California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Facebook customizes advertisements to affect consumer decisions

    It is always a surprise to me when people don’t realize that Facebook and other social media outlets track and monitor who and what you search, like and comment on.

    The fact that companies purchase this information is often more baffling than anything.

    This is how Facebook has grown to become such a huge business, and how they are able to continue operating free of charge to users.

    “On the side it’s like, ‘oh wow, I was just talking about lip gloss,’ and then you click on it and there you go,” said junior Shakivla Todd.

    Companies use this information for many reasons. The information provides a glimpse into the lives and desires of millions of users.

    They also use it to help influence users’ buying habits. While some suggest that there is a definite correlation between social media and buying habits, I disagree.

    I, like many others, try and disregard the advertisements on the sidebars of Facebook. Yes, I get it. They are supposed to be targeting my needs.

    But in reality, how many American Apparel shirts do I need? Or how often do I need to buy a new credit card machine for my business?

    Transfer student Shannon Clarke’s Facebook sidebar has singles ads and ads for shoes and  ads for Victoria’s Secret. Normally, she ignores the ads, but she will occasionally click on ads for the newly promoted items from Victoria’s Secret.

    “I’m kind of obsessed,” said Clarke.

    This is the main goal of ads that have click-through links like the ones in sidebars: American consumerism.

    “I’m a huge impulse buyer,” said Clarke.

    And now that I think of it, so am I.

    Luckily, I rarely have buyer’s remorse but it’s because I buy cool kicks from places like JackThreads.com and Gilt.com.

    Companies target users like Clarke and myself because we talk about clothes and we like the fan pages of brands we follow and enjoy.

    It’s an interesting situation because we might not always come back for more, but that is really the goal of the brand, to create resonance.

    They want the user to remember the brand so when they are in the mall and see the logo, it will resonate positively.

    Junior Gustavo Youngberg says that the ads on his sidebar don’t necessarily make him buy new products, but they allow him to stay informed on upcoming movies and technology products.

    “For the most part, it keeps me informed,” said Youngberg. “But it hasn’t quite influenced me to make a purchase.”

    This is consistent with the notion of resonance. When consumers like Youngberg decide to go to a movie, or buy a new computer, they will already have at least an idea of what options are out there.

    Since I installed AdBlock on Google Chrome, I didn’t even know the iPad mini came out until I saw a huge billboard on Santa Monica Blvd. I thought it was a hoax.
    I love my little clueless, ad-less bubble.

     

    Miles George
    Staff Writer
    Published Nov. 28, 2012

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