By now everyone has noticed the targeted ads on Facebook, Twitter and even Google. If you don't know already this is done by behavioral targeting which is continuing to change the Internet as we know it.
Behavioral Targeting: Publishers agree to drop targeting company codes on their sites that drop cookies on your browser to collect data based off of your behavior.
This gives all the information one needs to customize ads and deals that are directly in your interest. It is based off of your location, purchases, check ins and even your bookmarks or likes on Facebook. That way advertising companies are not throwing millions of dollars away annually trying to market products to people that are simply uninterested or that may never have a use for it. This saves advertisers a ton of money while getting you to spend more.
Now that you better understand this type of targeted marketing you can see why you need to start monitoring your customers more closely and on a regular basis.
Below are some of the biggest effects online that we have seen and will continue to see due to this type of marketing:
1. Your Internet Experience Will Be More About You
You know how Amazon suggests items that might interest you, based on the items you’ve perused? That’s how the entire Internet could be soon. With systems tracking your cursor and keeping tabs on your browsing history, the Internet can get to know you better — and be smarter than ever. In fact, Amazon's algorithm is a paragon of excellence for targeters.
2. The Web Could Change Its Appearance For You
So when the web is all about you, will it also change its interface, too? Shergalis says the data that would drive such customization is available today, but that cost, time and resources are what’s hindering us from getting to that next level.
But, he says, “Consumers are going to come to expect it — you can’t just have a simple, one-size-fits-all experience” for all consumers.
3. It Will View You as a Multi-Dimensional Person With Many Interests
So you browsed through ESPN.com — does that mean you’ll only get Nike and Adidas ads from now on? No, because there’s more to you than your interest in sports, and the data knows that. It won't try to pigeonhole you.
This is especially important because there is concern that curation and customization lead to tunnel vision and ignorance of everything else that’s out there. That’s why behavioral targeters are testing demographics and creating algorithms to determine other interests and speak to a person’s depth and varied interests and give them an element of choice. Such algorithms will help marketers “discover a whole new audience and develop a new understanding” of this dynamic, multifaceted audience, says Hirsch.
4. It’s Tapping Into Social and Mobile
To some, behavioral targeting seems like an invasion of privacy, though the FTC has taken steps to ensure that privacy is respected (no data is personally identifiable).
But privacy seems to be less of a priority among millennials, who tend to be more accepting of behavioral targeting than their boomer counterparts. Perhaps it's because they grew up with LiveJournals and were the first generation on Facebook, so they’re used to living their lives out loud. Whatever the reason, the things they broadcast on social networks -– where they are, what they’re buying, who they're with -– are ripe for the picking by marketers, says Shergalis. By virtue of being on these platforms and being so socially connected, young users are essentially opting in and showing a “willingness to participate” for advertisers and marketers. Therefore, behavioral targeters can take advantage of the wealth of consumer information that’s out in the open on Twitter and Facebook, learning tweet by tweet about the audience it’s trying to reach.
With this type or marketing also rolling out on tablets and mobile devices you will start to see a more customized Internet search regardless of what type of device you are searching on. Right now it is a little more difficult to get a completely custom search if you are using public or work computer or if you are sharing one with your whole family. Although I am sure it is only a matter of time until they figure that out too.
Can you think of any ways to further develop behavioral targeting to best suit your company and customers needs?