Every Bond You Break

It’s currently the middle of the uni trimester, I’m 6 or 7 weeks off finishing for the year, neck deep in assignments, and the only thing on my mind (apart from studying, of course) is going on a holiday far far away.

Now, I’m a 19-year-old, 5’4, blue haired, emotional teenage dirtbag *baby* (not that it’s relevant, but I’m setting the scene here), so naturally, I wouldn’t be able to go off exploring the world on my own, I’d go in a guided tour like Contiki or Intrepid where I’d be with other people such as myself.

So I go and I do my sleuthing around on Google looking for trips and deals, and not 15 minutes later I’m on Instagram and LO AND BEHOLD THIS.

screenshot by Josie-Amber O’Neill, “Sneaky Instagram Ploy”, taken 18/08/2016

Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen. That right there, is a targeted advertisement. On my Instagram feed. But how did it get there?

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram allow for ads to be generated targeting the user of the device based on their recent search history, the contents of their email (I’ve discussed Googles dabblings in emails in a previous blog post) (Johnson, 2013), and this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve been greeted with ads on Facebook and Instagram for things I’ve recently searched for online (online shopping is a curse).

screenshot by Josie-Amber O’Neill, “Damn, Contiki, back at it again with the white ads”, taken 18/08/2016

So why do we keep seeing these ads on our social media? Don’t they just get annoying? I mean, who’s going to buy into that kind of a marketing scheme?

Me. And many, many, many others. According to Malte Brettel (2015), there is clear evidence that these advertisements on social media work; prolonged exposure to advertisements and prolong the persons ad recall, their awareness for the product, and their intent to purchase the product. In short – the more I see the thing, the more I’m going to want the thing, and the higher the chance of me actually buying the thing.

While many people would argue that this is an annoyance, and that they don’t want a Big Brother type figure watching over them, Doug Chavez, the global head of marketing research and content at Kenshoo (and advertising company, for anyone who’s interested), disagrees.

“If you’re providing a better experience for me, or helping me get a better product at a better price or get better information, consumers are generally pretty fine with that. I don’t see this as big brother at all.” – Doug Chavez (2014)

While Mr Chavez isn’t technically wrong, I do love seeing things I’m interested in for a good price, it would be nice every now and then to not be swamped on Facebook and Instagram with advertisements…. also I’m not sure how much more of this impulse buying my bank account can take.



Brettel, M. Reich, J. Gavilanes, JM. Flatten, TC. 2015, ‘What Drives Advertising Success on Facebook? An Advertising-Effectiveness Model’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 162

Edwards J, 2013, “Here’s a diagram of how Facebook’s FBX ad exchange works”, Business Insider, 04/01/2013, retrieved on 18/08/2016, <http://www.businessinsider.com.au/how-facebooks-fbx-ad-exchange-works-2013-1?r=US&IR=T>

Johnson J P, 2013, “Targeted advertising and advertising avoidance”, RAND Journal of Econimics, Volume 44, Issue 1, p128 – 144, < http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy-f.deakin.edu.au/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=a5d9f17d-32af-4661-8865-776144a5106f@sessionmgr4006&vid=2&hid=4213>

Wagner K, 2014, “Your Google searches may help decide your Facebook ads”, Mashable Australia, 05/06/2014, retrieved on 18/08/2016, <http://mashable.com/2014/06/04/google-facebook-ads-search/#DCK73fyheZqO?>




14 thoughts on “Every Bond You Break

  1. Hi Josie,
    Great read about targeted advertising, and it tends to make people uncomfortable when things they were ‘just’ looking up is now a targeted advertisement for them. On the flip side, if you wanna vacation, you know just where to look!

    I went through my facebook ad security last week and culled a few thousand topics that they thought were of interest to me, and removed it to about 70. This may be a better way to have better targeted ads, because if you’re gonna be targeted anyway, why not look at things you enjoy! I believe that most social media platforms have got options to change your targeted ads, so maybe that’s a good start!

    From a visual standpoint it may be good to move the references a little bit higher, as well as maybe embed a tweet within this article.

    Otherwise, keep up the great writing, and looking forward to the next one!


  2. Hi Josie,

    Congratulations on your blog post, I found this piece easy going, informative and funny!

    After reading numerous blogs, your blog stood out to me, based on the simple fact that you referenced back to one of your previous blog pieces and hyperlinked for readers to access easily (it also opened in a new tab – for extra points and easy accessibility). It was something so easy but gained extra expose of your blog – well for me anyway because now I’ve read two of your pieces! So well done!

    If I were to make a suggestion to further enhance your blog post, id recommend embedding 2-3 Tweets and 2-3 Creative Commons image’s.

    Great read,
    Brittany ☺


  3. Hey Josie, great post! I think this topic is something that is all too relevant to a lot of us, especially online shopping addicts such as myself.. ha!
    I enjoyed the tone you’ve written this post in, it was easy to read, casual and really engaging.. yet not too much so, and you expressed your opinion on the topic clearly.. I always like to hear peoples’ thoughts on something and not just be presented with a block of facts and references and what have you!
    I think for future posts, embedding a couple of tweets/Creative Commons images would definitely take things up a notch, but overall, great job!


