Products From Targeted Ads Might Be Worse Than You Think
- Health and Wellness, health2cmedical2cpharma, marketeconomics29, marketing, onlineadvertising, productdesign, targetedadvertising, technology2cinternet
- Ad blocking, Advertising, Business, Communication design, Culture, Entertainment, Finance, Google Ads, Health, Internet, Lifehacker, Market economics), Marketing, Medical, Online advertising, Pharma, Product design, Targeted advertising, Technology
Almost everything you do on your phone is tracked. That data is collected and used to sell you targeted ads, which can be fine—but more often than not, they products are lower quality than what you would otherwise buy. A new study published this week from researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Virginia Tech shows how targeted ads are selling us more expensive products from lower quality vendors.
In the study, targeted ads were shown to 500 participants, where they were directed to more expensive products from lower-quality vendors than they would have otherwise found online through a generic search. The average price hike was 10%, and the products were twice as likely to be sold by lower-quality vendors according to Better Business Bureau ratings.
Of course, not everything about personalized ads is objectively bad. Seeing an ad for a local concert with your favorite band is better than some of other clutter you might see on banner ads and social media feeds. But even if it’s a product or service you’d like to buy, it’s it’s worth taking an extra step of two instead of buying directly from the ad and risking a more expensive, less-quality product. Just do a quick search to find that same product or service to get the “real” price and maybe a more reputable vendor. And, of course, consider using a VPN or privacy-focused browsers to avoid all that tracking before it starts.