When ads target you on-line from where you’ve gone in the real world

If clicking on a website once and having its ads stalk you wherever you go on-line wasn’t enough, now there’s real world targeting.  Go to a physical store and they’ll re-target you online.

Now Facebook appears to be getting in the game.  Moshe Isaacian posted this screen grab to his twitter feed recently, showing a custom audience option in the ad sections, called Store Visits.


From anadvertiser perspective, it’s an interesting twist.  Being able to track in-store visits against ad campaigns to estimate how many customers actually visited after seeing an ad can be valuable information.  Then, imagine syncing that with credit card data that shows whether items in the ad were actually purchased and you can see how powerful the combination could be.

Facebook’s not alone.  Several marketers and advertisers are utilizing Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tracking to serve ads – both in-store and offline.  In some cases, using the retailers Wi-Fi system requires giving them permission to track.  In other cases, they just do it.

The most common application to date has been mobile geo-fencing or geo-conquesting.

In geo-fencing, advertisers buy a radius around a particular location.  It might be a restaurant that serves up coupons within a 5-mile area around their location, or a car dealer looking for more business from a particular area that has a special offer for people in a specific area code.

Geo-conquesting is a bit like buying your competitors’ keywords in search.  Advertisers target a radius around their business.  So when you’re looking up prices on-line while at the furniture store to see if you can get a better deal, you see ads for the competition to try to lure you away.

These practices can be effective.  They’ve mostly been limited to mobile campaigns.  Now that data will be more available on all platforms.

The power of marrying where you’ve gone on-line, with where you’ve gone physically, and your credit/purchase history can be an incredible target marketing tool.  It’s also open to abuse.

Of course Amazon has been mixing purchase data with web traffic for years.

Opting Out

User’s can opt out if they wish.  You can always turn off location-enabling for apps in iOS and Android, but it’s not off in the default position.  For social, turning it off also disables the ability to check-in, geo-tag a photo, or add a location to a post.