  4. Great work on this Josie! The tone and overall construction of the post made it really interesting and engaging to read. I have to say, I’m pretty neutral when it comes to targeted ads. I mean, they don’t annoy me to the point where I don’t want to use social media or anything like that, but I don’t necessarily enjoy seeing them either. The point you highlighted about them increasing the need for consumers to buy something more was really interesting to me, and I can definitely see how that could be true. I think this post could benefit from some creative commons material but other than that it was great! Keep up the good work 🙂


  5. I very much enjoy the witty blog post style of writing, rather than reading another block of text, it gives off that personal and expressive theme, which it’s so easily identifiable with. Combine that with, of course the very topical content, use of imagery, hyperlinks. Throw in some scholarly references (that you have Harvard referenced spectacularly) and you have one great blog post. I certainly come away from this post with a new ideas and styles, that in turn I would like to explore further in my own posts. Very unique and informative, I am especially glad I happened along this post, now to try and incorporate that into what I write.


  6. Hi Josie, I actually really enjoyed this post! Straight away, the first few lines grabbed me, and stopped me from closing the web browser and giving up on homework yet again. I’ve definitely experienced this too, even with Contiki but it’s scary how it can follow us from our computers to a phone app like Instagram. Marketers can be evil sometimes. The blog was easy to read and really well informed. Your writing kept me interested throughout the post and I honestly can’t see one thing wrong with it. Thanks for making this such an interesting read!


  7. This was a blog post that had my eyes falling down the screen quicker than I could control!

    Starting the blog with the small, personal snippet of your current situation is a nice way to bring the audience in to your little world. It’s also a nice contrast to the way most blog posts start. But your underlying humour that bleeds though your prose really makes me stick around! Just your exquisite tone is really the master strength of this post. Walking the fine line between humour and genuine information wonderfully.

    Your layout is very clean and visually pleasing however I think it needs just something else. An image or a tweet etc. Especially toward the end of the post. Anything you do in the start of any media creates an expectation in the audience, and you’re image heavy in the start then i almost feel disappointed when I dont get them after the first two. It also just helps break up the text. Your positioning of your references is also a little weird, even just changing they’re font or colour would help, I started reading them thinking they were still part of the post haha! But over all a brilliant piece!


  8. First off, that opening sentence is me. The entire post has a relatability and humorous undertone that made me want to keep on reading. It was really interesting to read about targeted marketing because as much as I like want to hate the invasion of privacy that comes with this type of marketing, it is so convenient and has definitely convinced me to buy the dress or that cheeseburger on more than one occasion. It was great to read that I wasn’t the only person to go through this! The tone throughout was one I’d like to explore in my future blogs and along with the relevant quotes/referenced ideas, I came away learning a lot. I could not find much I’d add to that except maybe a few Creative Commons images to break up the writing.

    Side note: love the site title! The (/ies) was clever and humorous.


  9. Hi Josie,

    One of my favourite parts was was quote of the advertising executive, with the explanation of target advertisement. He does drive a good point. The humour in your article was fantastic and engaging. References were placed perfectly and not big chunks of text. Can’t fault much to be honest.

    Maybe look at adding more media, picture, videos or something along those lines.

    Looking forward to future blog posts.



  10. Hi Josie,
    I really loved the use of an anecdote in the introduction, as it was very engaging and was a great foundation for the rest of your blog. I also enjoyed how you incorporated a wide range of sources, alongside the casual tone of your blog. The hyperlink to your previous post was also very strategic as it made me read your previous post. The screenshots from your social media were also a great addition to the blog, however in the future your may want to consider embedding tweets into the blog as well. Overall the personal nature of blog was highly effective and should be something you continue to implement.


  11. Hey Josie,
    I absolutely loved this blog! It’s the most hilarious one I’ve read and was incredibly relatable when you brought up sponsored advertising on Facebook and Instagram profiles. I get sponsored add’s so much and always ask myself how it could be something of such necessity to me and yet be something i never actually looked for. But now it makes complete sense as they are using our search history for inspiration. I’m with you in saying that I would certainly buy into the scheme as I automatically want what I see as well! The use of screenshots perfectly supported what your point and the personal tone allowed the post to be incredibly relatable!
    See you in class next week!


  12. Hey Josie!
    Thank-you for this read! I totally agree with you on this topic – exposure to an idea makes the audience more likely to engage with the idea within their terms (correct pricing, correct place etc.).
    As someone who has been looking at plane flights recently, I find I am experiencing the same thing! It’s annoying when it happens, but not too bad to see what deals are out there.
    I really do look forward to reading more of your work!


  13. Hey Josie,

    You have a really captivating writing style and the humorous tone throughout the post was really catchy and made me want to continue reading. Including your experiences and embedding your own images made it very applicable and I found myself extremely engaged with the topic.

    I found your focus on ‘targeted advertising’ interesting as I have been noticing random ads popping up on my Instagram feed advertising all the pricy clothes I could not afford while online shopping. Although this never used to bother me I am now questioning how private our internet history really is…

    For future posts I would love to see some of your tweets embedded or even a short video explaining a scholarly source, either way this was an awesome blog post and I cannot wait to read more of your work ☺

    (also I read the whole thing in your voice is that weird?).


  14. Your use of anecdote and colloquial language in this post was captivating, and I enjoyed reading it very much. It didn’t feel cramped at all, and your layout with use of images was great. The images themselves were relevant to the topic, as was the embedded tweet. Everything was referenced correctly, and I loved the way you critiqued the professional opinions and used them to further your own point rather than just having them in because it was required. You did an excellent job of presenting both sides of the issue, as well as advantaged, disadvantages, and related issues. You may want to add in a few more tweets or images, just to make this a little denser. Great job on this!


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