Ad Web Audience Targeting

Defining and targeting an audience are vital steps in great communication.  In publications, the ads are an excellent representation of who the targeted audience is.  Websites of these publications also target an audience but with an added dimension, the ability to individually target the viewer (audience.)  The ads vary by the choices selected within the publication website thus, redefining the audience.

Forbes website was the chosen publication to illustrate this changing targeted audience.  On the homepage of Forbes, the ads are geared toward a well-defined target group.  The initial ads were for Wall Street Journal; government tax programs; CD bank rates; oil dividends; filmmaking courses; and senior cell phone plans.  Together, these ads are for older wealthy businessmen. These are representative of the homepage initial ads.  The target audience is towards one who is interested in financial issues of taxes, CD notes, dividends, and business news from the WSJ…a businessman of diverse monetary concerns.  Definitely, the “senior plan” refers to an older generation.  The filmmaking courses also reinforce the older target group with an advertisement for a new hobby or starting a new business.  This is an extremely focused target audience.

Having the advantage of real-time viewing, websites can narrow the target audience.  When a viewer chooses a selection, a story or an article, the site chooses ads focusing on the audience’s interests.  If the chosen article deals with businesses with negative issues then the ads may change to customer service aids for businesses, insurance ads, or company improvement ads.  Relating the ads to the different types of articles narrows the targeted audience.

Another audience-targeting dimension of websites is third party advertising, directly targeting the individual viewer.  Third party advertising is advertisers which monitor viewers’ web surfing on their computers.  Directing ads of the real-time viewer’s interests allows the publication to broaden its audience.  These viewer-interest ads frame the articles with familiar and personal target ads.  Even though these ads may not have any connection with the article or the publication, the audience is familiar with these ads.  This frame may keep them reading the articles.  This allows for various changes so the targeted audience is the viewer even if the viewers do not fit the original targeted audience.  A young want-to-be businesswoman planning to start her own business would now be a targeted audience.  This real-time changing redefines the target audience as the current viewer to keep them interested in the publication even if they may not initially seem to be the audience targeted.

Concluding, this publication’s ads were aimed at a senior population of wealthy businessmen.  In general, this is the overall targeted audience but with websites drawing in different audiences with a specific article, the website uses ads to include the new audience in real-time viewing.  This advantage allows websites to reframe the site to include the viewer.  This is the magic of website ads – framing articles with advertising content this viewer is interested in seeing.

By Kentrina Freeman, Liberal Arts Major – IUPUC

Bias on the news and the Internet – what is the impact on society?

There is a funny phrase that has become fairly common in American society that states, “They can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true. Who told me? The Internet.”

Since the year 2000, there was a 566.4% increase in Internet usage. That equates into roughly 2.4 billion users from all over the world, with eight new users every second. Next to that, there are roughly 1.4 billion users on Facebook worldwide and not all are individuals. Some are large corporations, news outlets, religious organizations, and so on and so forth. That is 11% of the world’s population and that is just Facebook alone.

The amount of information we receive daily from our Facebook feeds, Twitter tweets, and Pintrest pins is truly amazing. With access to the Internet anyone can broadcast their views and beliefs and anyone can project their version of a national news story. So how do we see through all that distraction? With so many competing views, the central message becomes convoluted. For example, Fox News and CNN compete daily to provide their own, ‘fair and balanced news’ to the hungry masses. It is no longer as easy as reading the Wall Street Journal or watching your local news channel after dinner.

For the common reader the question becomes, “how do we know which news source to believe?” Everyone wants to get his or her own message across, and what this becomes, is not an easy question to answer. This is because what Fox news reporters might say may differ heavily (and it usually does) from the content-based website of Reddit. Our favorite source-gathering site Wikipedia, on the other hand, hosts over 17 million different articles, which are modified by users to anyone curious enough to dive in. Even our favorite search engine Google offers daily news, albeit gathered from multiple news sources.

