Either way, people as always, fear some conspiracy of an invasion of privacy for less than good intentions.
First off, if you haven't heard of either, demographic and geographic targeting are methods that internet marketers and market researchers use to ensure that their ad or research dollars are well spent, and reaching their target audience. Based on the information that users of different sites willingly provide about themselves, market researchers can ensure that they're collecting useful information about the proper demographic, and marketers can ensure that the intended people are being exposed to their marketing communications.
|Oh no, they can find me!|
Wait, they always could.
If you want to see it firsthand for yourselves, go to Facebook and click the "Create an Ad" link above the ads on the right side of your news feed. You can follow the step by step instructions right up to the payment step and see what kind of reach your ad would receive, based on the criteria you've entered, without any commitment or, obviously payment, so give it a try. You can make sure that you're only paying for gay men in a relationship between the ages of 18-25 in Montreal, Canada that have a college degree, like Metallica, hockey and cooking are seeing your ads.
For the record, that's 60 people. And probably the only 60 men I'd leave my girlfriend for.
You can obviously see the importance and emergence of geo/demo targeting from the marketer's (or market researcher's) perspective, but is there a benefit to the user, to the consumer, to you?
The answer is yes, and here's why.
|They go hand in hand.|
THAT's why geo/demo targeting is a good idea, and should not be feared.
Marketers are more effective when they can expose you to marketing communications that you are interested in and you are less likely to be annoyed by irrelevant advertising as well. That is why they want your information, not because they intend to sell it in a back alley to someone that wants to steal your identity and do ungodly things in your name.
I have a feeling that this sentiment will fade, much like the initial fear of having satellites in the sky, or GPS in our phones, or Google Maps able to see the entire world. I remember all 3 of them being met with the same skepticism and conspiracy theoretical fear.
I'd be willing to bet that all 3 are a fundamental part of your life today. Remember that the next time that you are crying out about a breach in privacy because of these targeting techniques.