I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard “oh my God. We were just talking about that” more than once. My friend will then stare at their screen in bewilderment, fixated on the, say, a Cola advert presented before them. And they’re correct. We had just been talking about that very product, which is kinda creepy. But other than a chuckle and a joke about how ‘they’re’ listening, we quickly move on. We don’t actually care. Whether we should is another question altogether, but for now, let’s just leave with the fact that we do not.
Not many people do. Lots of us like to poke fun at how much corporations now know, but since it doesn’t affect our day-to-day lives it’s almost instantly forgotten. Adverts are a part of life and for everyone currently alive, that has always been the case. So it’s not shocking to see them on social media feeds. The opposite would probably raise more alarm bells.
And honestly, social media ads are actually kind of nice. At least compared to others. They’re really targeted. That much is obvious. No other advert can make me quite so inclined to buy something. And while that’s not great for my bank account, it does make them more interesting.
Also, on a lot of platforms, they’re some of the easiest adverts to skip past when we don’t care. I mean, you can even let Instagram know why you’re skipping…
On social media, we’re often looking up things we want, or at the very least, that interest us. That makes it a lot easier for targeted adverts to hit the mark. And the more effective an Ad, the less irksome it becomes. “Personalizing products gives consumers feel of being empowered”.
Young people might be even more inclined to like them. Various studies have found millennials and younger generations trust social media adverts more than traditional ones. They “do not have any doubt regarding the message credibility and place high value of such information and message source.” It makes sense, we weren’t raised reading the newspaper. When we took an interest in the news our information was presented on a screen. Everything is more comfortable if it’s what you’ve always known. And comfort breeds trust.
As much as we like to complain about how ‘the man’ knows too much, or how we want more privacy, I’m willing to bet that nearly all of us would change our tone if we considered the ramifications of that. Companies know more now because they have access, simple enough. Not that long ago, humans weren't logging their day-to-day affairs onto a database. Even a tech-savvy individual can get ahold of a vast amount of your info. So, take away the devices and the database and you restore the privacy.
But if the only option is giving up the luxuries of the modern world, I don’t think many of us would opt-in. Having targeted ads is a small price to pay for a handheld device more powerful than anything built a century prior. At least, I know it is for me.