Home > Uncategorized > Why Am I Scared of Online Advertisements?

Why Am I Scared of Online Advertisements?

This past week’s lecture about search engine optimization, and more specifically Google Ads, got me thinking about my own behavior as a consumer when it comes to online advertisements. As I was sitting in class, hearing the benefits of using Google Ads, I could not help but think of my own usage of Google search results and advertisements.  I am, for the most part, one to completely ignore or disregard online ads, to the point where I do not even notice them anymore. Most notably, I have become immune to Google’s sponsored advertisements. No matter what I am looking for on Google, I never, I mean absolutely never, give the sponsored advertisements any of my attention. I do not think I have ever even clicked on a sponsored ad. As a consumer, I do not see my Google use as a “consumer seeking a product,” but rather as an individual seeking information. Thus, even if I am Googling “purchasing boots online,” which inevitably is going to take me to some online store or product, I would still never click on the sponsored advertisement. I would most likely go to the organic searches and sift through the first couple of search results there. Am I the only one who is ignoring the sponsored ads? Have a developed an unnatural fear towards sponsored advertisements? Or, is it a waste for companies to market to me through the sponsored ads? Should they be solely trying to get to the top of my organic search results? I am sure that I am not alone in this distaste and complete disregard for paid advertisements, and therefore wonder if it is more valuable for a company to get their website to the top of my search results rather than in the prime spot for sponsored advertisements.

My unwillingness to click on paid advertisement does not only cover Google ads, but extends beyond to all online advertisements. I have developed a fear of clicking on advertisements, worrying that if I do so, I will later be bogged down with spam or tormented by their ads on every website I visit. This, I realize, is an irrational fear, and one that is dissipating while taking this class. But still, ads on my Facebook page remain a primary “no click” zone, where I feel something “bad” may happen to my computer, internet use, or Facebook page if I dare click.

However, I have discovered recently that there is some discretion in this area. The other day I saw an advertisement for the Museum of Fine Arts’ new contemporary art wing. Having had my interest peaked after seeing advertisements on the MBTA, I clicked on the MFA Facebook ad, trying to find out more information about the new wing’s content. Looking back on it, I wonder what made me trust the MFA’s advertisements over the dozens of other repetitive ads on my Facebook page. I think it is because I view the MFA as a legitimate and trustworthy source, unlike the other products and companies that I am unfamiliar with on my Facebook page. To me, the MFA as a respectable institution that I trust, know, and like. This indeed makes all the difference.

For instance, if I saw an online advertisement from Target, one of my favorite stores, that promised a $5 off coupon if I clicked on it, I would definitely follow the ad. I not only love Target (and could greatly use $5 off there), but I have been going to that store for most of my life and trust their customer service. They have never done me wrong. However, if Filene’s Basement, a place I have never shopped before, had the same type of advertisement, I would be reluctant to click on it. Therefore, I surmise that the familiarity, trust, and relationship a consumer has with a product or company can make a difference in receptivity to advertising.

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