You’ve got snail mail: Targeted online ads are now literally following you home

As people become numb to targeted digital ads that follow them across social media and into their email inboxes, some high-tech marketers are turning to a surprisingly old-school approach to cut through the noise: snail mail.

And they’re using the same technology and data as online advertising companies to target who gets what flier, postcard or envelope — even tying people’s online browsing activity to their home address. It means after you research Parachute’s bedsheets online, its ad won’t just follow you around on the Internet. It may also end up as a paper ad in your hands, delivered to your front door.

“Digital’s become the new junk mail of the 1970s,” said Lewis Gersh, CEO of direct-mail targeting company PebblePost, referring to the decade when unsolicited-mail overload was as its peak. “If you go on a site, you look at a product, you might be retargeted [with ads for it] 40 times in a month.”

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