Same thing with a pool filter even. If you live in an apartment, or if you're a minor, or you don't own a pool, your chances of buying a pool filter are extremely low. So the fact that you just bought a pool filter puts you in the narrow group of people who would potentially have need for another pool filter. Even though you just bought one, you're still more likely to be a customer than a random person. Hence, generally speaking, sending you ads for the same thing you just bought may be a rational choice for the advertiser.
pool filter: 12 months
reptile UV lamp: 6 months
gift-wrapping paper: 12 months
oil filter, recycling box, 5 qt oil: 4 months
8-ct paper towel rolls: 2 months
television: 4 years
automobile: 10 years
magazine subscriptions: 1 year
tacos: every Tuesday
Think about how you know if someone is interested in something. What does it mean to be interested? How does that translate into a sale?
A person just bought a vacuum cleaner. Does that mean they are interested in vacuum cleaners? Are vacuum cleaners things that people get interested in? Do people who are interested in vacuum cleaners buy more than people who are not interested in vacuum cleaners?
To us these answers are so obvious that it's humorous. To a computer, not so much.
There are many millions of interests, opinions, and things to buy--so count the combinations. We understand it all intuitively because we are adult humans with decades of experience in this society.
This is why search and ad companies hire so many AI researchers.
EDIT: to understand the financial incentives, see my other reply to you. In a PPC ecosystem it is better to match too greedily than to risk missing a customer ready to buy.
Ex: I bought a vacuum, but I'm unhappy with it. I bought a pool or oil filter, but it was the wrong one. I bought an X, but it was defective. I bought an 8-ct of paper towels because I run a cleaning service or property management company and use a lot of paper towels. I bought a pair of jeans and they're the wrong size or I bought a pair of jeans and they're exactly the right size and now I want to order 3 more pair so I can have the ones I like.
Years ago, we built a conditional offer engine and the humans operating it kept complaining that it was "broken" because it was suggesting non-sensical combinations. In split-run, those non-sensical combinations were clear winners, even if the humans couldn't get comfortable with them.
Think about billboards, TV, radio, and magazines. Can't click on any of them, yet hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on them every year because repeating the brand, logo, visual, or message works. There's a reason McDonald's and Coca-Cola advertise heavily. It works.
I work on conversion focused ad campaigns, so YMMV. For conversions, obviously CPA and PPC are superior. I do agree that CPA can be bottom feeders, but PPC is probably the bread and butter of most people I know.
I would suggest that most big companies are paying their agencies, who like pay per view because they can spend more without direct accountability like Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Their job is easier without having to prove their efforts work.
Grain of salt and all. I'm also a guy who has yet to see proof that a branding campaign has value. (It may lift sales, but is it the most effective use of those dollars? Doubtful.)
The problem isn't 100% negative matching (ads shown only to people who already own the thing), the problem is greedy pattern matching (ads shown to anyone who might possibly be interested). That ends up matching against people who want the thing, and people who just got the thing.
And that's not really that bad for advertisers because they only pay for the clicks. People who don't want it (perhaps because they just bought it) just won't click.
It is only a "problem" for the ad platform, in terms of the efficient use of inventory. In theory a poorly matched ad is displacing a better targeted ad that would perform better and make the platform more money.
But practically speaking it is only a competitive disadvantage if your targeting is worse than competing platforms. Even if the targeting leaves a lot be desired, if it is even a little better than everyone else, you'll still land contracts and make money.
On the other hand, this could be an affiliate that tries to generate any click so he gets a commission on your further purchases.
And from the affiliate's perspective, interfacing to good retargeting is just as easy as interfacing to bad. That is, it's a black box owned and managed by Amazon.
You'd think the web advertising industry would at least figure out how to never show me an ad for Hulu or Blue Apron, seeing how those companies don't do business outside the US so the ROI on having me click that is zero.
It really does seem like a boneheaded advertising strategy to market yourself to a consumer audience when the overwhelming majority of them can't pay for your products, and when it's presumably easy to screen that audience out by IP address.
The key difference between marketing and advertising is that marketing is advertising with the added intent of creating a sale to the person viewing the advertisement - advertising directly to their target market.
Advertising is more about brand awareness and viral marketing. You bought a pool filter and won't need one for another year, but you probably have friends/live near/know people who may be in the market for a pool filter, and if they ask you about buying one, the brand awareness may encourage you to suggest that brand, even though you may not have used it yet or no anything else about other brands - which is another key benefit.
Essentially, advertising has a 2-tier benefit. Firstly, it solidifies brand awareness, and secondly, it takes up space that would have gone to a competitor. Now the cost of competing is that much higher, because in order to get your business a competitor would need to invest in a superior product and invest in bringing awareness to you.
"If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it's stupid."
Ads also often get you to associate positive feelings with the brand or product. Again, this might not result in directly buying the product right away, but next time you think of it, you'll be more likely to buy it than if you never saw the ad.
