Celebrity Big Brother is Watching You

What with the inexplicable popularity of ‘Celebrity’ Big Brother and with the not so recent but far more newsworthy revelations from Mr Edward Snowden, in these modern times it is nigh-on impossible to escape the feeling that we’re all being watched.

It is hard to argue against this. We are being watched. We are being watched, logged, captured, assessed, targeted and retargeted. We in the digital market know this and for the most part we think it’s a good thing. The question is, why is it beneficial to have Big Brother watching you?

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While reading this article posted in Econsultancy I immediately got the impression that the retargeting element of RTB was a touch on the invasive side. To paraphrase, the author of the article had been looking for engagement rings and being bombarded with related ads whilst his girlfriend was around didn’t help the surprise part of the proposal.

However, as a consumer, being retargeted correctly can be useful. For example, if I am retargeted with a car insurance product a couple of weeks before I’m due to renew, rather than renew automatically, an ad would encourage me to shop around to secure a better deal. I have to admit, that would be pretty helpful.

This is all well and good but I wanted to find out from the experts why retargeting can be good for the consumer.

Tim from Amnet immediately highlights the ‘relevancy’ point. The consumer is going to be hit by adverts regardless, better to be shown adverts that are relevant to you. Secondly he highlights (and this is my personal fave) that “the Internet is (by and large) paid for by advertisers so in the grand scheme of things, RTB/retargeting is of benefit to the consumer (Facebook, Gmail, all search engines etc. wouldn’t exist without advertising)”.

Adam from PKR picks up on the relevancy aspect saying that “advertisers aren’t about wasting money, they want to hit the most relevant audience which happens to be you”.  He mentions that in retail especially you are not only shown items that you have looked at but similar items you may be interested which “offers a quick way of showcasing stock to the customer without the need for them to visit the site and search”. Another really great point Adam makes is that “By identifying and retargeting, in many instances this will result in the advertiser offering a bonus/incentive e.g. if you a visit a gambling site but don’t register, a retargeting banner may offer you a ‘free £5’ bonus to register”.

Some great points there from the boys. For me the best justification in there is that without advertising, many of the tools I use for free wouldn’t exist, or at the very least I’d have to pay for them.

I’ll leave you with this tortured analogy. If when perusing the web you get the feeling someone is watching you, you’d be correct, but don’t worry, we’re talking more Truman Show than Scream.