Digital Advertising: Invasive or Innovative?

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Digital Advertising: Invasive or Innovative?

Companies like Spotify and Netflix are determined to

find the line.


2018 has already proven that there has never been a more exciting time to experience advertising (sorry Mad Men). Obviously our world is becoming increasingly digital in nature and marketers are the pioneers. We are at a place where we can be checking out at Target and look down to see ten different advertisements for the store on our Facebook page. Our technology can almost read our minds and in turn quickly provide us with advertisements for the things we most commonly search, visit, buy, or even just talk about.


We are constantly exposed to ads that are chosen for us this way, and almost anyone can agree that it is definitely a brilliant strategy.


Anyone is significantly more likely to purchase something if they literally can’t forget about it due to their social media continually reminding them. Marketers can now target consumers who are truly the most likely to buy their products because they have ample evidence of their tastes. These consumers have visited their page or even purchased from them before, so marketers can build a precise and unique profile to tailor ads to them. It’s not only more effective for them, but for consumers as well. It is much easier to click on a product that you want and purchase it from a link on a trustworthy social media site rather than to spend time searching for it yourself. The idea is built upon creating a win-win situation for both sides of the market.


Consumers are evidently becoming increasingly comfortable with the concept all the time. A poll taken last year by Pew Research Center discovered that approximately 47 percent of Americans agreed that they were untroubled by retailers keeping track of their information in order to better cater to their needs. Of course, it is safe to assume that there is a correlation between age and skepticism of these technologies. For instance, how many people over 60 do you know with an Amazon Echo?  Nonetheless, it is indubitably the most powerful force in our current digital marketing world and therefore the question must be asked: How far can marketers go before crossing the line between innovative and invasive when it comes to using this data?


Companies like Spotify and Netflix have stepped up to bat first.  


They are using this data mining not only to target consumers, but for the very creation of their advertisements. Last year, Spotify began the experiment by producing a Billboard that read, “Dear person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day: What did you do?” They took another swipe with it by joking, “Skip dinner invites from the people who added these songs to their playlists: Slippery, All of Me, DNA.”


Netflix was quick to jump on the train with a tweet reading, “To the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?”.


The latter example received more scrutiny with consumers upset my the extremely targeted nature of the ad. These outcries have forced marketers to evaluate their usage of collected user data.


In summary, what this issue boils down to put most eloquently by digital marketing and media analyst, Rebecca Lieb: “What would you rather do: creep someone out, or not have them see [the ads] at all?”


Works Cited:

Rittenhouse, L. (2018, January 14). Where Is the Line Between Creepy and Creative in Advertising? Retrieved January 16, 2018, from 

About Author

Reagan Rowlett

Reagan Rowlett

I'm currently a senior graduating in May 2018, with a double major in Marketing and Advertising. I'm looking for a career in Digital Marketing with proven skills in strategy, research, and analytics. Though I am fairly left-brained most of the time, I believe the most important talent I posses is storytelling and being able to tell stories through data. ​I look forward to adding value to your business!

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