With all of the privacy concerns going on, marketers have been made to feel guilty for tracking consumers. Yes, there’s a line where too much surveillance is creepy. People have a right to privacy. However, advertising requires data. Whether you like ads or not, advertising is more essential than you think.
Do consumers need advertising?
Consumers need advertising. While surveys show that most consumers dislike advertising and online tracking, they depend on it. The billions spent in advertising helps support consumers unpaid content. For instance, Facebook could remove all ads entirely if its 2.8 billion users paid $3 a month for membership. Although, that doesn’t seem like a lot, we know consumers won’t do that. So, advertising is essential. Advertising also boosts our economy. The Association of National Advertisers estimates U.S. ad spend accounts for $7.4 trillion in product and service sales.
Do marketers need to be able to track consumers?
For advertising to succeed, marketers need to be able to track consumers. Online data monitoring picks up signals of people actively searching for any product. It even tracks people who have visited a specific retail location. Data matches message to human interest and, suddenly, advertising works. Search for a product on Google and within minutes your email receives an ad for that product. Amazon likely knows the brand of dishwasher in your kitchen based on your thousands of shopping clicks there. Instagram watches what you Like to immediately serve related ads. This sort of tracking could present a consumer with a product that could change their life. So where is the harm?
Personally, I am a sucker for online ads. Instagram ads always know exactly what I need and I am not mad one bit. Most of the items I have purchased through these ads have made my everyday life a little easier. So yes, advertising is essential for our economy. And consumers appreciate ads more than they think.
Carolina Macedo, the author, is Project Coordinator of Marketing Keys.