Another Zappos Online Marketing Gem

By Grant Arnott | 19 Jul 2011

Would you like a cookie? With the tightening of rules around behavioural targeting and personalisation in the UK, Zappos delivers an excellent example of permission-based display advertising.

Browsing The Guardian online on the couch on a Tuesday night greedily devouring the decimation of the mighty News Corp before the grilling of Murdoch Senior, Junior and Rebekah Brooks, two things struck me:

1. I’m a loser, and

2. Zappos is simply AWESOME at online marketing.

In Europe, a tightening of the rules around personalised marketing and advertising is having implications for digital marketers using cookies and behavioural targeting. Gaining explicit permission by the customer to accept cookies is now going to be a requirement, according to the proposed regulations, and super-etailers are already making changes.

Here is a sample of the leaderboard from Zappos served up by Criteo when I landed at The Guardian.

I presume my past browsing at Zappos for research for Power Retail must have been recorded by cookie and being the smart digital marketers Zappos are, the items served up would be reflective of my past browsing behaviour. Cool, but what really impressed me was the message I found irresistible:
‘Why am I seeing these ads? Learn more’

I clicked through to a Zappos-branded landing page served by Criteo, which you can view part of below.  

Here’s how the rest of the page reads:

Knowing this, we’re able to create personalized ads for you. These ads feature some of the products you looked at on as well as some related products.

Importantly, no personal information of any kind was shared with any of the sites we advertise on. Everything is anonymous.

Now that you know more about how it works, if you still prefer not to see any personalized ads from Zappos, just click here.

A company called Criteo helps Zappos to create these kinds of personalized ads. No personal information of any kind is shared with Criteo.

You can learn more about Criteo and their privacy policies here.

    * Please note that this opt-out relies on a cookie. If you delete all your cookies, we will no longer know that you have opted out.
    If you want to block Criteo banners from your Internet browser, instructions are available here.  

    This opt-out only applies to the retargeting service provided by Criteo, and will not disable advertisements displayed by companies other than Criteo. Note: Other companies than Criteo offer this type of retargeting service. To learn more and know which companies currently display retargeted advertisement, click here.

Your status with Criteo is as follows:

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From there, the customer has the option to provide feedback on whether or not they like personalised ads.

“This is a good example of remarketing, where Zappos has recognised that some people are going to be uncomfortable with the approach… a nice way to deal with it,” says Matt Hampshire, CEO, contiigo, a leading cross-channel retail solutions provider. “Remarketing is offered as standard by Google now via their display network – and it works, so we’re going to see a lot more of it.
“As it’s cookie based, there isn’t too much to be worried about, but where it gets a bit more interesting is when companies start to tie the content their customers are viewing into their loyalty programs and customer databases. We are being asked about this a lot more these days. It can be simple – like an abandoned cart email – through to more sophisticated segmentation based on products or categories viewed, and the marketing is more personal because they can link your behaviour to your name, and the rest of your profile.
“It will be interesting to see if we go down the path of Euro’s cookie opt-in approach.  There are actually more new types of marketing that we are talking about with clients – like the ability to post a ‘shout-out’ to their facebook status, or to tweet on their behalf when they purchase something in-store.  All these are going to require some new level of ‘opt-in’ so I suspect we’ll just come up with a ‘catch-all’ level of marketing/social opt-in for all of them.”

Who thinks Australia is headed the same way as Europe with regulation on personalisation? Who doesn’t?

Regardless, how good is this gushingly conscientious campaign from Zappos? You tell me. I love it, and I’m not easily impressed–oohhh, look, a blue car!

Now, back to The Guardian.

1 Comment

One thought on “Another Zappos Online Marketing Gem”

  1. Debra S says:

    meh- I love firefox’s ad blocker thingy- I block ’em all. annoying arent’ they…. get out of my face, I say

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