Is Sneaky Targeted Advertising Ethical?

Social media marketing is arguably the most sought-after marketing tool in the online marketing business.

And while many of the big names prefer the straightforward approach to marketing their brands, there are some brands that resort to sneaky advertising techniques to capture the interests of consumers as well as target the relevant markets.

How Is Sneaky Targeted Advertising Done?

When it comes to internet marketing, data is of utmost importance, and the future will favor those who give importance to it and collect it throughout. Germany won the 2014 Football World-Cup partly because of better data management and forecasting techniques.

Therefore, data can be a very useful tool in determining the outcomes of many events. Online marketers on social media use a lot of techniques to target the right people for their advertisements. The following are some of these techniques;

Personal Data Violation – This technique involves the buying of consumers’ data stored on platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, and then learning about the interests of such individuals in a bid to show them advertisements that capture their interests. Advertisers also use dishonest techniques like making people fill surveys and use their call recordings to determine their likes and dislikes.

Fake Contests on the Internet – Many times, promoters create fake contests to help their brand gain more awareness and in the process, target their more people. There are hundreds of contests on the internet that ask you to participate through commenting the correct answer’’ or sharing the post among your other social media friends.

Sneaking Into The Minds of Children – Sneaky advertisement could also feature in television programs that focus on young kids, such as cartoons. As marketers know that kids are going to be watching these channels, they advertise their products directly to the children, bypassing their parents. Basically, they are sneaking into the minds of children to influence their parent to buy them the products being pushed.

The Good

Such techniques of marketing might not be seen as acceptable to many people around the world. But it is also true that due to sneaky advertising practices, consumers have been able to discover many products that exist out there, and are therefore better informed before making a purchasing decision.

It should also be noted that due to such techniques, irrelevant advertisements are no longer there to bother a consumer. There is so much data to consume today and such methods of advertisements are desperately needed so as to filter out the data that’s irrelevant for a given consumer segment.

The Bad

Yes, sneaky targeted advertising is extremely helpful for a lot of brands out there, especially for budding businesses. It leverages the indecisive behavior of consumers, and helps them know about the products that they need but do not already know about.

The principal concern here is that the personal data of such consumers has to be compromised so as to produce satisfying results for brands and marketers. Personal data and security is a huge concern for anyone today, and no one is ready to compromise it for even their own convenience.

Sneaky target advertising practices may have given some edge to brands and their marketing, as well as benefit consumers one way or another. However, data protection is a key factor in this technique, and sneaky target advertising compromises on that.

That factor alone makes these marketing techniques purely unethical. And while the law may be silent in most cases, the numerous cases of massive data breaches might soon force concerned authorities to legislate against these practices.

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