"Stalking" is normally a bad thing. When it comes to online shopping, however, it could work in your favor.
Ben Lloyd is the president of Amplify Interactive in Southeast Portland. His job is to help businesses get found through Google searches. He prefers the term "retargeting." He took our KATU Problem Solvers shopping to show us how it works.
Let's say you were looking at a sweater on Nordstrom's website and decide not to buy. As you continue to surf the web, you may see Nordstrom sweaters popping up in ads on the right side of your screen. No matter where you go - on YouTube, on a news website and even on KATU.com - the ad follows. That's because Nordstrom's website placed a tracker or a "cookie" on your browser, allowing it follow you through the net. When you go to another site that as an empty spot at its ad table, the cookie serves us Nordstrom's ad, all in hopes that you will take a bite.
"It gives advertisers an opportunity to reach out to you again," explains Lloyd. After several days or even weeks, the retailer may even decide to sweeten the deal by offering discounts to try to lure you back. "You're going to get advertised to anyways," says Lloyd. "At least you're seeing stuff that you were probably already interested in."
It is a growing trend. Right now, about 80% of Amplify Interactive's clients are retargeting.
It is possible to remove cookies from your browser. You need to go into your browsers settings or tool preferences. However, if you do that, it will limit your ability to do other things online, like retain your history on certain sites.