Week 4: Ad Targeting on Social Media

Targeting that I have experienced has been faster and more accurate every time. There’s a few things I do notice though, and will hope to keep my opinions as unbiased as possible. 

For starters, I really don’t mind having retargeting ads, because it is in fact merchandise that I am interested in. Often at times it will be brands I follow on social media, such as Roxy, Simons, Adidas, Nike… to name a few. I enjoy seeing updates of new products whether it be a sponsored post on Instagram or Facebook. More specifically though, these brands do get community engagement on their social channels, therefore it’s less of a repeat between the ads and the posts they curate on their social media pages. More specifically, Roxy will post on their Instagram about surfing competitions and events that they sponsor. It’s like branded content creation which doesn’t feel overwhelming once the retargeting ad shows up on Facebook for example.

Through the IAB slides, the hockey analogy really got me thinking about how we act online will determine the ads we receive. If we never shop online, if we don't follow certain brands on social media, or engage much on social media channels, then it will determine what information can be gathered by advertisers. This is a perfect example, actually, where one of my friends asked us to check out this Airbnb house which we may possibly rent out. So I clicked on it, commented on the post, and then when I checked back (because my other friend commented after me) BOOM! A sponsored Airbnb ad, I’m not even mad. That’s just impressive. 

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It can of course be a nuisance if simply by searching something for information on the product turns into a never-ending retargeting game. Like when you’re searching “Mushroom Coffee” because you decide to have an argument with your boss about whether it is real coffee. And then next thing you know, your Facebook has a bunch of squares regarding how this is the next best thing since sliced bread.

I do think its rather smart to remind consumers about leaving products in their shopping cart though. This was one thing we mentioned in last semester’s class, which some consumers find a bit creepy, but it’s pretty genius. Generally speaking as a consumer, if I have collected the idea of all the items I’m looking to purchase and then don’t actually checkout it’s probably because I’m looking elsewhere to see if I can find a better deal. Having this reminder that you have items waiting to be processed is a great way to interact with the customer and say ‘you know you waaaaaant it.’ (Without actually saying that.) 

One thing I try and do, as much as possible is now with my set up at work versus home, I try to use a different browser for work purposes. It would be pretty aggravating to have retargeting ads on Facebook for things like hot sauce, or mortgage brokers and things that I have to search for work. I use Chrome, for work, which of course will be signed in with my work email address on google. Where as at home, I use Safari and keep it separate with my Apple ID account instead. Since history and bookmarks and cookies are all being synced now per account I think it’s a great practice to keep these two separate, and for liability reasons as well. As per working in the industry and researching clients, and then receiving their ads while you’re making ads for them, can be more than overwhelming. This system isn’t completely fool proof but if I am at work and have some spare time allowing me to browse online for myself, then I will switch browsers also, again just alleviating any possible data attached to your Google Sign In. 

Everyone should have a basic right to privacy though, and for that reason I understand why people disagree with some or most of retargeting methods. It makes it seem like advertisers know what we're doing every second.