back to article Google-sponsored research helps ad-slingers find fanbois on social networks

Next time you post an image of your new El Reg prosthetic beak on the internet, be aware that marketers will soon have a tool to let them spot it, isolate it, and figure out what it's pictured alongside. In a paper to be delivered in Sydney today, academics from Carnegie Mellon University demonstrate a new approach to …


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  1. Sir Sham Cad

    Watch and bag

    So if an image of me is posted on t'internets and the software notices I'm wearing a watch and carrying a bag it'll offer me adverts for a) something I clearly own already and b) a luxury, high margin product version of the cheap watch and Primarni bag that reflects my actual spending power. "We noticed you drive a Fiat Punto, have you checked out our great deals on Ferrari 458?"

    Fantastic tech, don't get me wrong, but (I am not a marketing expert in any way so I likely am wrong) I don't see this having a major impact on how effectively I'm advertised at.

    1. ※

      Re: Watch and bag

      I read it as a.i. learning where and when to advertise, rather than specific individuals per se.

  2. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    Impulse buyers?

    Am I wrong in suspecting that the only people affected (sucked in) by online ads are impulse buyers? 'Cause I'm not one, and I ignore online ads.

    1. Havin_it

      Re: Impulse buyers?

      Well, that's a bit of a narrow assessment. There may be various reasons for responding positively to an advert:

      * It's for something you never knew even existed;

      * It's for something you never realised you needed/wanted until the advert convinced you as much;

      * It's for something that you instantly think looks desirable and will elevate your social status;

      * It presents a value-proposition such as an unprecedentedly-high discount on an item you wanted but previously considered too expensive.

      As for "ignoring" the adverts, may I submit that I bet you don't, not really or at least not all of them. Much as I dislike everything they stand for, every so often one does catch your attention, whether it then successfully converts that (through one of the above qualifications) into a desire to buy or not.

      All that said, I still believe the business of targeting adverts is pitifully primitive, and I can't see this latest wrinkle making much difference. I mean, if the wonks at Lacoste *need* the help of these clever algorithms to know that most of their apparel's most ardent fans are in the [image/context metadata] "PURE BANGIN MENTAL CASTLEMILK PO$$E FAK YUZE", then (a) they must be terribly sheltered and (b) what exactly are they going to do about it anyway?

      I see a lot of scope for positive feedback loops in this system too. How do they know it's not the latest viral of V-Hudge falling out of [or in] Nobu, or some teehee macro featuring Michelangelo's David doing the rounds, that they've just hoovered up 187,000 times because it featured a Prada bag? If one had a mind to, I suspect you could game it remorselessly.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    P.O.S. 51

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