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.
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).
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?>