Retargeted to Death

For those that spend money on Facebook Ads, here's a scary story for you.

  • This morning I went to Best Buy's website.
  • Later, I saw an ad from Best Buy on Facebook
  • And a short time after that, I saw the following ad from Honey: “Here's how to save money on your Best Buy order”

If you don't know Honey, it's a browser plug-in that automatically finds discount coupons for you on any website where you might buy something. Honey is also an affiliate, and they will make money from “referring” you to the site even though they did no work to refer you other than help you find a coupon.

So how does Honey know that I went to the Best Buy website?

There are only 3 answers:

  1. Best Buy let Honey target me
  2. Coincidence
  3. Facebook is targeting me

For #1, Best Buy isn't giving my data to an affiliate, nor are they allowing an affiliate to put a cookie on their site.

For #2, there are no such things as coincidences in ad-tech.

So the answer is #3.

So here's what I think happened.

  • This morning I went to Best Buy's website.
  • Best Buy has a Facebook cookie which they will later use to target me with ads
  • Later, I saw an ad from Best Buy on Facebook
  • Facebook knows I went to the Best Buy website this morning too
  • Facebook wants to find other advertisers besides Best Buy that I might be interested in
  • And a short time after that, I saw an ad from Honey
  • A good number of people who see this Honey ad after visiting the Best Buy website click on it

So there. Using Facebook cookies on your website encourages Facebook to show ads of your competitors to those people.

It makes sense right? If the customer came to your website, the best ads to show to them are yours (and your competitors). It's a double-edged sword.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.