Does anyone know if it is possible to retarget based on what websites a person visits?
I am looking to help a client find people who have visited their competitors using a retargeting display or text campaign.
Yes and no. Retargeting, although technically possible in some ways in this case, would have many privacy problems that would negatively affect your client's brand when (not if... when) it's found out. For instance, sniffing browser history is technically possible, but it will get you sued. (Ask Interclick.) Sniffing search history is possible too, but you are much better off with SEM in that case. The most ethical, and perhaps most effective, means to your end is to take out ads on relevant blogs or media outlets (probably premium cost) to set the cookie for interested folks and then retarget based on that cookie on broad, low-price inventory.
The way I see it, if your client's competitors' websites are part of Google's ad network, then you can select to display your Google ad's on your client's competitors' websites and then retarget them from there.
The simplest (but unlikely) way you can retarget is if somebody visits your client's site directly from a competitor's site. All you'd have to do here is look for the HTTP Referer header. But the problem is most (or any) of your client's traffic won't be coming from a competitor's site.
Another option could be what Google Adwords calls "remarketing". They'll show ads for your client's site on other sites if the person viewing has visited your client's site before. And with how many sites use Google Ads, you'll have a decent chance of showing up. The downside is you may end up appearing on non-competitor sites. Here's some more info: http://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2453998?hl=en
Related to Adwords remarketing, a similar thing you could do is try to see what ad networks your client's competitors use and see if they offer a similar program. Chances are they do.
And here's a few other companies I'm not familiar with that claim to do retargeting:
-- https://www.perfectaudience.com/ (on Facebook)
The answer is absolutely yes - here's an article comparing 4 companies: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/comparing-the-top-4-retargeting-companies
If you are trying to retarget people that have been to corporate sites that don't serve ads as part of an ad network it is not possible to do so.
The way retargeting works is when someone visits a website (ex. Amazon), that site cookies the visitor. From that point on, when that user visits sites that are part of an ad network, Amazon can tell the ad exchanges that it would like to serve an ad whenever that cookie is detected. Basically they make a bid to show the ad and if they are successful, their ad gets displayed.
I guess I should have said "legally". Thanks for the great answer.
Hi Jim, Add remarketing to your site. I would start here:
This sounds like a technical question, so here goes:
As ever, the answer to any technical request is 'yes' - it's just a question of time and money (and legality).
There are two ways I know of without giving it too much thought:
1. Have a software developer write a passive virus that infects as many customer's machines as possible. Have it report back to your servers where they have been. This is most likely illegal in your country so don't try it. And if anyone finds out (they will) then your company is toast. Not practical or legal.
2. Have someone go work for your competitor companies and leak server log information to your technical people. This is also illegal, and there are numerous technical impracticalities with matching your access logs to theirs. This is due to the issue of dynamic IP address allocation - which affects most domestic users of the Internet. So again, not practical or legal.
There are perhaps other ways of hacking into or gaining physical access to third-party sites like Google Analytics - good luck with breaking all those laws. Just look at jail time as a period in your life where you don't have to pay rent.
But seriously, in these cases I usually recommend asking the question: "Do you really need to know that?" Couldn't you simply ask the visitor to your site?