Some of the personalized advertising out there is getting too spooky. I'm fairly frequently seeing products I just was looking at in an online store immediately afterward in an ad on a news website.
A few years ago, I wrote a blog post advocating this type of advertising, "What to advertise when there is no commercial intent?" (http://goo.gl/iZi3P9
). The point of that article was that, if you have no immediate purchase intent -- someone isn't doing a web search for a product -- then you might have to reach back in the person's history to find the last purchase intent they had and build on that.
However, this did not mean that you should just show the last product I looked at, which is what a lot of these ads are doing. If I look at a chair, don't follow me around the web showing me ads for that same chair over and over again. That's spooky and not helpful.
Personalized ads should help people discover things they don't know about related to past purchase intent. If I look at a chair, show me similar furniture and coupons and deals related in some way to that chair and that store. Don't just show me the same chair again. I know about that chair. Show me something I don't know. Help me discover something I haven't found yet.
Personalization, including personalized advertising, is about helping people discover things they did not find on their own. Personalization is not re-finding, just showing what I found before, just exposing my history. Personalization is discovery.