Category: Advertising

A mobile phone displaying a map with various adverts popping out of the locations.

Advertisers snooping? Stop the tracking cookies

Ever had the feeling that you are being watched. You visit Amazon and look at iPhone headphones, then jump over to YouTube and watch a video but the adverts are suddenly all for iPhone headphones. You go to check you Gmail, and more adverts for headphones. Then you pop by Facebook and more adverts for headphones. No matter where you go, those iPhone headphones just keep following you. Truly you are being watched. Many internet marketing companies are tracking every page you visit and purchase you make, using tracking cookies. They know a huge amount about you and they use that to sell you things.

Understandably, many people worry about these tracking cookies and their adverts. The EU made a law requiring websites to inform you of the cookies and seek your permission to use them. This resulted in a mass of pop-ups on telling that “this site uses cookies” which you probably just ignore – but should you? Should we just accept this snooping into our online lives and is there really anything you can do to stop them tracking you?

Well, in fact, you can opt out of these ad tracking cookie systems. You’ll still see ads and these firms will still make money, but you won’t be having the feeling that someone is watching you. It isn’t perfect. The opt-outs usually also use cookies to log that status so if you clear your cookies, use another machine, or re-install your system, then you will need to repeat the opt-out process again. Also, the companies don’t really want you to opt out, so they have gone out of their way to make you go out of your way if you want to actually opt out. There’s no single off switch and you have to run around a huge number of sites, clicking opt out on each of them.

Is it worth it? Well, I opted out about a year ago, and I like it. I still see ads, but they are different ads. The ads are often less relevant to me than they were before, but that is kind of the idea here.

Why not just use an ad blocker plugin? Well, they are far from perfect. For a start, many publishers simply block their content if they detect an add blocker. Furthermore, the ongoing tit for tat between the advertisers and the blocker means that the blocker might not always stop the tracking even if it blocks the display of the ad. Finally, this method, of opting out, is within the advertiser’s system and they are required by law in many countries to do this, so you can be moderately sure that they won’t circumvent it.

For google, go to //
Make sure to turn off all three settings for signed in “Ads based on your interests”, and on the next page, signed out “Ads based on your interests” and “Google Search Ads based on your interests”

Google also uses the Doubleclick cookie and opting out of that requires you to download Google’s plugin from //

You might also want to review your Google search history and delete that too. Yes, they have everything searched for file and you can view it. // and also

For Yahoo! group adverts there are several places you need to go:

Network Advertising has an opt out page for many smaller ad companies. Facebook is one of the firms listed so you can opt out of Facebook’s tracker here. Their site doesn’t work too well. You have to click the “choose all companies” opt out button several times as it only opted me out of 5 or 6 out of 110 each time:

Digital Advertising Aliance (DAA) also has the same tool and lets you opt out of many ad providers:

To opt out of Amazon tracking, you can use the DAA link above or go to

For Microsoft (Bing) you should head over to
Also if you have Windows 10:
– Click or tap the Start button.
– Click or tap Settings.
– Click or tap Privacy and then turn off Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.

Just like google, Bing also stores all your search history. Unlike Google, they don’t make you re-enter your password to view it. So if you boyfriend leaves his laptop open why on the toilet, you can just have a gander at how he search for “Brazilian fart porn” at 22:43 on Sept 12, 2016.

Blackhawk drops leaflets

Leaflets, Flyers and doorhangers

Many small businesses use leaflet drops as part of their advertising and marketing activities. They may be handed out in the street, at the entrance to a building, placed on peoples doors, cars or into letterboxes. However the distribution method works, the process of designing the campaign remains largely the same.

Leaflet drops work through a numbers game. For every X many thousand flyers you hand out, you will get Y new leads which in turn lead to Z sales. The difference between X and Y is huge. You could hand out many thousands of flyers just to get one sales lead. It is important to understand this before you start. A common mistake with leaflet drops is to just not hand out enough of them to have any effect. People miss-estimate the conversion ratio, they miss-estimate the time it takes to deliver thousands of flyers. After handing out 5,000 flyers, you might feel you’ve done a good days work but you’ll likely be disappointed with the rewards. To get the response to your flyers you have to hand out enough of them. If you are serious about this as a marketing method, put your hand in your pocket and pay out for many tens of thousands of flyers and put in the weeks of leg work required to deliver them all.

