Forgive me, but you’ll find at the bottom of this post yet another Ice Bucket Challenge video. I was on vacation and somewhat off the grid a couple of weeks ago when the ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Ice Bucket Challenge meme hit, so I wasn’t quite sure what the shout-out from Hammock president John Lavey was all about when it hit my in-box.
I continue to be amazed by the story-telling power of maps. This New York Times interactive map of recent fighter jet and drone strikes in northern Iraq makes me wonder how the use of visualized data used by news media in the form of maps would have changed the way people understood, in real-time, previous wars and conflicts. Yes, social media is changing the face of journalism, but so is data-driven journalism and visualized data of this quality. (Not to be confused with the lack of quality found in the vast majority marketing-oriented infographics.)
For years, I’ve been fascinated with the ways in which one can tell stories with maps using simple tools Google Maps provides. (Since my first attempt at doing it, the tools have become incredibly more sophisticated).
On the website for the public radio show, This American Life, I just ran across a map-as-feature that I can’t recall seeing on another news site. It could be on lots of them, I just don’t recall ever having seen it. And it could have been on This American Life’s website for years, but I just saw it for the first time today. This American Life calls the feature a Story Globe (reminds me a bit of a “Tag Cloud”). It’s simply an interface of the story archive displayed by location using Google Maps.
(See update at the end of the post.)
While I typically support efforts to add sanity to our overly-litigious culture that seems to encourage anyone to sue anybody for anything, I don’t think the lawyers at General Mills thought through the type of social media firestorm they would ignite by adding language to the company’s website alerting customers they can’t take legal action against the company if they’ve done things like download a coupon, enter a contest or, if read literally, liked on Facebook one of the company’s products, say, Cheerios or Wheaties or Macaroni Grill or Fruit Loops.
A few months ago, I posted an explanation of what advertising retargeting is.
In it, I wrote:
Say, you have an interest in bicycling and you spend a few minutes on a Saturday morning visiting some online retailers to see what they have related to something you’re thinking about getting. Later, you notice that everywhere you go on the internet you see ads that look like the ad below.
I believe good advertising is a good thing. Good advertising can help us discover things we might otherwise miss. And the revenue from advertising helps keep lots of content free to the user.
But I’m not sure advertising retargeting, as it is being practiced today, is good advertising.
Advertising retargeting (also called behavioral retargeting) must be effective, for it’s everywhere I go. For example, a month ago, I visited the website of a security camera that was mentioned in a post on SmallBusiness.com. Over the following weeks, ads for the camera appeared on random websites I’d visit, dozens of times each day.
So, retargeting must work–at least in the way that 2 out of 100 click-throughs are twice as effective as 1 out of 1oo click-throughs. But what about the 98 people who don’t click at all? I believe that some of them are being inspired to learn how to opt-out of retargeting — and other forms of advertising, altogether.
Retargeting is especially offensive during any gift-giving season, I wonder how families who share a computer (who don’t know how to avoid retargeting) are responding to the way retargeted ads will be show up when the person you’re shopping for is using the same web browser. (Tip to keep your gift shopping a secret: Shop from an “Incognito window” if using Chrome, “Private Browsing” in Safari, or “Private Window” in Firefox. In those modes, tracking cookies can’t be downloaded to your browser.)
I believe the use of retargeting has reached the point at which it can be so intrusive and random it will encourage people to adapt their usage of browsers to avoid such ads, altogether. In doing so, they will lose some of the personalization and customization features of a browser that can be helpful.
Too often, marketers tend to forget to think like customers. Too often, they don’t realize when they’re killing geese who lay golden eggs.
Google Ad Help (allows you to adjust the types of ads you see)
NAI (National Advertisers Initiative) – A self-regulatory approach major advertisers and ad-serving networks are providing that provides consumers a single dashboard to control the types of ads they see.