Personalisation in marketing: Getting better experience or losing more money?

E-commerce lets you search and compare items beyond imagination across multiple stores and shops with just one click. This possibility seemed distant a few years ago, but it has become a reality. Likewise, it was hard to imagine ads recommending products directly to every potential buyer… and getting it right!

While consumers see this new way of advertising manifesting itself in surprising newsletters and advertisements, the advertising personalisation process is a complex and data-intensive process.

This article discusses targeted ads and some of their negative impacts on consumers’ daily lives.

Targeted ads and personalisation

Internet advertisers use virtual trackers to display products that are relevant to potential consumers.

These trackers, cookies, are stored while browsing the internet and can record data from those who browse websites as varied as:

  • A device used to access the website;
  • History of visited websites;
  • Pages visited on websites;
  • Recently clicked or purchased products;
  • IP address;
  • Geographic location;
  • Date and time of page access.

Tracking cookies are not threatening from a cybersecurity perspective, as they are not vectors for malware and unwanted advertising programs.

However, they are quite specific in data collection. When this data is cross-referenced, it allows advertisers to form a detailed profile of who the potential buyers are.

In one way, this makes advertising more effective; on the other hand, it reduces individual privacy. One of the most famous custom virtual ad models is that of Facebook auctions.

In them, companies select a target audience within the social network to target their advertisements. Whoever gives the most attractive bid wins priority to display their products, winning the auction.

People like customization

It must be recognized that ad targeting appears to be more effective than the advertising mediums that existed before them. Both advertisers and consumers see advantages in this model:

  • 80% of companies surveyed by Econsultancy reported an improvement after joining personalisation.
  • According to Adobe, 66% of consumers said that encountering non-personalised content would stop them from making a purchase.
  • 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized experience, according to a 2018 Accenture survey.
  • More than 50% of consumers are willing to share information about products they like to get personalized discounts, according to a survey by Retail TouchPoints.

Facilitated consumption

Personalised ads can be a bad stimulus for spending. This type of advertising can spark an urge to buy something that is relevant but not necessary or convenient right now.

On e-commerce platforms, shopping is just a click away. When they appear on a website that has nothing to do with e-commerce or right before a video on YouTube, these ads also use data collected by trackers, so they will certainly attract attention.

For this type of situation, using an ad blocker helps to have more fluid browsing. Tools of this type may be contained in virtual privacy programs, such as VPNs, or in the form of browser extensions. You can also use VPNs on your smartphones. For example, download a VPN apk file extension on your Android and enjoy private browsing.

Privacy risks

In addition to collecting a lot of data using trackers, large tech companies, including social media, sell data to advertisers.

Many people are uncomfortable with the sale of their data, often done to third parties with whom the data owners would never share information. The most notorious case of this type was the Cambridge Analytica electoral manipulation scandal in 2018. Other times the sale of data is not clarified in terms of the use of the sites.

However, all virtual advertising is structured around the collection, processing, and sale of data. Companies like Facebook and Google (whose revenue is 80% advertising) only got where they are because they created more effective ads and sales for companies around the world.

In this context, users are already moving to restrict cookies, and companies are aware of this. For example, Google plans to block cookies by default in its Chrome browser.

The individual practice of manually disabling third-party cookies already exists in Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browsers. In addition, using a VPN service gives you more privacy to browse. Mainly known for camouflaging geolocation and IP address, this type of service often has a tracker blocker. Enabling such a function may mitigate the collection and processing of personal data.

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EWN

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