What has the diminutive Aussie pop star got to do with a garden outbuilding? The answer to that question is most probably nothing. So why is this blog post titled Kylie Minogue and the Shed? The answer to this second question is that in the ‘land of Internet’ they can easily become bedfellows.
When you search for content on the Internet the first thing that normally happens is that your search results are ranked with advertising and sponsored content related to your keywords at the top (annoying, but the advertisers are the paying customers, so their content comes first). So, if you search for Kylie Minogue you will most probably be presented with an advert for Kylie concert tickets as the top result (go on try it!).
Anyway, you scroll down until you find a link to potentially interesting content and you follow this. You are now away from the search engine, the ranked results and sponsored links, the adverts start to look different. They usually do not relate to the content on the page, they relate to what the advertising platform knows about you (or thinks they know about you) and in many cases bears absolutely no relation to the content of interest. So, having found an article about Kylie I find that half of the screen is taken up with adverts for, well, sheds for example.
This is a true shed related experience that I had recently. I was doing a bit of research for a new shed for my mother’s garden. In particular, I wanted to find the best way to build a base for the shed, and was also trying to find the best type of shed. My research was probably spread over about a week and then I bought the shed for my mum’s garden and put sheds out of my mind.
Then days later while browsing on the internet (I am simply using the example of Kylie). Every time I find online content of interest (e.g. Kylie Minogue) about 50% of the page is taken up with sponsored content related somehow to sheds. The intelligent algorithms, and all the clever Artificial Intelligence we are told is targeting ads with pinpoint accuracy, and it obviously has me classified as a ‘shed geek’. These advertising systems are so smart that they just know I simply cannot resist a shed, and will be distracted away from Kylie in order to buy another 10. I am after all the ‘shed geek’!
Admittedly, after 3 months or so, the latest online machine learning technology has caught up with me and figured – ‘Okay this guy must have kicked his shed habit, and was looking at blockchain technology so he will absolutely love a Bitcoin scam or two – so hit him with it!”.
Is it just me that thinks online advertising is basically a digital version of roadside billboards – sitting there in the hope that one in a thousand or so might be vaguely interested? It is still just an eyes and numbers game. I think personalisation and customisation could do so much for us. We just need to stop doing it the old stupid and inefficient way. More on this later!