I use remarketing and it definitely annoys some people and they complain that I'm following them around. But you know what? They buy. Without remarketing they forget.
I would love to turn it off after they do buy, but it's too hard to configure and hey, it reminds them to actually use the thing they bought. Customers are great, but only users tell their friends,
Poorly configured ad targeting happens just as often as poorly configured firewalls, servers, Wordpress installs, cloud deployments, etc... probably more often since the consequences aren't as dire.
(Not a fan of targeted ads either, but I often see people complaining about post-purchase targeted ads as if this is a universal problem. So much depends on the specific platforms involved, the skill levels and intentions of the many different ad buyers on each platform, and so on. Results will vary.)
Another great one is "lookalike audience based on LTV". So you only advertise to people who are like your biggest customers.
It always amuses me when Facebook reminds me that it was my wife's birthday the previous day. A real AI would alert me at least a week in advance!
Not sure how much truth is there behind it, but maybe there's a bit. Obviously, it does not apply much to the cruise though.
I've always known this is happening and previously I didn't care because you figure if you are going to get advertised to, why not make it relevant, right? Well, it's more complex than that, here are the problems I have with this kind of data tracking:
1. Data can we used against you in ways you might not understand or have considered.
2. It's a waste of money and resources. Think of all the extra bandwidth, server space, human time, that is spent on just trying to sell people more shit.
3. I don't like the idea of people making money off my data without my knowledge.
4. Targeted ads might distract me and cause me to waste extra time online.
Bottom line -- I have a moral objection to the whole idea of it, and will do everything I can do stop it.
(which does not even include all of the potential methods of browser fingerprinting)
Hopefully over time Disconnect, Privacy Badger, and other tools will be able to recognize and interfere with or block a lot of these methods. I'm not sure what I think the long-term prognosis is.
Credit cards, mortgage providers, retail stores, and car dealers all sell customer information on the open market. Every cell phone company out there knows what provider you have, stores knows what type of clothing you like to buy.
Wiping your computer clean prevents the ads from appearing on your PC, but the tracking of you is still taking place.
I normally don't see ads (NoScript, JS usually off). But when I do I sometimes see ads targeted at teenage girls (i.e. my kids). If the trackers can't get any info about me personally, they probably just default to analyzing other traffic from my shared IP address.
Most apps cost less than a coffee, and personally I get more value out of the apps I use than from a cup of overpriced coffee.
> 3. I don't like the idea of people making money off my data without my knowledge
Collecting massive amounts of intrusive data can lead to regulation, possibly intrusive. An (extreme) example of this is in 1984, where the data collect Oceania does (i.e., telescreens) allows them to control the population.
He maintains a virtual machine "pre-configured for online investigators" and a podcast.
"Subject has entered the website. Subject has 4 cores..." followed by a bunch of notes about my mouse moving around, or me making the window inactive.
The second link that follows that one (http://webkay.robinlinus.com/) really terrified me. I had no idea my private network hosts (192.168.X.X) or my private IP address could be scanned by a random webpage. Or the fact that the webpage could find out my laptop was charging with x% percent charge in real time, or the make and model of my machine and GPU. The geo location accuracy of my ip was also scarily accurate. All this when running in incognito with ad blockers. That is very close to being PII.
Add2: You can even block select corp:
Passwords are, in my opinion, way more valuable than browser history.
For me it's the latter. This is what Google thinks I like: http://imgur.com/a/g8Q7l - reasonably accurate, and I don't care if it's public or used for targeting non-intrusive ads. I like those topics, I buy things, go ahead and show me your products.
My objection is over the data used to learn those interests. I don't want Google tracking my search and page views across the internet, I don't want my credit card company tracking my purchase history, and I certainly don't want my ISP/phone provider tracking my "metadata".
I feel like this article glossed over that aspect. Google's "Ad Personalization" page controls what Google uses, not what it knows. In this age of state, corporate, and foreign surveillance/hacking, I'm far more concerned about the latter.
I get that everyone has accepted this as a "fact of life" but consider how TV advertising was done. The advertisement is tailored to the show you are watching and the time of day.
In other words, if I'm on a tech blog, advertise to me tech products, if I'm reading a cooking recipe, advertise kitchenware,grocery delivery and the like.
As a consumer, I am more likely to remember an advertised product if the AD is within the context of the web page I'm visiting.
Target pages not users! not even as precise as I mentioned above but statistical approximations can be made, much like with TV ads (for example, "ycombinator visitors are likely to buy artisnal cookware compared to people visiting nytimes" )
The problem at the end of the day is that users in general don't like to be tracked. some may sacrfice the privacy for the convenince but most will prefer if the sacrifice wasn't neccesary.
I think better advertising solutions are what is needed. It is unfortunate how much money is instead spent on technology to stalk users, as if using a complex computer system makes it more accpetable or ethical.
