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Online advertising has been around ever since the beginning of the internet, it had a slow uprising, but surly enough advertisements on the internet have become as advanced as some of the sites they’re broadcast on. Facebook views each user as an individual who has unique tastes and interests, and they feel advertisements should be the same so Facebook has developed an advanced system that reviews each user’s personal info as well as post history in order to determine which ads are most relevant to you.
As James Twitchell said, “18 year olds are much more interesting from an advertisement standpoint,” which is why when we look around in TV and billboards, most ads are targeting youth. Although Facebook has grown to accommodate more than teens, most if not all teens have or have had a Facebook, so naturally ads on Facebook were expected. In order to keeps these ads relevant Facebook uses a system which goes through a user’s personal information and recent activity, it then finds appropriate advertisements that fit each individuals tastes. This system also allows users to further customize the ads given, when a person finds an advertisement they feel is irrelevant, they can close it and Facebook will then automatically adjust and find a better ad. This gives people a chance to respond to the automated system if they feel the ads they are getting aren’t interesting to them
James Twitchell stated the importance of advertisements in his article debate with Sut Jhally, in the article the two argue the importance of ads in modern society. Twitchell brings up a great point when he disagrees with Jhally about companies and their power over the consumer. Twitchell argues that the consumer ultimately controls the big corporations, because the consumer decides what type of products they will buy and therefore certain ads will be more effective than others. Proof of this can be found with Facebook’s system for advertisements, by tailoring each ad to a user Facebook is bringing relevant content straight to them instead of the user being inundated with things that don’t interest them.
Most online advertising reaches only 27% of its intended audience. Facebook’s average is 91%, since users are effectively picking their own advertisements. This unique way of reaching out to consumers allows companies to use Facebook as a type of focus group by seeing which items or companies are most effective with the current trends. This leads to more advanced targeting of audiences by using ads that follow the drift of recent interests. This is another example of Twitchell’s theory that the consumer has power over corporations and their products.
Another unexpected form of advertisements is through friends on your news feed, although subtle and often unintentional, users are still subliminally looking through various ads just by scrolling through updates. 18-24 year olds on Facebook have an average of 510 friends, and although they may not talk to all of them on a regular basis, each of those friends is broadcasting ads all over the internet. By just scrolling down their news feed, users are exposed to ads whether if its someone posting photos of their new sunglasses or just a status update about a new album, and chances are these unnoticed ads will have a much bigger impact than anything else, because these ads are almost like a personal recommendation from a trusted source. These ads even spread beyond materialistic things, for example if someone posts an album of their vacation; they’re advertising that space as well as their experience there. This kind of peer to peer advertising is really efficient because most of the time the consumer rarely realizes they’re being advertised to and since it’s a person whom they most likely know personally and not a paid model promoting the item or experience, they feel more comfortable buying whatever it is being marketed.
Online advertising is one of the greatest ways to display your message to possible consumers due to the sheer number individuals who use the internet daily. So by filtering out all irrelevant content, Facebook users are only exposed to ads that would most likely interest them. This selective advertising is the key to Facebook’s success both because users don’t have random ads as well as the achievement rate this method has been having.
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