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Social Eyes #6: Are We Creeped Out By Socially Targeted Advertising?

Social Eyes #6 looks into how socially targeted advertisements are generated, whether they work, and if consumers find them useful or creepy.

Even Santa Receives Socially Targeted Ads
Even Santa can’t escape targeted advertising!

Say you’re planning a trip to New York City. You’ve Google hotels and ask your Facebook friends advice, but now you cannot escape “special deals” on everything related to the Big Apple. Why is that? Both Google and Facebook use your information and create specially targeted ads for what you are interested in. While this is a marketers dream, it may be causing hives in consumers.

How Advertisers Find Information

Your age, relationship status, location, “likes”, education level, political affiliation, search queries, and basically any other information you put online allow advertisers to target ads to you.  Advertisers can select different keywords and demographics to target, so the right people get the right content. Having access to this previously unprecedented amount of information helps keep costs down for marketers and ads revelant for consumers.

Do Consumers Like Them?

A few years ago, Michael Learmonth wrote a great article for AdAge aptly titled “The Pants That Stalked Me on the Web“.  He realized that by simply searching for a pair of shorts he was placed in a “purchase funnel” to try and keep those shorts top of mind. But do these ads actually do their job? The Pew Research Center performed a survey to find how consumers actually felt about targeted ads.

  • 68% of those polled said they ARE NOT okay with targeted advertising because they don’t like having their online behavior tracked and analyzed
  • 28% of those polled said they ARE okay with targeted advertising because they receive information they are actually interested in

Does Targeting Produce Results?

While consumers may say they don’t like targeted advertisements, advertising revenue numbers tell a different story.
  • At the end of 2012 Samsung released the Galaxy S3 with a three week, $10 million Facebook campaign. According to CNET, Samsung reached over 105 million consumers and generated $129 million in revenue.
  • The Internet Advertising Bureau released a study showing that Internet advertising revenue hit a record high of almost $9.3 billion in Q3 of 2012, with growth expected to continue rapidly.
  • PinMail, PinLeague’s socially powered email marketing tool, has also seen amazing results. By targeting email users based on their Pinterest interests, we have been able to help brands like Karmaloop and Xyron exponentially growth their Pinterest following, likes, repins, and even revenue from Pinterest and Facebook.

Have a good story about targeted ads? Share it with us in the comments!


All copy originally posted on the PinLeague Blog.



Melissa Megginson is resident Community Manager and Cat Lady at Tailwind, the leading Pinterest & Instagram tool for brands. Melissa specializes in affiliate marketing, public speaking, and making our members look good. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @MelMegg.

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