Addiction Week: Targeted Online Advertising

Here’s a video where the content is awesome, but the voice over? Well, let’s just say that Pixar probably won’t be hiring the voice actor any time soon.

When you take 4 minutes to watch this video, then, please look past the voice and listen to the message.

Here are the three big points I hope everyone takes away:

  1. Online advertisers, particularly social media sites and companies like Amazon, Google, etc, are getting very good at tracking online footprint and matching advertisers, messaging, or marketing to our activities
  2. Those ads just don’t result in sales – the ads are also good enough that they’re starting to change our behavior.
  3. Data is valuable, and we, the users, are the currency of the online economy. The more sites and advertisers know about us, the more they can influence our behavior. And the more they influence us the more they can use data as a bargaining chip or profit center.

Bad enough for casual browsers / shoppers / users. But, for addicts, this is a massive issue. It’s bad enough to be an addict that has to go looking for a fix. When that fix is instantly available and, worse, there even without bidding, it’s brutal.

Spooked? You should be. Targeted ads can compel us to do things we don’t know we want to do, buy things we don’t know we want to buy, and become people we don’t know we want to be. And, data is getting so good that it’s feeding addiction and compulsion.

Here’s the useful (but weirdly voiced) video from Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know.

Stay safe (and relatively addiction free) out there.


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