Stuart H. Britt: Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you’re doing, but nobody else does.
How do you get your news? I watch a bit of the TODAY show in the morning, as I’m getting ready for work. It’s how I keep track of my time. If we’re at the local news at 7:25 a.m., and I’m still putting on my makeup, I better hurry up! I need to leave just about the time Jeff Rossen comes on with his beware/scam stories. At night, if I’m still awake for the last half of the 11:00 news, I’m going to have trouble getting up in the morning. It’s all a vicious cycle of hurry up and get to sleep/hurry up and get up!
A couple of times during the day, I will check my Twitter feed. I follow certain news outlets (like CNN, Washington Post) and writers, and I get news updates in advance of watching the 6:30 news when I get home. (Also, if I get up in the middle of the night, there is always something new on Twitter when my friends aren’t yet awake and playing Words with Friends.)
What irritates me is the advertising placed on my Twitter feed. I’m learning about algorithms and targeted marketing, but some of these ads come out of left field. For instance, if my browsing history includes shopping for knives on Amazon, I might expect an ad for a new knife set, perhaps.
Today, I had the following:
- You might like the Olympics, so download the Sociabble app
- Because you’re a veteran, buy this key ring necklace
- Let us tell you about a new nursing school
- You’re in the market for a new grill; try Kenyon Grills
- You might like technology, so click on VOIP Supply
- You might like elections, so download Irantag and learn more about Iranian media
How could “they” assume I like the Olympics? Because I follow NBC news and that’s the network the Olympics will be shown on? Why would “they” think I’m a veteran? I have a friend who volunteers at the VA hospital; does that count as targeted marketing?
I have easily blocked the advertisers I don’t want to see, and I haven’t seen any of them return to my news feed. But it’s irritating. Why can’t I see any targeted ads like:
- Since you like playing the lottery, here are the winning numbers
- You’re going on a cruise next year, so here’s a Carnival gift card for a free facial
Sad to say, I haven’t seen any targeted ads like that.