Have you ever searched for a product or service, visited the website and left without buying, only to find out you are later stalked by that product or service while you are surfing other websites? It’s like that product or service unleashed a tenacious sales person who was determined to sell that product or service to you. And, the stalking happens for days and weeks afterwards!
You are not the only person who has experienced this. In fact, this marketing technique is happening more and more to consumers. The marketing tool is called remarketing or personalized retargeting ads and they can be annoying, to say the least.
Personalized Retargeting Ads
Some of these ads are potentially embarrassing, like the diet ads mentioned in this New York Times article. In fact, Marketing Land and Survey Monkey conducted a survey of 400 American consumers to find out how they felt about retargeting, and 53 percent of web surfers expressed concern that they were being tracked while they were online. Only 8.65 percent of consumers said they were reminded to revisit a retailer’s website, while a mere 7.37 percent of consumers said they responded to a special offer in a remarketing ad. 46.15 percent of consumers said they ignore remarketing ads, while 37.82 percent of consumers said they were put off by the ads.
Lawyers and Retargeting
This leads to the question: Should lawyers use retargeting as a marketing technique? LegalZoom has been known to follow visitors around the web. For some people, that could cause trouble. Let’s say, for example, that a victim of domestic violence visits the website looking for specific advice about divorce on a shared computer in the home. Later that day, her husband (and abuser) comes home, accesses the computer, and the repetitive LegalZoom retargeting sparks suspicion and triggers him to abuse her again.
Every Internet Surfer is Different – Every Client is Different
Of course, this is a worst case scenario situation, but it is a very true possibility. Not everyone is aware of how the internet works, let alone aware of how remarketing works, so there are plenty of people who could be caught off guard when they start visiting other websites, only to find they are being haunted by their past. Everyone’s personal home life is different and we could not possible know how retargeting ads could affect each person. People have already testified about how diet ads made them feel fat, and that’s on a much less personal level than what most people need attorneys for.
This is not to say that all attorneys across America should not use retargeting as a marketing tool or technique, because law firm marketing decisions are made on an individual level. The marketing that works for one law firm may not work for another law firm, and vice versa. But, remarketing is not the type of marketing that law firms should jump into without looking at the potential worst case scenarios, which can be life-threatening, at worst, like the example we mentioned.