Me . . . According to Google

Carnegie Higher Ed Sep 09, 2015 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Do very specific ads on your mobile device and computer make you feel like they are reading your mind? Do you get scared that they might know too much? Do you feel like it may start telling you what to do soon?!?

Well, the reality is your phone and computer don’t actually know much about you at all—but Google does! And they are serving you ads they think you want to see. It’s actually pretty awesome, if you ask me. Think about it: why would you want it any other way? Why see ads for anything but what pertains to your life? This is really no different than using your loyalty card at the grocery store or CVS. They target you with offers and coupons, just like these online ads and promos do!

I recently went to check out what Google thinks about me, Jenny Lukiewski. Here’s what I found:

First, they had me pegged as female, between the ages of 35–44. Both accurate, but I shared these two pieces of info on my Google Personal Profile, so that was not surprising at all. But then I saw 66 “interests” I never told them about listed that were almost dead-on:

  • Hip/Hop & Rap
  • Cooking
  • Travel
  • Soccer
  • Parenting
  • American Football
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Breakfast Food (huh?!)
  • Apparel

And that’s just to name a few.

Now, for the almost part: I am still trying to figure out why Google thinks I like “Arab & Middle Eastern Music.” I’m sure it’s cool, but I can’t remember ever searching for it. Oh, and “Cats” came up too—ha! I am actually not a cat person at all (they give me a stuffy nose), but my toddler daughter is really into watching videos of them on my phone. Until she gets her own Google account and/or phone, I guess I’ll be labeled a cat person.

Google is showing me ads for brands like Stuart Weitzman, Fan Duel, and Blue Apron, based on the fact that I have revealed those interests by my online searching behavior and sites I visit. To Google—and to those brands—I fit the profile of a prospective buyer, and they want me to know about them.

Now, imagine doing this for your prospective student audience. All of a sudden, it starts to click, right? Ads so targeted to their interests, they can’t help but want to engage. If this sounds like your type of marketing, get in touch. I have a feeling I’ll be talking to you soon!

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