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Retargeting? Be diligent and aware.

If you are using a digital re-marketer to syndicate display ads across their partner network, you should know that those ads will appear anywhere and everywhere the digital company has access across its network. That means your ad may appear on a controversial or fake news site that your customers may find objectionable.

Many of the re-marketers allow you to provide a list of URL exclusions so that your ads do not appear on those websites but you typically have to do the work to identify those sites. You may want to include in your privacy policy informing consumers that you audit those sites but that you may miss something and request that people inform you if they see your ad on a site with objectionable content.

If you don't know how re-marketing works than chances are this blog post is not for you. However, if you've engaged a digital marketing company you'll want to ask them if they have performed an audit and provided you the list of objectionable sites so you can review it.

Here's why this is important: We recently saw a Facebook post from a colleague calling for the boycott of a local business that appeared to advertise on a controversial fake news site. We cautioned the colleague in the comment thread and suggested they contact the local business directly to confirm they specifically chose to advertise on the objectionable site. We cautioned that the local business may be engaged in retargeting and therefore was likely unaware the ads appeared in places they would otherwise not wish to. Trouble is, our comment was buried by others jumping on the bandwagon to boycott said business.

Lesson: Be sure to be diligent about how and where you advertise. You wouldn't want the unintended consequences of a boycott to cause you to lose one precious customer due to a misunderstanding or lack of diligence on your part.

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