Just like AdWords, Facebook offers an advertising system, too. Again it allows you to set your budget on your own, as well as to direct the advertisements to a specific audience. You can choose different targeting parameters – age, hometown, gender, and even interests of the consumers. With every element filled in – state, age group, interests, and so on, Facebook calculates how many consumers your advertisement will reach. Sometimes, if you fill in too many elements, it may turn out that you will advertise before a very restricted group of people, which, however, increases the chances for the consumers in question to click on the advertisement and purchase the product or service you offer.
An interesting fact is that the advertising campaign launched on Facebook with concrete goals (clicks, likes, etc.) optimizes itself on its own during the duration of the campaign. On the first days Facebook’s system distributes your advertisement in one way but after the neural network is trained sufficiently it starts using mostly the audience that is most responsive to your advertisement. This way, if the first and the second day are not too successful, you may be surprised that on the third and subsequent days the campaign starts picking up speed more and more although you have not changed anything on it.
With the Facebook advertising, you can target a much more specific group of people. In smaller countries, this type of targeting is not working well enough yet (because the critical mass of consumers is not big), but on a global scale you can target your advertisements to interesting groups of people, such as:
- People away from home
- Single parents
- Alternative medicine fans
- Religious consumers (people followers of a concrete religion)
- Targeting according to people’s political views – democrats, conservatives, etc.
The list is endless and it is based on the entire available information that consumers have shared publicly on the social network. Some of the data have not been collected from the concrete marking of an “I like alternative medicine” line but if the consumers have shared or liked such type of pages often enough, they automatically enter this category.
You should bear in mind that behind the so-called algorithms, which process the information on Facebook and Google, there are smart systems that are close to artificial intelligence and they can ascertain your possible interests with a great deal of accuracy.
In this sense, there is no need to publicly declare that you are married, have kids, or that you are an anarchist fond of classical music living away from home – all this information will become pretty clear after a few weeks of normal use of the social network. You should not be concerned by this because it is part of the changing environment and fighting it will mean putting you on the same footing as those, who refused to ride the first trains, airplanes, or even bicycles.
Google NOW is thinking instead of you
Since I mentioned artificial intelligence, it is time to tell you about the Google Now application. It is installed in most of the smartphones and it can be found under the name Google as an icon with the capital G letter. Many people do not even suspect that it is installed on their Android-based phones, let alone that they have activated it at one time. However, this is something that can change the way you perceive the internet and the world around you completely. After you experience, consider, and accept it, any new business idea may reach much bigger scale than before. What am I talking about?
The application aims at helping you in your everyday activities through its artificial intelligence-like system. Indeed, it is hard to describe it because it is neither an email sending application, nor a calendar, nor a music app, and it has always been hard for me to say what exactly it is because it does not have a concrete purpose but to make your day easier. Here is how it works. To begin with, the application will start communicating with you over simple things and show you messages of the type “it is 26°C outside, with some clouds”, “there is a risk of rain – get an umbrella”.
So far, nothing special. I had just forgotten about this application when I went to a training course but I had to park about 500 meters away from the building, in a small obscure street in front of a block of flats. About an hour before the end of the event I received a notification from this app, informing me that according to the current traffic situation my trip home will take 26 minutes by car and reminding me just exactly where I have parked – stating the concrete place my vehicle is and the place I am at the moment. For just a fraction of a second I was shocked – how did an application understand that I have parked at a concrete place? It is simple – if I move at a speed of about 20 km/h, while in another moment I start moving faster, logically one can assume that I am using a car. After I get off the car, my pace drops to 5 km/h and my behavior as a moving device monitored with a GPS is absolutely different because I do not observe traffic lights, change pavements, cross streets.
On the next day, I received a notification that I should go to a certain place and again I was shown a map and time when I should be there and how long it would take me. The application was not very aware of what was on the map but I knew that there was a massage studio there, which I use regularly. The system had localized where I was at almost one and the same time every week and simply offered me to do what I am expected to do at that time… It had located the address of my office with the same accuracy… In fact, the application directly asked me whether this was my office, showing it on a map but it did not guess. The interesting part of this was that the address I was shown was of my office three months ago, while I had not activated the application back then.
Most people find this scary. An application developed by a huge corporation is following me and knows everything about me. So what? To be honest, instead of being shocked by the intrusion of my personal space, I am rather curious what else it can offer and the principles it works on. And last but not least – recently, I had to park in a city I had never visited before, on an obscure street I would have hard time remembering and locating, especially during the night. My first thought was whether I had switched on the internet and after I assured myself of this, I was absolutely calm because I knew someone else would remember the exact place I had parked my car at. I did not even look at the name of the street or for certain benchmarks nearby because I knew that something else was thinking instead of me, while my brain continued working and dealing with the really important things instead of burdening itself with useless information like what street I had parked my car on.
Try not to judge this technology. Either good or bad, whether it violates your freedom or not, whether there is something behind it and what it is – it does not really matter. It is a fact and it is part of the 21st century. Just accept it and think about how you can use the maximum of its potential. If this thing is already in your pocket, you should adapt your business according to it. Why don’t you think about what you can improve, whether you can do something better or at least use this technology to do something totally different and much more modern?