While I see what he was getting at, I think it is a somewhat weak analogy because if those kiosk people were like online ads, then on top of just keeping track of visible statistics like age, race, gender, etc. They would be also snooping around your purse or wallet, tracking where you came from, car you drive, etc. and then bundling all that data from all the kiosks to sell to some other company for marketing purposes.
I never really felt like arguing back with him because he's a sales person and I'm terrible at that, but it really didn't surprise me too much that they would think its just as innocuous as the Pepperidge Farm guy offering cheese samples at a grocery store.
The whole target pages, not people...that's the old way of advertising and the performance is garbage. It's better to find people, whenever they are on the web -- within reason -- whenever they may be exhibiting any sort of buying intent.
Block the ads, scripts and cookies etc., if you don't want to be tracked digitally. Ad targeting will only improve.
... yet they can't, not in a million years. And yet we sold our privacy so that they could barely attempt something.
For example, if I search for "subaru" on Google, it makes sense for the ads on the page to be for cars and local car dealers.
Other than that, I think the online ad industry is almost entirely built on lies and half-truths. Ads support a lot of sites I visit, but I think what it costs me (in computer resources and loss of privacy) is no longer reasonable. I run with an ad blocker all the time now. Mostly I object to the tracking, not the ads.
Perhaps 30 minutes later, her partner was on his cellphone and gets an ad for the same appliance, he let us know because it was something he had been wanting. They were both on the same IP address via the router. While they initially had a good laugh, it was supposed to be a surprise.
It really did annoy me and when I explained what was happening they found it equally amusing and frightening. I am pretty sure both of them went to bed that night worried that the other was going to be getting ads for things they might be looking at on the internet.
It's the primary channel for my local community, contacting local elected representatives, family members in distant places, and several sociopolitical communities of which I'm a part. For many people it's a necessity, and other channels like email etc. are far less efficient precisely because they don't leverage the networking effects.
This advise is like telling someone who's worried about toxins in their food to eat less of it.
Which should be recognised as madness in itself. Hopefully you're mistaken, and it's merely one such channel.
My local councilmember tends to respond within minutes or hours to community concerns raised through Facebook, vsa day or longer via email. Given the democratic nature of the position, being speedily accessible/accountable via social media seems entirely appropriate, not to mention efficient.
I don't like that the dominant social media platform is a privately owned commercial operation, but absent an accessible federated open source social media tool with significant network effects, that's what we've got.
Which, depending on toxicity, is exactly appropriate.
You're arguing that there are no options, but that's clearly not correct.
I am not arguing that there are no options, and I don't know what point you aimed to make by suggesting that.
I'm starting to shop for an engagement ring, but since I live with my GF I have to do online research in Incognito mode so ads don't ruin what I hope to be a surprise someday.
File this under "things peeps didn't have to worry about 10-15 years ago"
(Obviously, it also doesn't stop tracking based on being logged into a Google account either for example, but I assume you thought of that!)
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It doesn't really impress me when I approach the internet and introduce myself by name. Of course the internet is going to remember me, if I permit my cookies and request parameters and IP address linger.
Much more interesting is when the internet makes my identity without my having volunteered anything.
Advertising isn't just about what you really need, but also about what you will need more, or again, or earlier, because the commercial impressed the product need in your head. Neuromarketing is a science nowadays, and is pretty scary to me.
Some interesting content on the topic here.
Except for one time years ago when I saw an ad on my own site for a drawing tablet and getting my account suspended for cheating even though I actually bought the tablet. Decided then I'm never gonna do ads on any of my sites.
I think the advertisers care more about about manipulating companies to buy ads than actually increasing that companies sales.
I'm just generally a little overly suspicious about ads because they can be 'phishy'. That and, like others have commented already, the ads i see are for things I recently bought so I have no need to buy them again soon.
- NoScript , First defence. Breaks 30% of sites, but you can selectively enable local scripts to ameliorate that.
- Self-Destructing Cookies , We all need cookies for logging in to things and etc..., but once we've closed the tab, we shouldn't have to keep those cookies with us. This means you have to log-in more often, but I prefer that. Prevents people from seeing your email/facebook/etc... when you're still logged in.
- uBlock Origin , You'll occasionally need to allow scripts you don't like because they're required for the proper presentation of the website. In those cases, you can depend on uBlock to get rid of awful trackers.
- HTTPSEverywhere , Because snoopers aren't always outside your network.
- DuckDuckGo as default search engine  and not-Google Chrome as your default browser, At the very least, you're not supporting the worst privacy offender on the net.
- Non-ad-supported/privacy-oriented service. In the paid category (recommended), I suggest mailbox.org, due to their track record and founding principles. In the free(-ish) category, ProtonMail.ch and tutanota.com.
- Clear Cookies/History on Browser Exit
- Forbid Third-Party Cookies
- And because I believe in magical faeries, DoNotTrack set to True