Biased opinions on the news and Internet do an excellent job of creating argumentative ‘sides’.  Everyone has a right of speech here in America and everyone has the right to broadcast his or her views. Anybody can log onto CNN and strictly follow the flow of news that is being ejected at an alarming rate. Your choice of what you view and post on the Internet is strictly yours.

Let’s look at the most recent and controversial government shutdown as a textbook example. A highly conservative based news outlet such as Fox News will explain that this stalemate lies with Obama and his liberal agenda. Fox would exemplify Republicans as the ‘white knights’ of congress fighting to uphold democracy. While Reddit, a mostly liberal user-posted-content website, takes a different stance. Broadcasting the opposite, claiming that the actions of the Republicans are destroying what America was founded on. Of course it is all much more complicated that that, but the differences are there. We take this information from all sources and post them publically to our friends, family, and coworkers. The results we find are typically Internet arguments, which in turn become pointless shouting matches over why/why not Obama should be impeached.

It still goes deeper than that. Americans have a pretty good understanding that a lot of the news we ingest is biased in some way, shape, or form. As stated in an article from the University of Michigan’s The Medium, “On the Internet, there is little control over what gets published” (umich.edu). On the Internet there is no limitations to time or space so, we can find well-written and polished articles there. These provide so much more information than a 30-minute wrap-up with a few sound bytes. On the Internet we get the ‘full story’ or so we are led to believe. Hidden in the text, between the lines, we can find agendas and propaganda; and I don’t say that in a bad way. It is a brilliant tactic that the Internet provides for reporters who can write a clean and refined story and still ambiguously pepper it with anti-liberal ideals. As viewers it is important for us to understand the news we are reading, where it is coming from, and the purpose it is trying to achieve.

So how do we detect this bias? Well simply put, the same way we would check the bias of any other news source. We analyze the sources of the article. We should check if the sources are two competing views or if they are strong-sided. Diversity is key in an unbiased article. The article must exhibit both sides of an argument. Watch out for double standards by researching opposing views or different examples of a situation. Loaded language is huge in reporting; the difference between the words devastated and damaged can carry a different weight. Biased articles are easy to spot once you know where and how to look into them.

News on the Internet has a huge societal impact on us. People who share our views and beliefs no longer surround us; in its place, we can now make two clicks and find an atheist’s argument for morality or a conservative case against abortion, and the world becomes ever more interconnected. The question for the individual experiencing this plethora of information is not, “How do I avoid all this information?” but instead, “How do I construct a viable view from all that is offered to me?” The information is ours for the taking, but we must decide on how to utilize it.

The Internet is possibly the greatest resource we have. Two clicks with the mouse, a keystroke, and we can find almost anything we can imagine. The Internet has a dizzying amount of content and has enhanced the way we digest news. We can find a story that provides good insight into LGBT rights, then turn around with a Google search and find its counterargument. Even still it does not stop there, we can then log onto one of the hundreds of social media networks and find our friends, family, and coworkers and view their opinions and their friend’s counter-opinions and so on and so forth into the opaque vastness of the World Wide Web. The possibilities are endless.

Works Cited:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/

http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm

http://www.umich.edu/~newsbias/medium.html

http://fair.org/take-action-now/media-activism-kit/how-to-detect-bias-in-news-media/

As Grammar Goes, Verbs are the Spice of Life

Inexperienced writers often suck the very life out of their prose by taking energetic verbs and turning them into dull, lifeless nouns.  Consider the following:

Example:    Today’s stock price elicited a disappointed reaction among the shareholders.

Revision:    Today’s stock price disappointed the shareholders.

 Example:    It is our expectation that we will see productivity improvement when the new computer system comes online.

Revision:     We expect more productivity when the new computer system comes on line.

 When revising a business report, press release, employee newsletter or company-wide email, be sure to look specifically for those weak noun structures and replace them with vigorous, active verbs.  Not only will you gain clarity in the process, but your writing will be leaner too.

– Robin Fritz,  Adjunct Lecturer, Indiana University-Columbus