Advertising – Difficult handling of Internet advertising – Economics

Pforzheim (dpa / lsw) – One of the first words that 20-month-old Elias said was: “BMW”. And the kid pointed to one. Marketing professor Jörg Tropp still doesn’t know why his son did it. The family drives a different brand.

“In any case, the fact is that the consumer world is cognitively connected to the human environment very early on,” says the communications scientist at the University of Pforzheim. For him, the experience with his son was one of the incentives to get to the bottom of modern advertising.

Noticeable amount of shoe ads after shoe shopping, annoying videos before clicking on the news or hotel deals in your favorite vacation spot – online advertising is everywhere. Mostly annoying, sometimes terrifyingly accurate. How do they know all this? “Everyone like Instagram, every comment on Twitter, every online purchase leaves a mark,” says the Tropp expert. And the user has a dull feeling of being at the mercy of unknown powers.

The right settings and tricks can help

“Algorithms gather and combine everything they can about us to gain insight into our likes, desires, needs and intentions,” he explains. In his book, Networked Seductions, he also shows that users don’t have to be vulnerable. With a few tricks and clicks, they could more resolutely resist the temptations of the consumer industry.

According to Tropp, a prerequisite is that consumers have the necessary knowledge to be able to distinguish information from commercial communications and that they consistently approach the information they disclose about themselves. Indicates that you can install an ad blocker, use search engines like Metager or Startpage instead of Google, and surf privacy browsers like Brave, Epic, and Tor. Even deleting cookies can have a big impact and prevent annoying liposuction ads. Tropp emphasizes: “We don’t have to allow every cookie for convenience.”

The main problem from his point of view: “We run the risk of becoming blind to advertising messages.” A Stanford study of nearly 8,000 young people in the US found that they could hardly tell the difference between messages and advertisements on the Internet. Similar conclusions were drawn in the investigation of the British media regulator Ofcom. In Germany, it does not look any better: according to a study by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, and several state media authorities, 56% of respondents over the age of 18 believed that the editorial design of the advert was information.

Thomas Rathgeb, head of the Media Competence Department at the State Communications Agency (LfK), explains it as follows: When young people receive messages from friends, favorite music, games, news, classic Internet advertising and advertising content from influencers through the same ” channel “, the distinction is difficult. “It’s not easy to review and recognize ads here, given the short, image-rich, and tightly formatted listings.” The media authorities offer various forms of assistance on the Internet. Rathgeb emphasizes that a basic understanding of how social media works is essential. There is still too little attention in media education schools.

Even the youngest have to be well prepared

The marketing expert Tropp also sees a lot of catching up for schools. Even the little ones should be better equipped to deal with Instagram, Facebook, Google, and Co. “We must safeguard the sovereignty of our consumers,” he warns.

The crux of the problem is old. As early as 1957, the American consumer critic Vance Packard warned of the pitfalls of advertisers in his classic “The Secret Seducers.” “Trying to exclude the will of consumers is nothing new in itself,” says Tropp. New, however, are the unimaginable opportunities for the advertising industry thanks to online networking.

The Pforzheim professor doesn’t want to demonize the ad. Rather, it advocates a new ‘seduction culture’. What is needed is an attitude on the part of companies that is characterized by empathy and sustainable development. “Central communication resources like transparency, trust and respect can no longer be used by advertising.” At the same time, consumers would have to get out of their comfortable nooks and crannies and implement their knowledge. Habit, laziness or lack of time: “We know a lot about advertising – and we still do it differently.” It has to stop, says Tropp.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220527-99-450024 / 2

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