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Hyper Advertising

For regular users of the internet, banner ads and pop up ads are just part of everyday use. Usually we close them without a second thought or simply ignore them, however, occasionally one will catch our eye and we will explore what it has to offer.

For those of us who use social networking sites, it should be no surprise that some of the ads appeal and target us better than most of the ads we are bombarded with during general browsing. Targeted advertising is not a new concept, it’s the same reason ads for kids toys come on during Bob the Builder, home makers see ads for cleaning products during Sunrise and the Kerry Anne Show and why funeral insurance is shown to the aging people watching the history channel!

What makes the advertising on your Facebook and MySpace profile more accurate (and in a sense more creepy) is generally how accurate it is. Social networking sites hold large amounts of personal information about you. They know in-depth information like age, marital status, favourite movies, books, pastimes and other products that you’re a fan of and as a result they are obviously able to target you with more appropriate marketing.

As an excellent example I have identified from my personal use is that I always see advertisements for the ‘fastest way to get fit’ ‘put on 10lb of muscle’ ‘MMA Workout secrets’ etc when I log on to Facebook. I know other male friends of the same age get similar ads and female friends get similar ads targeting stomach fat, but not building muscle. This demonstrates that Facebook is using gender specific targeting advertising.

Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are designed to make money. They survive off ad revenue and if you read your terms of service when you sign up (who does that though really?) you’ll see that they can do a lot with your information. Advertising on many websites, including social networking sites, works of payment in Cost per Click (CPC) or Clicks per Mille (CPM). Regardless of the term used, the bottom line is if the marketers don’t get people clicking on the ads the person advertising doesn’t pay. Therefore it is in the interest of the marketer to make the advertising as personalised and relevant to the internet user as possible in order to increase clicks.

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