Kane Cochran takes long tug off Kool-Aid jug*
In today's imaginings over at the NAA blog, Kane Cochran gives us a giddy rundown of his newspaper of the future, chockablock full of modules and platforms and filtering devices designed to track your every mouse click and tailor, then re-tailor, then tailor again, the Web page in response to your movements.
At the heart of his Utopian enterprise are twin concepts called behavioral targeting and personalization. Their aim is to construct an online persona of you - an avatar if you will - whose habits can be translated into a virtual spider's web of pictures, stories, links and "smart ads" targeted directly at you.
Cochran, whose job title sounds like the silver jumpsuits of the future look, is made ecstatic by all of this:
"Behavioral targeting has evolved since 2007, and now is powered by a combination of the user’s profile information, behavior and previous ad interaction. Ad sizes are smaller, but better integrated into the content on the page. Rich media advertising contains advanced algorithms and connects to databases with vast creative resources. Advertising campaigns automatically analyze performance and weed out poorly performing creative, replacing it on the fly with new creative. Ad-serving networks are fueling the growth and breadth of advertising options on newspaper Web sites, allowing site visitors the power to dictate what advertising they see on the site. In an effort to create an engaging experience, site visitors now have the option to select specific advertising companies or advertising categories."
Whoa, Cochran, you've said a mouth full! It's as though you just learned a foreign language and can't help but take pleasure in speaking it. Can you make that a little clearer to me?
"Each movement a visitor makes is calculated, analyzed, scored and stored in a database."
Ah! I guess that's only troubling when the NSA does it.
So how does being tracked benefit me?
Apparently it has only some to do with news and a lot to do with buying stuff. To wit:
"At 8 a.m., the ad creative displays a coffee, a doughnut and a coupon. The coupon of course, can be 'flipped' over to your mobile phone and taken with you. Around noon, the ad creative changes to display a sandwich and large drink. Around 3 p.m., the ad changes again, this time promoting an iced coffee. The ads even allow you to pre-order, pay for your drink and set a time for pickup. In short, each advertisement is a mini-application. Since you have interacted with the ad in the past, it even remembers you enjoy an Iced Mocha and suggests a new drink, an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte. This deeply personalized experience offers a compelling opportunity for local businesses, bringing back the 'local corner store' mentality and allowing advertisers to attract the exact consumer they are looking for."
I don't remember the local store following me around like that, but I get the picture: My local newspaper will have become so hyperlocal that it will include updates of my hunger pangs.
* I forgot the best part. All of this behavioral tracking and targeted advertising is about one thing - no, not making money you cynic. It's about "giving control of our Web site to you."