How Google and Facebook Ads are Actually Good for our World.

Online ads are a good thing. Tracking our online habits to show us more relevant ads is a great thing.

Let me explain,

Online ads are one of the most democratic ways of advertising, like ever. A new shoe startup with a 100$ daily advertising budget can have it’s ad shown next to a nike ad. albeit to a fewer number of people.

Online ads are relevant. When you have a 100$ daily budget, you want to make sure each dollar goes to a potential client with as much intent and ability to purchase your product as possible.

As a business owner you would go for targeted ads over inefficient, one size fits all ads. Hands down, right? In the pre internet era this meant everything from trade magazines to in-school advertisements.

Digitally targeted and delivered ads are better than traditional ones in most ways possible!

  1. From a business owners perspective you would find them increasingly scalable, economical and measurable than traditional ads.
  2. As a fellow human being you would appreciate the negligible amount of finite resources spent and waste generated per ad.
  3. As a consumer you might appreciate that you’re getting to use a tool that helps you connect with friends and family, search at mind boggling speed or read daily newspaper for free in return while in traditional mediums you mostly had to buy your ads. Ouch.
The good ol’ days.

Every ad dollar spent digitally is an ad dollar taken away from a traditional inefficient medium, that is neither better for businesses, consumers, our city’s aesthetics or our planet.

Then what is all the ruckus about?

Privacy’.

The same thing that makes online adverts lucrative is it’s kryptonite too.

People fear their online behaviour is being exposed without their permission to advertisers, data analysts within the company or externally or maybe even publically somewhere on the deep dark web.

Let’s be clear about one thing here, the only human who gets to know if facebook algorithm has figured out you are into tuna flavored cat food for your little fluff ball, is you, and the person peeking over your shoulders. Period. NOBODY ELSE.

“Shoulder Surfing” a much worse privacy concern. Source of Image: Image source: https://slate.com/technology/2018/05/in-defense-of-peeking-at-a-strangers-iphone-screen.html

Not one real person at google or facebook gets to know what you are into. For them you are just a blip on an ocean of a data and can’t give two dimes about an individual user’s personal interests.

If facebook has figured out you are into weird artifacts it’s because the algorithm got you searching on ebay and google repeatedly for some specific keywords for stuff you almost bought. Not as a result of human intervention.

Enough.

The only thing that knows what you are into apart from you is a dumb code that knows nothing else other than matching advertisements with online behaviour. Advertisements, not advertisers. They don’t get to know either!

The code doesn’t judge.

I mean, what has been the worst thing that happened as a result of showing targeted ads in the past decade and a half of its existence?

Cambridge Analytica doesn’t count as the controversy was due to misuse of data and violation of trust. Facebook has taken corrective measures which resulted in a significant drain of market cap.

Which probably means they meant money.

So I hope you too will take them in good faith unless or until they default again.

I think it’s this. People glued to their phones everywhere. Targeted advertising has democratized internet.

A tool like facebook which costs upward of a billion dollars a year to run, that allows for connection globally and unlimited storage of baby photos could be made free for all. If facebook had no targeted ads it would still just be a premium collage directory for kids.

Google could not have been utilized by billions of people for proving their friends wrong and Gmail simply could never be affordable to 90% of internet traffic who would then have to resort to poor alternatives. if it weren't for targeted advertisements, millions of creators would be working boring jobs instead of creating art, writing great blogs and making videos that inspires and moves the rest of us.

Young professionals on linkedin and budding ‘experts’ on twitter would have a harder time building up their respective careers or stalking celebrities.

These great free tools have levelled the playing field significantly - globally and demographically. Students, businesses and curious minds have access to same people, same content (with ironic exceptions like medium) that everyone else does. Isn’t this the time to be alive?

Also why would you ever want to see an ad for a hanukkah feast when you are not into Jewish festivals or see an ad for regular cat food when you can instead have tuna flavor on your screen?

Isn’t time too precious to be shown irrelevant ads?

Isn’t time the stuff life is made of?

Why hate these ads when you can befriend them? And let them help you. How? They are helping us make better purchases and helping keep the internet democratic for millions of businesses and billions of people round the globe.

Great things can happen when you embrace the rationale behind targeted advertisement.

I rest my case.

This is in no favor of Government surveillance or misuse of trust for undemocratic ends or spam. They need to be debated and deleted duly. And no, am in no way related or even know anyone working at facebook or google. Am a fan at best and nothing more.

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Growth Obsessed Fractional CMO.

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Tijo Philip

Tijo Philip

Growth Obsessed Fractional CMO.

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