You know how sometimes you’ll be looking at shoes or some kind of product online on your computer during the day. Then, later that night you’ll be on Facebook or some website and see a banner ad for the exact product you were looking at earlier, telling you, “You can save 10%, but don’t wait, order now!” But you don’t do it. Then the next day you look at the website again and that night the same banner ad pops up, telling you now you can save even more. That’s called “Targeting” and “Retargeting” in Advertising.
Studying and working in advertising, I learned a few things. The main thing I learned is companies are always watching. Especially today, with all of our “Social Media” they know exactly what we want, since they own all our info and data. I’m not talking about identity stealing info (even though they probably have that too). I’m talking about them knowing Our favorite products. What posts we comment on. Our favorite movies, books and tv shows. Who are friends are. Our birthday’s. And much more stuff about our everyday life. Companies know more about you than your best friend does, and that’s pretty creepy.
The other day, Amazon, which is one of my favorite companies, went beyond creepy. Just like most of you, I buy many things from Amazon. I like them because they do tend to leave me alone (although I’ve always imagined that they were secretly watching from the sideline, waiting to use all the data they’ve been collecting at some point).
As many of you Amazon shoppers do, I tend to leave my SHOPPING CART empty, but my SAVE FOR LATER completely full at all times (waiting for any time that I have some extra money to blow on stuff I really don’t need). I also use my SAVE FOR LATER to add-on an item or two whenever I have to buy something from Amazon. I know I get FREE SHIPPING with Prime, but it feels wrong ordering just one item. SAVE FOR LATER is also great, because you can check your cart ten times in one day and you’ll get price change notifications on items in your SHOPPING CART and SAVE FOR LATER, each time.
So, what did Amazon do that was so creepy? Last week, I woke up one day and started exploring on Instagram. After the first few posts I got a “Sponsored post” from Amazon. Amazon basically showed me a scrolling wheel of images featuring all of the strange items in my SAVE FOR LATER. I scrolled through the Amazon Ad collage and saw: BB-8 droid with Force Band (which has been in my cart for months), Resident Evil 7 (which I’m waiting for a significant price drop on), PStv, Star Wars Art Book and Westworld (the original movie). All items that have been in my SAVE FOR LATER for months, and are still there today.
Does Amazon think that I’m made of money? If I was, then these items wouldn’t be in SAVE FOR LATER, they would be in my SHOPPING CART, ready to be bought and shipped. SAVE FOR LATER is for wishers, the SHOPPING CART is for closers. I’m a wisher. It’s fine to put one of those items I’m wishing for in my ads, Amazon. But to make an ad with all my items is just creepy, and also it must be expensive for you.
Maybe it was the timing, I had just woken up and started my in-bed Instagram stroll to see what’s going on with my friends. Then Amazon pulls this move on me? Now I’m thinking wait, is this real or am I still dreaming? Is this some kind of nightmare?
Oh well, at least now I don’t have to feel bad for all the times I was able to get free stuff from Amazon’s mistakes (my Wii U, No Man’s Sky…). Thank you for everything Amazon, but please go back to the way you were and stop creeping. I’ll buy those items when I’m good and ready. I don’t even know if I want all of them. Some are just there so I don’t forget they exist.