Dear Retargeting Ads,Engagement Announcement

We need to have a talk about your aggressive and unrelenting interest in my pending marriage.

At this point, it seems like no one is more invested than you. My fiance and I have happily let life get in the way: We’ve bought a car, moved to a new city, changed jobs, and, most recently, bought a house. And yet you’ve continued to track me, for three years, through all of these changes.

The best I can figure, you’ve chosen me as an ideal candidate based on my Facebook relationship status, and, possibly, my Pinterest account. But I also happen to have two friends who’ve been engaged on Facebook—as a joke—since 2008, who you’re not targeting. And Pinterest wedding boards are an epidemic, devouring the time and attention of hopeful teenagers and engaged women alike (though women in committed, but not engaged, relationships tend to keep these boards a secret away from your prying retargeting, and their significant others).

In any case, its gotten out of hand.

Your data is old, Retargeting Ads, even bordering on generic. I have little to no search behavior indicating I’m in the market for your services. So, your acts of targeting me with ads for bridesmaids dresses, photographers, and caterers are doing little more than proving you know as much about me as any other stranger on the Internet who can Google my name.

Retargeting Ads, I think its time we part ways. But before we do, here’s some advice for how to make our relationship work in the future.

Be More Personal

As a customer, I expect to be intelligently presented with products, content, or opportunities I will like. And there are a lot of brands out there doing this well. They are succeeding by combining deeper customer knowledge with on-site behavior, and serving ads in my preferred social channels to bring me back to the site. The best are carrying that experience back through to their site.

It’s time to start thinking of display advertising as part of a larger, and more personal campaign.

Find a Good Fit

If you’re stopping your search for new customers at “engaged,” you’re leaving a lot of missed opportunities on the table.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to a wedding vendor that your clients are mostly engaged, so let’s take a deeper look: Do your customers have a common age range, social behavior, or brand affinities? What about one deviation up or down—how can you improve the experience and move those targets into high value customers?

Once you find the common thread, you’ll know how to attract the look-a-like customer.

Be Helpful

I know you’re in it for conversions, Retargeting Ads, and that’s good for your business, but what’s a good experience for your customers?

If you have customers spending days researching TVs and ultimately buying from you, don’t thank them for their purchase by showing them ads for their TV on every site or social network they visit. Instead, reach them before the research stage. Or, if you do want to wait until after purchase, serve them an ad that reinforces their buying decision.

I hope you take my advice, Retargeting Ads. If you do, maybe we can connect in the future on better terms.