By. Sam Pulling
Generally, people hate pop-up ads; they are the worst. You’re browsing the web and can’t avoid all the pesky ads that jump onto your screen. Often, it is some video or sound byte, and if you are unfortunate enough to be wearing headphones, goodbye eardrums. That is all online advertising is, right? Pop-up ads that seem to only serve the purpose of annoying their consumers? Wrong.
According to Forbes Magazine, online advertising revenue now surpasses that of Broadcast TV. Let that sink in. Television, in its conception, was an advertiser’s dream. They could play a 30-second advertisement on one of the original four channels and reach consumers nation-wide. Today, the Internet is more than advertisers could have ever hoped for.
Search ads, banner ads, digital ads, and yes, those pesky pop-ups can reach more consumers at a faster pace than TV ads. Think about the last time you watched a TV show. If you are anything like my friends and I, chances are it wasn’t on a TV set; you probably even found a way around the commercials. Now, think about the last time you were on the Internet. You were bombarded with advertisements and you might have not even noticed it. YouTube means sitting through a quick digital media ad. Facebook hosts personalized ads on the side of your newsfeed, while Twitter promotes sponsored tweets. Ads are everywhere. It’s a fact of life. But why should we care?
Online advertising boosts offline sales for companies. Over 600 case studies by Nielsen, a well-known information and measurement company, determined offline sales increased by an average of 22% after online advertising.
Kirthi Kalyanam, a Ph.D. Professor of Business Marketing Department and Director of multiple programs at Santa Clara University, covered studies done by Applied Predictive Technologies. The experiments were with 13 US retailers in 2013, and these experiments found that 88% of consumers research items online before buying them in stores. Everything from cars to clothing to a new barbeque, it has reviews, descriptions and prices online. Along with that, the study found that sales returns after online advertising increased. The graph below shows the data. The number at the top of each bar demonstrates the amount returned. For example, 3.5 means that the company received 3.5 as much in sales as they spent on advertising.
So, I’ve explained why you should care in, say, three years. How about right now at this second? That’s what our generation has been trained to care about. I have a reason behind that statement- companies with an online presence often participate in online behavioral advertising. In simpler terms, they track your online activity. Don’t fret, it’s not as scary as it sounds.
Online behavioral advertising is when webpages track a set of activities to learn more about users’ online personalities. They use this to show advertisements that are relevant to you. They don’t, however, track your life. They don’t know that you and your boyfriend just broke up. They don’t know that you skipped class yesterday. They certainly don’t know what you ordered at the bar. According to TRUSTe, a privacy management firm, companies don’t keep personal information tied to your online persona. They retain data such as your age group, gender and purchase interests. Their goal isn’t to stalk you or know everything about your personal life, that’s just your Facebook friends. These large companies are just looking to make money. That’s it.
As pesky as some online advertising may be, it’s not going away anytime soon.