Big Data Should Be Used To Make Ads More Relevant

"Advertising" -- Photo Credit Mathias Klang
Photo Credit Mathias Klang

It is 2015 and by now advertising agencies could have figured out the best way to deliver relevant ads to viewers. They have not. Hulu is the prime illustration of this phenomenon.

We canceled our DirecTV subscription and declined to use Comcast for anything more than Internet access for over three years now. When I watch shows on Hulu I get ads that I never act on because they are so irrelevant.

The most irrelevant ad on Hulu is the one advertising Hulu Plus itself. I am already a subscriber and they should be able to tell. The second most irrelevant ad is the one telling me, repeatedly, that they got their hands on the full collection of “Seinfeld” episodes – which I am already four seasons into!

While watching Hulu it is also not uncommon for me to get advertisements for shows that are only available to cable subscribers. But I am not, and I made it clear that there is no circumstance under which we will subscribe to cable television. Shows not available on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime might as well not exist. There is not going to be a conversion in response to Xfinity TV ads on Hulu from yours truly.

Hulu product advertisements leave much to be desired as well. Why advertise Microsoft products to someone who uses Apple products and Linux ?

There is so much Hulu could do to create more relevant ads for me. Hulu knows well enough who I am and what my interests are. They know my IP, they can search the Internet for my name. They can give me a way to disable irrelevant or annoying commercials.

The age of Big Data and voluntary surrender of privacy should have brought more meaningful and more relevant advertising. The knowledge the advertisers have about consumers is unprecedented. They should use it.