55,235 Market Segments

According to ProPublica, Facebook now provides its clients (read: corporate marketers) with the capacity to target 55,235 different interest groups, on which FB also collects heaps of outside reconnaissance via so-called data brokers. Per ProPublica:

The categories from commercial data brokers were largely financial, such as “total liquid investible assets $1-$24,999,” “People in households that have an estimated household income of between $100K and $125K,” or even “Individuals that are frequent transactor at lower cost department or dollar stores.”

Big Brother was an amateur.

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The Future is Now

eyeball For decades, corporate marketers have been working toward real-time linking of purchase and media-use data in the planning of their behavior-engineering campaigns.

The future is now arriving, friends:

Twitter ad targeting just got more broad … and specific. Today the company announced that it’s giving advertisers the ability to take aim at more than 1,000 audiences defined by big data partners Acxiom and Datalogix.

Called “partner audiences,” the new ad feature means advertisers can now serve Promoted Tweets to Twitter users who have signaled purchase intent in specific categories off Twitter. Acxiom and Datalogix are dominant players in the big data industry, tracking and analyzing consumer behavior across brick and mortar and online businesses. [Source]

In honest usage, “signaled,” of course, means an intended communication. What it means in marketing-speak, however, has nothing to do with any respect for the intentions of the target populations, whose “signals” in this case are merely their ordinary procurements of life’s necessities, a.k.a. naive purchases of goods and services.

The fact that overclass agents arrogate unto their masters the right to treat such acts as “signals” from their victims speaks volumes about how illegitimate the planet-wrecking reign of corporate investors really is, even as it remains so deniable and seemingly benign.

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Brands as Stalkers

In an ecstatic essay at Advertising Age today, marketing creep Ben Elowitz can barely restrain his orgasm over how great the new powers of manipulation will be, once Facebook finishes releasing its latest spying tools to the owners of “the brands who spend $540 billion a year on advertising.”

As part of his report, Elowitz includes this rather remarkable little cartoon, which fairly speaks for itself:

brand-date

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Bigger (and Bigger) Brother

big_brother We TCTers are aware that, having long since replaced price competition as the main vehicle of business competition, the practice of behavioral engineering known as “marketing” grows larger, more sophisticated, and more expensive over time, with almost no pauses. In the TCT book, I called this process “the marketing race.” In this post, we review some of the latest evidence of its existence.

First, Ad Age reports the results of its survey of marketing practitioners regarding their firms’ usage of the newest marketing frontier, the internet. The results are as predictable as the rotation of Earth:

Last June, in the weeks following Facebook’s botched IPO, Ad Age and CITI surveyed marketers about their views on the social network. The big takeaway? While the majority (85%) felt they needed to be on Facebook, only about half felt they needed to be advertising there.

Fast-forward to January 2013: We asked a new crop of 701 marketers and media execs their views. You’d expect sentiment to have risen a little, and it has: More marketers on Facebook say they’re also advertising — 61%, compared with 55% seven months earlier. We also found a slightly higher percentage that said their Facebook ad budget would “modestly” or “significantly” increase, 58%, compared with 56% in our earlier survey.

As you might expect, Facebook’s mobile ads are on the minds of marketers: 69% now say mobile advertising on Facebook is “somewhat” or “very” important compared with 63% seven months ago.

79 percent of those marketers who’ve used them report being satisfied with their ROI from deployment of Facebook’s newest product, “Sponsored Stories.” To see how those work, take a gander at these eager beavers rhapsodizing them:

In a one-time concession for this maneuver, Facebook just settled a class-action lawsuit against it, btw. The financial cost? 0.4% of its 2012 revenue.

Finally, Google reads your Gmails in order to scrape marketing data, and there’s nothing you can do about it, other than dropping Gmail (on the very questionable assumption other “hosts” aren’t or won’t soon be doing exactly the same thing).

Market totalitarianism — it only grows…

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Prepare to Vomit

emp Are you an American woman? Yes? Then your main problem in life must be the comparative difficulty of being appointed CEO of a major corporation. So obvious.

And how do you solve this problem? Well, you work harder!

Such is the “feminist” pose about to be launched by the utterly vile creature known as Sheryl Sandberg, whom we TCTers have met before. She is the scionette of a Florida eye-surgery empire who converted her inherited advantages talent and labor into a career as a leading data-scraping executive within the corporate marketing juggernaut.

According to The New York Times, Sandberg is about to unleash her solipsistic “project,” which will apparently be called “Lean In.” The idea is that she will be coaching those who join on how to do what she did. That, of course, was to work hard! [Of course!] And now, all her greatness and effort is becoming a social movement!

“I always thought I would run a social movement,” Ms. Sandberg, 43, said in an interview.

Holy pancakes, Batman, these fuckers are way more gonzo than you can even imagine. Orwell is flat out of a job.

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Instagram and Exploitation

exploitation A small bit of good news: There has apparently been an “explosion of Instagram bashing” since Monday’s announcement by that Facebook subsidiary that it was changing its membership terms. The change, now retracted (no doubt temporarily), read as follows:

“You agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your user name, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata) and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

In Marxian (and also human) terms, this is quite interesting and important, as it would represent the expansion of exploitation — the seizure of the proceeds of unpaid labor-time — into the realm of social media usage. When and if Facebook accomplishes this trick — and history strongly suggests it will, eventually, if it hasn’t already, people who use its “services” will be doing unpaid work for it as users.

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