The user Crabcake Jonny gives an example of the sort of numbers game involved. Jonny works in insurance and uses doorhangers to provide his leads. He says:

It’s taken them around 2 to 3 weeks to get them out in the past. My return in the past has been .05% closing 1 out of 6 with average premium of around $3,100.


10,000 X .05 = 50 leads = 8 apps X $3,100 = $24,800 AV X 20% = $4,960.

I do indeed personally place 200 per hour in townhome areas – 2 hrs per day = 10 hours per week = 2,000 hangers which means in 2.5 week you’ll have placed 5K worth of business.

Notice that he does 10,000 doorhangers, he delivers 200 per hour, it takes him 3 weeks to delver the all and he only gets 50 new leads for all that work. Jonny’s saving grace is that he has a good lead to sales conversion rate and a high income per sale. If you were selling a lower priced or had a poor lead to sales conversion then the product then the numbers just wouldn’t be profitable.

This is just one example. The numbers for your leaflet drop might vary considerably. I’ve seen some people claiming conversion rate of 1 lead for every 20 leaflets while others get just 1 lead for every 3,000 leaflets. However the numbers work for you, the more leaflets you deliver the more effective your marketing will be.

Many leaflet drops simply had one flyer to everyone they can. Whither it is people walking past the agent or put on someone’s door, everyone gets one. This lacks targeting. A great many leaflets are going to go to people who have no interest in your product or service what so ever. To increase the bang for buck of your campaign, you should try to target your market.

For example, if you have a service designed for people who own cars, you don’t hand out your leaflets to people waiting at a bus stop because they clearly don’t own cars. Instead you would put the leaflets onto car windows in a car park. This will save you time and money and provide more leads for your effort.

It is important to research before you start that your target market is large enough. If you find there only are 3,000 potential customers in your target area then you won’t get the number large enough to see any conversions as described in the previous section. A smaller market sector like that might be better targeted by a more personal direct approach than the stand off effect of flyer drops.

Reducing dropped adds
You always know someone is doing a leaflet drop further up the street long before you see the agent because you see the litter from the many discarded flyers dropped without even being read. This in part can be reduced by targeting your campaign. If people are really interested in your ad then they will keep it. If you are giving the flyers to the wrong people, then they will be discarded quickly.

Some things that will help increase retention of the leaflets and reduce droppage:

  1. Include some special offer coupon on the leaflet, requiring the people to bring the leaflet to your sales area.
  2. Add a competition to the leaflet. This not only requires people to keep the leaflet but also ensures you capture their name, address, telephone and email at the same time.
  3. Make the leaflet into something useful. For example print it on a shopping back or a common one in Japan is to print onto the side of packet of tissue papers. People will keep this item because it is useful even if they are not initially interested in what you are selling.

People rarely by instantly when presented with a new offer. It takes time to build familiarity. Also your drop just might not have happened at the time they were wanting to buy. Repeating your campaign again and again is important to creating an effect in your market segment. Plan to repeat your leaflet drop three or six times at first before trying to gauge the effect it is having. Each time you repeat, you will have more impact that before as people get to know you and your service.

Call to action
What is the flyer asking people to do. What do you want recipients to do next. Are they to telephone, email, visit a web page, come to your office or what? Many flyers just offer all the contact details of the agent and don’t give a clear path. People may choose the path that is easiest for them, not the path that is most effective for your marketing. For example, if people have to come to your store to purchase something, then telephone enquiries are not really useful to you. You should make it clear that customers should come to your store. Make that action big and strong and reduce the prominence or omit other details. If you want people to telephone you then put the telephone number in big letters and drop your office address.

Tie the action with a reward and it becomes more effective. Compare “Telephone 1234 123456” with “Telephone 1234 123456 now for a free sample”. People respond to something more if they can see the reason for their action clearly. Command words like “now” and “today” also have a strong effect on people causing a stronger response to the flyer.

Simplicity sells
Be careful not to put too much onto your flyer. Keep focused on your target audience. Extra irrelevant information will have a negative effect on the flying. Don’t list every service you can offer in the hope that the recipient might be interested in one of them. It is likely their eye will catch the services that they don’t need and not see the service they needed resulting in them discarding your leaflet. Only put information on the leaflet that is essential for that stage of the marketing process. This ties in with targeting and calls to action above. The service(s) offered must match the target market. The information must lead to the call to action. A call to “Telephone for more information” might not work if you have already provided all the information the customer could ever want. Keep it simple and use a clear, attractive but easy to read design and you will maximise the effect of the flyer.