These Online Ads Are Ruining Christmas!


Online shopping has, in many ways, made it easier to find that perfect gift. However, it’s also made it easier to ruin the surprise, especially when members of a household share a computer.
We’ve heard the same story multiple times now – after purchasing a gift, that item then appears in advertisements all across the web. After getting bombarded with ads for a very specific model of laptop, it’s hard to not guess what just arrived in the mail.

best buy online banner ad for a flatscreen TV
Can you guess what we were just looking at on Best Buy’s website?

We’ve written about retargeting before – so with that information in mind, here are a few ways you can avoid spoiling a holiday surprise.

Use Incognito Mode

Most browsers come with a “private” or “incognito” mode – what this means is that all of your search history, viewing history and cookies for that session are deleted as soon as you close the browser window. Do your shopping in these modes and you shouldn’t see any related ads.

Things that you download in this mode will still stay downloaded, though, so be careful. In Chrome and Firefox, these modes can be activated by clicking the button with three horizontal lines in the top right corner.

Delete Cookies

If you’ve already made a purchase and are currently being followed by ads, search for the cookies placed by that website. In most browsers, your cookies are listed under the “privacy” options. If you spot any listed under the site that’s targeting you, delete them.

Click on Everything

This is less technical, but still effective. Search for everything under the sun and click on it – socks, tea kettles, motorcycles, paperweights - until your targeted ads are a mess. If you suspect someone is actively trying to guess what you’ve ordered for Christmas, this is definitely the more entertaining approach.