This is logical advice -- and probably something I should start doing. However, if ads chasing us around the Web are threatening the surprise of the gift and force us to browse incognito, then the advertiser misses out on collecting data about valuable consumers during the holiday season. The ads go from being “well targeted” to detrimental. It makes smart advertising look dumb.
@mp_tyler I always shop in incognito mode :)— Gerry Manolatos (@gmanolatos) December 18, 2014
Many gifts are exchanged from within the same home, so what of shared computers or tablets? Perhaps fingerprint login technology could help marketers distinguish between two users of the same device.
In reality, this “problem” is probably small enough that it’s not really a problem at all. Sites like Facebook require personal login information, after all (though retargeted ads do appear throughout the Web). The more interesting side of this conundrum is that it reveals technology as, well, not human.
Marketers have beaten the “contextual relevancy” drum for some time, but an inability for ads to be discreet shows that “contextual” does not yet extend beyond an ad system’s ability to understand the content of the page the ad is served on. The ads do not yet fully understand the context of why the consumer was shopping in the first place.
And maybe that’s just an inherent flaw with personalized ads on the Web; maybe there is no real solution, other than the consumer going incognito.
Then again, for “personalized” ads, shouldn’t consumers expect something that understands them a little better?
"Sad santa" image via Shutterstock.