Don’t Let Retargeted Ads Ruin Christmas!

Christmas gift buying is in full-swing.  I, like many other people, do almost all my Christmas shopping online.  While that’s great for finding the perfect gift at the right price, it’s also easy to blow the surprise by getting caught up in retargeting ads, especially if you share a computer with the person your shopping for.

Retargeting ads are ads that are delivered to users after they visit a website, either to entice them to complete a sale or to keep a brand name at the top of their mind.  Trouble is that if you go to several sites shopping for the same thing, one of them is probably going to advertise to you to come back and complete your sale.  These ads can be delivered to a user for days or even weeks; share a compute with your gift’s recipient and the ads could give away the surprise.

Retargeting can give away your gift-buying surprises.

Another way that the surprise might be ruined is through your browser’s history.  Someone doesn’t even have to snoop very far because the browser history often auto-populates the address bar when someone starts shopping, and websites often use the product name in the URL which is a dead giveaway.

The best way to keep your gifts a secret is to use a computer that the person you’re shopping for can’t access, like a computer at work.  If that’s not an option, the next best thing is to use the private mode on your browser.  Private mode only stores cookies for a short time and will remove all of your browser’s history upon exiting.  To open a private tab on Chrome press Ctrl+Shift+N, and on Firefox and Internet Explorer press Ctrl+Shift+P.