. I’m speaking of “ad retargeting,” or the way ads advertising for the products of retailers whose sites you’ve visited seem to follow you around on the internet. By doing this, retailers are able to constantly “retarget” consumers with ads for products that they have already expressed interest in by visiting the retailer’s website.
By many accounts, this phenomenon seems like a sneaky, annoying, and sort of creepy way to tailor ads directly to the interests of consumers. Under the right circumstances, however, this method works very well for converting casual shoppers into purchasers. This is because regardless of how annoying or stalker-ish the retargeting ads may seem, they keep products at the forefront of a consumer’s attention, as if the person is constantly “window shopping.” The practice is also relatively low cost, so it is a win-win for the retailer and advertiser.
Clearly, this is a fairly ingenious marketing campaign–tailoring ads directly to the consumer is a huge advantage over the general sort of advertising you might see in a newspaper or magazine. Of course, advertisers try to guess at what ads might be relevant for the consumers of newspapers, magazines, and television, but it is not quite so personally relevant as it would be under the ad retargeting method. Considering Charles Dickens’ interests in advertising, I think it’s safe to say that he would find ad retargeting to be a brilliant advertising method. Dickens clearly thought about the usefulness and relevance of his ads often, as the products advertised in his periodicals were often related to the subject that he was writing about. If he were a modern day publisher with an online periodical, he very well may have allowed for ad retargeting to be used on his site to make his advertising methods even more effective–and rake in more money.