Ad Personalization: Coming to a Smartphone Near You

Do you remember what the world was like 20 years ago? 15 years? Heck, even 10 years ago?

There were no smartphones, no Facebook, no YouTube or Twitter. The Internet was barely an afterthought for advertisers.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you know just how much has changed since then. The rise of the Internet, smartphones and social media has changed the advertising landscape completely.

Using services such as Google Analytics we’ve already started to see ad personalization on the Internet. For example, because I have searched St. Lawrence College several times on Google, I now have ads on my Facebook page for Kingston businesses and services.

Here’s one company’s pitch for ad personalization:

Bell Media wants to take this concept a step further:

“Bell will soon start tracking how its customers use the web and their mobile devices, what they watch on TV, and when they make phone calls.

According to its recently updated privacy policy, Bell will begin collecting customer data on Nov. 16. The company says the data will be used for improving network performance, creating marketing reports and selling targeted ads on mobile devices.”

via Bell to track customers’ web history, TV viewing, phone calls, mobile usage | CityNews.

This announcement has caused concern among some:

“It’s a level of intrusiveness and monitoring that I think is truly unprecedented in Canada.” — Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa and the Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law.

Bell Media wants to heavily track its users.

Bell Media wants to heavily track its users.

Bell is spinning this story differently:

“We want to ensure that Bell customers see the kind of advertising that actually matters to them. It won’t mean you’ll see more ads, but you’ll see better ones” said Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Mobility and Residential Services”

via Bell to deliver online advertising relevant to customers while protecting their data | CNS.

So which is it? An invasion of privacy? Or simply an attempt to deliver relevant advertisements to consumers? I’m having a hard time deciding.

Another 10 years from now will we be at the point where virtually every ad we see is specifically tailored to us? Please, let me know where you stand on this issue in the comments.

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Seniors on the Internet?!

“The times they are a-changin'” — Bob Dylan

These words were certainly true when Dylan first sang them 49 years ago. Dylan is 72 now, but his words still ring true to this day.

The change that I’m talking about however, is seniors transitioning from consumers of typically only traditional mediums, such as television, radio or print, to being consumers and users of the internet and the new media that has come along with it.

A project for Tom Brennan’s Media Awareness class is what originally started me thinking about this subject. Through my research I learned some facts that genuinely surprised me.

According to one study, in 2009, 13% of American seniors reported using social networking sites such as Facebook. By April 2012, this number had risen to 34%. That is nearly a 150% increase in only three short years. The same study found that 18% of seniors reported using a social networking site on a daily basis. These numbers are only going to continue to grow.

Next, consider this article by Frank Kaiser for seniorlivingmag.com. It is an article, written by a senior, detailing how poor and underdeveloped advertising for seniors actually is.  Here are just a few advertisements I could find that either featured seniors or were aimed towards them:

By now the alarm bells are going off in any advertiser’s mind. The internet is a virtually untapped market for advertising to seniors. They are literally asking for advertising directed towards their age group.

Someday soon, if not already, we are going to start seeing many more advertisements featuring and aimed at the senior generation. Advertisers cannot and will not ignore this market any longer. Especially when you consider the fact that the seniors of tomorrow are already familiar with the internet.

So when you see your grandparents on Facebook in the near future, don’t laugh. Their generation will soon be just as important to online advertisers as ours is already. They are going to be the next big thing in the marketing world, and I applaud the companies that have taken the first steps towards capitalizing on this market.

As Bob Dylan sang in his famous song, “you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changin.'”

Users as Producers

Telegraph. Telephone. Radio. Television. Movies. Records. VHS. CDs. Mobile phones. Internet. Instant messaging. Smartphones. YouTube. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Vine.

Media, communication, technology, and consumption habits have all drastically changed in a relatively short period of time. A project for Tom Brennan’s Media Awareness class that I was working on with Chantal Lauzon recently, really opened my eyes to how much the landscape has changed.

One thing that really caught my attention is that we are now in a state where we’re not solely consumers of media, as it was in the past, but now we’re also producers of media. The biggest factor in this transition has been the astonishing rise of social media.

Milestones in Social Media

Milestones in Social Media

Nowadays, anyone with internet access can upload a video to YouTube, write a post on Facebook or Twitter, share their music via Soundcloud, upload photos they took to Instagram, or a short, hilarious video to Vine. Applications such as Hootsuite make it easier to share through several of these platforms at once. People may have many different reasons for sharing content, but the important part is that they are.

This change from users to producers has had a major impact on the world. Take, for example, the case of Jenna Marbles. She started out as an unknown on YouTube and today she has one of the top 10 most subscribed to YouTube channels.

This would not have been possible even 15 years ago. YouTube allowed her to produce her own content and post it online. She didn’t have to go through TV networks or auditions.

Reasons for sharing on Social Media

Reasons for sharing on Social Media

Even this blog demonstrates the shift from users to producers. Anyone can start a WordPress blog for free and write until their fingers bleed. Who knows, maybe I’ll be the Jenna Marbles of the blog world. Maybe my future employer is reading this right now. Whether or not this is true doesn’t matter. What matters is that the shift from being media consumers to media producers has made this remotely possible.

So go forth, don’t be afraid to share what you’ve got. If you have anything in particular you’d like me to check out, just post it in the comment section and I’ll be sure to take a look.

Glossophobia and you!

Your palms are sweaty. Your mouth is dry, and your hands are shaking. You forget the words. What comes next?

No, I’m not talking about your karaoke performance at the bar last weekend. I’m talking about public speaking.

fearofpublicspeakingEarlier this week, our class had to give our first presentations in our presentations skills class, lead by professor Jackie St. Pierre. Although they were short, five minute presentations, they still posed a big problem for some.

According to a blog post by Merri Bame, glossophobia, (the fear of public speaking), is still the number one phobia, ahead of the fear of death or heights.

Although I am generally a quieter person, (at least until you get to know me), public speaking has never really given me trouble. This, however, is not the case for everyone. As such, I will highlight some tips that work for me and other advice.

The most important factor for me to succeed in public speaking is rehearsal. Even for our five minute presentation, I practiced at least fifteen times. This not only ensures that I know the material well, but also that I know my delivery method. It is important to know what you’re saying, but equally important is knowing how to say it.

The University of Wisconsin website has a great page about public speaking anxiety. It offers tips for the before, during, and after stages of a presentation. One piece of advice I find valuable is to videotape yourself. This will allow you to see, among other things, any habits which may detract from what you’re saying, such as tapping your foot.

Another great piece of advice they offer is to remember that most public speakers deal with some anxiety. You are not alone. One study found that at least 74% of people suffer from speech anxiety.

Everyone is going to have different strategies. The important part is to find what works for you and run with it. Maybe you need to do fifteen push ups to get pumped up, or maybe you listen to death metal to get into the zone. Whatever your strategy is, know that you can be a good public speaker.