- Posted January 14, 2014 by
Can Interest Cure Blindness?
The advertising industry has been with us since the development of the printing press and probably even before in some form, but the printing press enabled advertisers to access the masses. Three other important inventions shaped the nature of advertising - radio, television and the Internet. The proliferation of advertising has accelerated dramatically in recent years and one wonders what will come next.
We can imagine mass media completely swamping our lives, if it has not already. It is this very aspect of advertising's success that threatens to be its demise. Its success in flooding virtually every aspect of our lives is the very thing reducing its effectiveness.
The solution when something starts to fail is always to try harder, do more of the same to restore the status quo. Advertising has done this, but has this just hastened its demise?
Now it has to deal with strong consumer resistance caused by its intrusiveness and even a passive resistance we have all developed. Ad blindness.
So familiar it is to see ads before us that we tune out to them and are often unaware we have even seen or heard them.
The efforts of advertisers to make their wares louder, brighter and even more intrusive have not worked and have actually contributed to consumer obliviousness.
The Internet has been the latest great advertising frontier. So schooled are advertisers and so keen are the Internet businesses to find revenue, that the Internet, we could say has built itself around and for advertising.
The science of selling and the science of computing are rich media for developing a synergy of persuasion. Every tiny aspect of placement, color, frequency and sound has been methodically calculated for its return.
We are subjected to the leading edge of technology every time we enter the cyber store the Internet has become. Still, somehow we manage to miss 90% of those messages aimed to grab our attention.
Educators used to warn that children's ability to concentrate would be destroyed by computers. It seems quite the reverse. With the help of advertising we all seem to be able to filter information like never before.
Children are able to concentrate on their on-screen tasks without being distracted by advertising, so developing finely focused concentration skills.
So what can advertisers do next?
Let me give you a small demonstration.
Let's say I buy a car. I buy a reasonably indistinct, not so common little car.
Suddenly, to my surprise this make and model seems to be everywhere. I see them all the time. I must be a real trend setter because no body used to have them before I bought one.
Of course they were there all the time, but I just paid no attention.
I had no interest.
Now this is not like ad blindness that I alluded to before.
This is different.
I didn't see those cars because I had no interest in them.
They didn't concern me, they were not something I tuned into.
Now they interest me.
This has not gone unnoticed by the ad man either.
The question arose, "Does interest cure blindness?"
So what's that got to do with advertising?
Well, what if ads could be delivered just to those who were actually interested in the stuff they portrayed?
Suddenly I am interested in these cars. Its not much use advertising those to me, but what about when the next model comes out? Accessories anyone?
If somehow advertisers could control the Internet that they only showed their ad to me and people who's interest matched mine they could increase their effectiveness many times over and reduce their cost as well.
It turns out that it can be done and is being done, but not yet by many.
The whole internet can't be controlled that way, but Facebook can!
Google has been doing it their own way. It's pretty clumsy, but there is some targeting.
Facebook has the ability to offer targeted advertising to any user. The advertiser can determine age ranges, gender, location, income, interests and more. Ads will only be displayed to the chosen demographic.
Pretty cool if you are an ad man, but it gets even cooler.
Facebook has groups, pages, likes and comments. When any user takes any action at all it is recorded. If I "like" a post, or make a comment that is recorded on my account. Now every account has a user I.D. If that I.D. is placed into the Facebook advertising machine as a targeted audience it is possible for an advertiser (of whatever I "liked" or commented on) to place an ad in front of me whenever I am logged in to Facebook and keep doing so as long as they like.
More than that, its possible then, through re-targeting, to follow me all over the Internet. Well, nearly all over, but it won't take long.
It's not possible for the average person. Or even advertiser to obtain those user I.D's, but it can be done. It doesn't violate Facebook's rules to use them. They actually provide for their use in their advertising, but it is against their rules to sell them, or provide them to others. That doesn't mean they can't be used. They can. It just has to be done properly and ethically.
There is one emergent company I know of that is able, through their advanced algorithms to access those I.D's and they are offering micro-targeted, niche specific advertising to their clients. They claim to be able to target right down to a single person if a client so wishes. Of course they would have to be on Facebook, which they probably are, it being equivalent in population to the third largest country on Earth, but only for the next three or four years. Then it will be the largest.
This opens up a new avenue to advertisers. A micro-targeted group of people who's only similarity is that they have commented on or "liked" a similar thing on Facebook. Such similarities would be absolutely impossible to distinguish and therefore target without this technology. It's an ad man's dream. "Everyone who sees my ad is interested in what I've got."
We have all been exposed to email marketing in our inboxes and that was a form of targeting, but nowhere near as sophisticated as this.
Now you may be thinking how terrible this is. I did at first, but then I got to thinking. They have tried to smother us with ads to make us take notice. Perhaps there might come a time, at first just on the Internet, when every ad we see tells us about something we are actually interested in. Wouldn't that be better? One can even perceive of the day when we could all walk through the city and only see billboards of things we liked ( or perhaps "liked") and everyone would be seeing different ads determined by what they (had) "liked."
O.k. That's scary. Will Facebook ever become so ubiquitous that it takes to the?
That company I mentioned, for your interest, is called Facebook Ad Labs and they are so new, successful, wanting to keep a low profile, or busy (I don't know which) they don't even have a website. There is some contact info, however, at this site http://myblingobsession.com/free-pdfs-on-how-to-market-online/