General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Is targeted advertising even successful?

Asked by tinyfaery (44083points) 2 months ago
8 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

Our data moves all over the internet so that advertisers can directly advertise to us, but I’d say that 90% of the ads I do see (I try to block as much as I can) are for something I already purchased. I bought an Apple product and now I have seen a few ads for it on YouTube. I got new insurance and then I started seeing insurance commercials.

Is this how it’s supposed to work, because I don’t get it? What’s the point of trying to convince me to buy a product related to one I just purchased. I thought targeted advertising was supposed to predict what we might want to purchase based on past purchases.

What am I missing.

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elbanditoroso's avatar

Some is, some isn’t. There are a zillion variables and there isn’t just one answer.

I guess that the principle you mentioned in the last sentence (you bought item X once, so we’ll show you it again) is the basic theory. But I think it’s flawed. If I bought a new car, it is unlikely I will buy another any time soon, so all the advertising is wasted.

And then there are people like me, who will ignore targeted advertising (actually almost all advertising) because I find it annoying and irrelevant.

I think that internet advertising has been a colossal scam (on the part of Google, Microsoft, etc.) for decades, because it makes bad assumptions.

JLeslie's avatar

The ads might only know you visited the Apple site or you talked about Apple out loud, but doesn’t know you purchased. It’s not perfect. I think probably the targeted advertising works to some extent.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

It’s really annoying. For Christmas, my boss got me a hanger with a cat design that goes over your door, but when I opened the box at home, there were no directions and I was trying to figure out how to put it together. So I went on Amazon to see if I could find the item and I found everything but that. But now, I keep getting all these emails from Amazon saying, we found something you may be interested in and showing me various items similar to what he gave me. I did figure out how to put it together by the way, no help to Amazon.

And can I say that I think one of the worst targeting ads for accuracy is when you go on Netflix or Prime and they have a list of movies or shows that because you watched this that or the other, they have decided that you would like these as well. Sometimes I look at what they have on there and it is nothing that I am in any way interested in so I don’t know how their AI is working on this but it is failing miserably!

gorillapaws's avatar

They don’t know you bought the item—I think that’s what you’re missing.

Giving impressions for an item you’ve expressed interest in is way more effective ad spend than doing it blindly. Do you want a goat milking machine for making goat cheese? a tile saw? a clown makeup starter kit? a baseball card protective display case? a pillow that looks like Elvis? There are bajillions of products out there and scatter-shotting everything to everyone is extremely inefficient. Wasting money on marketing to people who have already bought the item is far less wasteful by comparison.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Nobody spends money on anything they are not aware of. And people very much gravitate towards the familiar. Advertising plants the seed in your mind. Most people won’t bite. It’s a numbers game.

If I spend $100 to contact 1,000,000 people and 1,000 buy my $1 product, I profit $900.

Lightlyseared's avatar

If it wasn’t they wouldn’t do it.

Why waste money advertising breast feeding stuff to elderly men who go hunting?

YARNLADY's avatar

It must be, or companies wouldn’t keep paying for it.

kritiper's avatar

Yes, if only to a degree. I’ve done it.

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