Saint Peacock posted last week about the enigma that is Facebook’s famed advertising algorithm, specifically the unappetising conveyor belt of dreck that it cheerfully serves up in the apparent belief that this is just what I’m looking for.
Behind this masterpiece of salesmanship, we are told, lies an ingenious algorithm, mining one’s personal data and carefully feeling the quality of every last fragment of it in order to anticipate the next purchase before you even know you want it.
Except the recommended products miss by a mile.
This week’s hit and hope offerings included a “Karl Lagerfeld x Vilebrequin” limited edition of something with “Karl’s signature touch”.
Presumably it knew I’d looked for Vilebrequin, but that was only to check the spelling of the fiendish French swimwear operation.
It hadn’t twigged that there was, say, no indication of future travel to anywhere warm enough to require such a garment.
Or previous interest in the product.
Or search for high end swimwear.
Or curiosity about anything with Karl’s signature touch.
There was also a Betvictor offering which, dear algorithm, if you’re listening, will never be taken advantage of.
In the world of the fancy advertising algorithm, though, YouTube, owned by Facebook’s great data rival, Google, provides an even worse service, if worse than zero is possible.
Making optimistic stabs at my spending habits this week, they’ve gone with the following
Pedigree Dentastix Oral Care for dogs (I don’t have a dog).
The Inglorious tour (have never heard of them, and never search for or listen to this genre of music).
Google Chromebook (I have only used Apple computing products since 2006).
XM Online trading (I have never traded online or searched for information on how to do it).
Square.com (“Square works for every business” apparently. Not for this one, it doesn’t – I don’t take card payments.)
Emirates Airlines (The sale of tickets to Dubai is “now on”, yet nowhere in my “data” will you find an appetite for travel to Dubai.)
Are advertisers really happy with this service?