When you’re online you’re being tracked. Google does it. Facebook does it. Most websites do it, too (not PixoBebo or any of the other Villagers websites). Why? You’re being tracked because big data thrives on, well, more data about you.
All that data gets gobbled up by advertisers, ostensibly to help target more relevant ads that will make you click more. Think of it as machine learning, big data, artificial intelligence that helps to find ads relevant to you.
There’s just one problem. Online ads are not that smart. How so?
What is relevant to you may not be relevant to an advertiser, but you can figure out what’s going on behind the scenes by looking at some of the ads websites throw in front of your face (all the ads on PixoBebo and the Villagers websites are Apple-oriented).
Here’s a good example, and it’s one you may have repeated a few times.
You search Google for something that interests you. Then you find a few items, check them out, and then search Amazon for similar items to compare prices. I do that often; for myself, yes, but sometimes for my parents, family members, co-workers, and friends.
What does that cross-searching (my term) do to the big data collections going on in the background? They’re distorted. What does it do to AI and machine learning? They get their data corrupted.
Here’s another example. So, I search for items on Amazon, put a few in my cart, then wait for price changes. Amazon changes prices to entice you to buy. If the price change is sufficient, I might by, I might not, but sometimes I move the items in the Saved section.
Over the next week I will start to see online ads– both relevant and completely irrelevant– to whatever I put into my Amazon cart, or whatever I searched for on Google. Since Google controls the world’s advertising you would think all ads would be relevant.
They. Are. Not.
Just look at the ads you see when you’re online. Relevant? Or, not? Most are not. Why not? There are far more non-relevant advertisers than there are advertisers relevant to our needs, as exemplified by the big data collections, and what machine learning and AI do to match us with incentives to click on an ad.
In simpler terms, the ads are stupid.
When I buy something on Amazon I’ll get a half dozen email messages promoting similar products as if I’m starting some kind of collection of rubber boots. The ads we run on PixoBebo come from a service that uses humans to place the ads.
No data. No AI. People.
Nearly all online ads are managed– bought and placed– via an online program with no requirement to talk to a human being.
I’m not saying that humans are smarter than software– both have their relative stupidity going on– but it seems the entire online advertising business is about taking money and making advertisers believe their results are relevant to their needs.
If so, then why are the ads I see when I’m online all wrong for me?