Navigating the online jungle

By August 16, 2017Blog

There it is again – another pop-up. And all you were doing was trying to help your dear beloved grandmother search for the nearest dentist who can help fix her false teeth. Now your Facebook newsfeed is poplulated with ad after ad after ad for partial, upper and snap-in dentures! Yes… this is how advertising has progressed from the days of “Mad Men”.

We have become so accustomed to logging on to Facebook and immediately drowning in banners selling us the latest smartphone which has just hit the market… conveniently right after you’ve spent the past hour browsing through possible options for your next phone upgrade.

Google Ad Words, algorithms and the likes, pushing target-specific content onto our social media sites and mobile devices, have given advertisers even more tools to reach us as their target market. This goes well beyond just targeting us on our social sites based on our surfing patterns, but has crossed over onto platforms (or apps) which we have grown to use as part of our daily lives.

Think of Google Maps… you see it as a way of getting from point A-to-B, but as of December 2016 (the date of the inception of the “Promoted Places on Google Maps” concept), it has also fallen victim to popular brands using it to feature their special offers and thereby attracting foot-traffic to their stores. So the next time you’re Googling your way to wherever you might be going, don’t go on a shopping detour because of that “special offer” ad.

Think of all the times you’ve lost track of what you were reading due to an irritating pop-up, popping up onto your screen. Maybe that auto play video that sits on the side-panel of your favourite news site and picks the most inconvenient time to “sing you the song of its people”, letting everyone around you know that you’re not paying attention to the mid-morning pep-talk delivered by your manager in the boardroom.

Now we’re not saying that all intrusive ads are… well… intrusive. It’s just a matter of having the right ad delivered to us at the right time, on the right website and in a way that doesn’t distract us from what we initially intended to do when we clicked the search icon. Isn’t this what got us into this situation to begin with?

Question is: Has utilising all these platforms proved to be successful or has it become unbearably intrusive?

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