Targeted Ads: Bull’s Eye Or Missing The Mark?

You’ve all seen the ads on Facebook. Sometimes it’s like they know you, other times they’re just insulting! Facebook knows you better than you think. You can lock down your privacy settings all you want. Facebook knows everything.

When Web 2.0 appeared it was all about the social. With the dawn of Web 3.0 it’s all about you. What you like, what you’re interested in, where you like to go. Facebook’s targeted ads are all to give you a personalized web experience. How cool is that?

Well, sometimes the results can scare you. Other times they literally can scare you. Where do they get their intel from? Mars? Every time you click you give something away.

You play a game in a Facebook app you’re doing more than just that. You give out tons of data. The kind of game, what you do in it, how you act, how good you are—it all adds to your psychological profile. Think you’re just saving the world from birds with temper tantrums in different places? You’re not.

The same thing goes for GPS. You’re in the Mayan Riviera and you post some photos. You tag your friends, location, and comment. What’s wrong with that? Well now Facebook knows where you are, who you’re with, and the fact you all like Mexico.

It stores all of that info about you and your friends. Don’t be surprised if you all start seeing ads about beaches, vacations, Mexico, or drinking tequila shots in a poolside bar.

Not all of the data is that accurate though. I keep getting hit with ads about the lucrative career I could be having in health care. Does Facebook not think I find my job fulfilling? Blogging and designing and coding isn’t lucrative enough? Health care is the answer?

I also get ‘free yourself from debt today’ or ads to ‘join a gym’. I have a gym. It’s across the street. I go every day—twice. I’m fit thanks. Plus how does Facebook know what my bank account balance is? Just because I’m Canadian and there’ve been recent reports that Canadians are in debt? Fail Facebook. Who’s your source? It’s not me, I clicked nothing!

Maybe there are some kinks to work out in the Web 3.0 code still. Maybe Web 4.0 (or 3.1?) might fix the bugs? Targeted ads have great potential, but when they fail so often they lose their power. Do these ads work? I don’t even see them anymore. Do you?

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Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.