Make the other half work too

In a previous life that was the title of the advertising textbook I studied in third year commerce.  The title riffed off a statement that only half of all advertising worked but nobody could be sure which half. II was reminded of this by an article about electronic advertising in the Australian today:

But a growing proportion of the advertising is no longer contextual. Companies are increasingly opting for behavioural targeting instead. A brand has identified you as someone they specifically want to reach and they have a particular message they want to deliver to you. Rather than buy advertising based on the general audience and the media options that they might consume, the ads follow you on your digital journey each day and buy available slots in any media that you visit. You’ve probably ­noticed the same ad appearing and reappearing across multiple web pages while you browse online. It’s not a coincidence, that ad is following you.

Yes – this happens. Now as it turns out I’m a big fan of advertising and marketing – how else would I know what I want to buy?  Yet this approach is particularly wasteful.

At the moment I’m being targeted by adverts for Microsoft Surface Pro products. I am a huge fan of those products – but I actually bought a new Surface Pro just last month. True, I did do searches and what-not before buying and compared the Pro to comparative  products and the like before buying. That is how they know I’m interested. But you’d think there would be a mechanism to indicate that I have made a purchase (and am very with the product). Amazon had (still has) such a facility – you can tell them that you already own a book they are recommending, or are not interested, and so on.

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15 Responses to Make the other half work too

  1. stackja

    I ignore ads. I buy what I want.

  2. Shy Ted

    Except porn advertising. That’s nothing whatever to do with where you’ve been on the interweb.

  3. Fred

    Delete your cookies and cache regularly. That way you won’t be targeted by ads.

    I do it anyway to beat websites that only offer x articles per month free. i.e. The Age, SMH, Spectator, The Australian. Paying for stuff is for suckers.

  4. Exit Stage Right

    Very interesting Sinc.
    I still get pop up accommodation ads for a trip I took to Victoria in 2013, where I did bookings through and similar sites. I had my trip, been back over 5 years but somehow they think I am still interested.
    Ditto with a trip to the UK in 2017. No longer interested as it is done and dusted, so their behavioural targeted advertising is wasted on me.
    Time to reset the algorithms to try and capture new blood that might actually be contemplating a trip.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    But a growing proportion of the advertising is no longer contextual. Companies are increasingly opting for behavioural targeting instead.

    Preaching to converted.

    Behavioural advertising just tells people all about things they already buy. Real advertising would provide advertising of stuff that the victim hasn’t bought yet.

    I don’t know what stuff it has never occurred to me to buy. Maybe if they sent ads to me of products I haven’t ever heard of I might think ‘hey, that looks interesting!’ and buy them.

  6. Biota

    I wouldn’t mind a bit of advertising but it eventually wore me out with its obnoxious pervasion, so I use an ad blocker. Much more peaceful now and if a site detects it and blocks access, I just find the info somewhere else.

    how else would I know what I want to buy?

    You probably didn’t mean it this way but sounds like a man who has everything and doesn’t know what to spend on. When I find I have a need I then go looking.

  7. The BigBlueCat

    Hey Sinc …. What do you give a man who has everything???


  8. When I purchase something online the company sends request emails nagging me to take part in a survey about the experience of purchasing from them, or to tick their five stars box. That’s like a shopkeeper chasing me in the street and knocking on my door after a purchase, demanding I answer “Did you like it? Did you like it? Are we good? Will you come back for more?” No.

  9. JC

    Get a load of Bayer. Closed ~ 67 Euroa a share on Friday.

    Bayer Aktiengesellschaft (BAYN.DE)
    XETRA – XETRA Delayed Price. Currency in EUR

    It’s market cap is 62 billion Euros. ~ 12 months ago it was trading at 120 Euros a share, which means it’s lost ~45% of it’s market value and which in turn means it’s lost most of the value it paid for Monstanto. FMD.

    Most of this I reckon is because of the Roundup scare from the Euroweenies. Totally junk science too.

  10. These things are meant to make paying companies think that it’s worthwhile and working, but it’s simply snake oil. Similarly, if I buy something off eBay, I’ll immediately start receiving suggestions for what I looked at before buying and also suggestions that I might be interested in what I just bought. There’s some form of AI at work?

  11. Cynic of Ayr

    Sinc: Now as it turns out I’m a big fan of advertising and marketing – how else would I know what I want to buy?
    That’s a pretty silly statement!
    You don’t know what you want or need to buy unless you see an ad for it?
    Would you starve to death if you didn’t see any ads for food?
    With an attitude like that, you’re not looking after yourself, you’re looking after every shyster and impulse product seller out there!
    You got any money? I have a bridge just for you.
    Online ads – I never see them, or read them. To me, they are out of my sight.
    If I need something, I’ll search for it.
    However, if ads allow sites such as this one, then I don’t care. It’d be a shame if such sites closed because of lack of ads, but I’m not inclined to buy something I don’t want/need, just to keep the site open. That’s for Sinc and like minded ones to do. 🙂
    I guess I’m just a free-loader!

  12. Squirrel

    The only (moderately) effective targeted advertising I see is when sites such as Amazon tell you that people who have bought the item you are looking at have also bought these items – which you might genuinely be interested in and not otherwise have heard of. The other “targeted” stuff I get is almost laughably clunky.

    Too much of the current general advertising is dreary, cliched and forgettable – recent worthy exceptions to this are the meerkats with Russian accents and “BC effin’ fun” – which is funny and catchy.

  13. Sinclair Davidson

    That’s a pretty silly statement!

    Advertising overcomes information problems about products and services available for purchase and prices.

    I don’t buy a generic product called “food” I buy lobsters from vendor x at price y and so on.

  14. Ian6333

    I fell for those Norlan whisky glasses about 6 months ago (they’re ok I suppose, but a bit too thick at the rim for my liking) and the adverts are still chasing me. And I wish my wife wouldn’t use my iPad to search for undies, it was a bit embarassing down at the local Shire when I wanted to show a fellow Councillor an idea – up popped the pics!

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