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Do you ever find yourself browsing through social feeds with three fingers behind your phone, pinky tucked for support, scrolling with your thumb?

Yeah, same.

Anyway. These days, scrolling through the feed can be highly entertaining. It’s a national pastime, honestly. Pass a few dank memes, photos of your friends slaying from the night before, and mass amounts of cute animals. (Puppies, otters, bunnies, oh my.)

Uber puppies, baby. Double tap.

Best cure for the Rainy Day Blues? #uberpuppies, of course. Nice to meet ya, Luke and Storm! 🐶🐶

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Sometimes you may find yourself engaging with an advertisement without even knowing you’re engaging with an advertisement. Yes, this can be construed as creepy, but at the advertiser’s level, this level of targeting is quite successful.

So you got trolled by targeting. Grow up. As social media users, we are now inherently served ads at a regular interval, partially because we live in the age of narcissism: 

  • You publish your birthday on your profile to receive those coveted warm wishes
  • You identify yourself in a relationship to be cute, or to mark your territory from Becky with the good hair
  • You flesh out your digital identity with superfluous details designed to illustrate the curated version of “you”

Even if you stripped your profile down to absolutely zero information about your life, you’ll likely still get targeted through the email address associated with your social media accounts. 

If you were engaging with an ad and didn’t know at first, chances are you most likely love (or at least respond positively to) the product or service. Here are a few ads that have made me do a double take.

[Editor’s Note: The following is based on the social media activity of a user who loves cheese, owns a dog and is thinking about buying a home. But make sure he puts a ring on it first, Grace. —MS]

Hi. I’m Grace, and welcome to my targeted life.

Food & Drink 

Social media’s first child, the love of my life and probably yours too, cheese. Engagement rates on ads that involve food are insane. Users are highly likely to at least like or comment on these delicious posts. Getting each user to go from the ad onto a specific landing page is the harder part. For an example, a landing page with a recipe or certain product. The brand that targeted you would use their products and would hopefully convert to an offline or online sale.

Vitamin Water

DiBrunos Bros

Borden Cheese

I had to give this one a like. 

Animals

Social Media 101: Cute animals go viral. (And sometimes, even horrific animals go viral.) Advertisers use this to their advantage to earn engagement, clicks and conversions. As a frequent PetSmart shopper, I am constantly targeted with dog food and toy advertisements on Instagram. Hot tip, PetSmart: Save your money. I will continue to shop there. If brand loyalty weren’t a thing, these visuals alone would assist in a higher result rate. Would you agree?

PetSmart

Home

More so than nearly any other industry, visuals are an absolute necessity in real estate. Users need to visualize themselves inside their potential purchase or rental before clicking through an advertisement. If you can’t get on base, you’re not making a conversion. the same tactic ties in with selling home goods through an e-commerce or brick-and-mortar store. You have about three seconds to grab someone’s attention these days. The image must sell them in less than that time.

Realtor.com

Bed Bath & Beyond

Targeting can be tricky, but when done properly you can find the balance between angering prospective customers and turning them into a conversion. Social advertising isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it’s just getting started. As you may of noticed, ads are appearing with far greater frequency now on Snapchat and in Instagram stories, along with Facebook Messenger.

Where will social advertisements target us next? Give us a ring and let’s talk about it.

About the Author

Grace Stasky

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