Like them or hate them, advertisements aren’t going away any time soon. Companies want to spread the word about their products or events, and ads are one of the most visible ways to do this. This week at Insight, we’ve heard a lot about intelligent analytics that can be generated out of big data. Analytics can help us to gain insight for a variety of applications, and it seems inevitable that we will see an evolution in the way that ads are targeted to consumers.
Ads then and now
Think back to the 1990s, when the Internet was only marginally as popular as it is now, and popular browsers like Chrome or websites like Facebook had not yet been invented. Ads were a bit intrusive, and at times even inappropriate. Pop ups were distracting and therefore didn’t foster a good relationship between the user and the ad owner. Pop up blockers eventually showed up and helped us to focus on the site we wanted to visit in the first place.
Over time, and perhaps as a result of pop-ups no longer being an effective ad style, we’ve ended up with less distracting, and more targeted ads. Ads are still as prevalent as ever on the Internet, but thanks to the efforts of Google, Facebook and others, ads are getting a bit more personal.
If you’ve searched for a particular brand or product on Google recently, you may find that ads served by Google have links that are relevant to those searches. You may be more likely to click these ads now that they are related to your interests. That’s certainly more effective advertising for companies, and is going to give you a better impression of that company than a pop-up.
Truly personal ads are the future
Thanks to social networking, there’s more data than ever that can be used for targeted ads. Businesses can become more familiar with your personality, likes, dislikes, friends, family, and life events. If Valentine’s Day is coming up and a business knows that you have a significant other, then it would be a great opportunity for them to advertise for that holiday. On the other hand, that business can avoid upsetting you if they discover that you recently suffered from a break-up. Or if they knew that you had no interest in the holiday whatsoever, then perhaps you could be given more appropriate ads during that time.
Another thing to consider is donation events that business sometimes have. Such as that a business will donate 5% of the cost of your purchase to a particular charity. If the company picks a charity that really resonates with your beliefs and interests, then they may end up with more business from you than they would have otherwise.
Having very personalized ads will be beneficial to both parties in more ways than just helping to sell a product. For consumers, very personalized ads may not seem like ads at all, but rather shopping suggestions or aides. For businesses, personalized ads can help to establish a bond with the consumer such that they become more loyal to that company if they believe that there is some common ground or that the company is helpful and convenient to do business with.
For most people, I think this is a good direction to be headed in. Both companies and consumers will be happier with personalized advertisement. There will always be some people who keep a low profile online or value their privacy more than most, but at the end of the day I hope we can all agree on one thing: Whatever happens with advertisement of the future, it’ll be better than pop-ups!