When Behavioural Targeting Needs an ASBO

ASBO? That’s Anti-Social Behaviour Order for non-British readers. This blog post could be called “what happens when behavioural targeting goes wrong” or “hunted by the remarketer”.

The upshot? KLM is stalking me.

Here’s what happened. I bought a plane ticket to Amsterdam for a bout of gastronomy and another task ticked off the foodie to-do list. After a spot of intensive searching, I plumped for KLM. Bought the ticket, took the flight, fab weekend. Voila!

Or so I thought…

I started to get a nagging feeling that wasn’t quite right. First on a visit to Technews.am:

KLM Advert on Technews.am

and then checking out a presentation on Slideshare:

KLM Advert on Slideshare

and a spot of research on Drupal themes:

KLM Advert on Drupal-Theme.net

Seeing a theme yet? Now my Dutch isn’t up to much, or in fact anything. But KLM’s creative agencies were doing their job and I started seeing the ads all over the place, including whilst I was blogging for work on Chinwag.com.

Thing is. I’d bought my ticket. Wasn’t buying a second one. Not a frequent traveller on that route. So, doing some guesswork on the targeting logic.

First-time buyer scores a ticket. Let’s remarket to that sucker on every site that runs network ads (DoubleClick, I’d wager). But that logic is totally broken. How many times am I going to go back and buy a ticket? Straight away? Unlikely.

Re-inforce their brand. Well, yes send me useful emails. Let me check-in online. Provide great service, all good brand stuff but quite it with the constant ads. If this is behavourial targeting, then it’s at best wasteful, and at worst rapidly becoming anti-social.

Also published on Medium.


Inquisitive. Hopeful. Jovial. Cantankerous. Digital marketer. Event organiser. Long-time fan of tech, collaboration and innovation. Exploring digital, social, business, technology, society, psychology & startups. Founder Chinwag, Digital Mission, Pitch NYC, ChinwagPsych. Former Exec Dir, Social Media Week London. More short stuff @toodlepip on Twitter.

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