Ever wonder how ads pop up on a website for that set of really nice windshield wipers you were just looking at the night before? Okay, maybe the wipers are just for us. For you, maybe the ads show you a nice purse, or a new lawnmower. But regardless of the product, it’s surprising the first time it happens to you.
AdChoices is the program that monitors your search habits and crafts ads based on what it finds. This is the new age of marketing. But what does this have to do with your windshield?
The Future of the Windshield
CES, or Consumer Electronics Show, took place earlier this year. They showed off an interesting bit of technology: windshields made of a material similar to our smartphone (though hopefully more durable!) that act as screens.
If you want to see an early version of this technology check out the ‘Head-Up Display’ that BMW has as an option on some of their vehicles.
Your first thought might be, “that seems dangerous!” But early research indicates it’s actually less dangerous than the standard console displays that have become popular recently, since you aren’t looking down and away from the road.
Whether or not they’re safe, these screens will do more than make your information more easily accessible. They’ll also start a new wave of advertising.
Advertising Tailored to You
Imagine you need new windshield wipers, so you plug a search into your fancy smartphone-esque navigation system. Your windshield presents a dozen options within a few miles. Just like a Google ranking, some shops will show up higher on the list based on different factors like reviews, distance, and possibly even preference based on locations you’ve visited.
Just like AdChoices, companies are looking to capitalize on your specific shopping patterns and tailor messages directly to you. We may be years away from this type of advertising, but the implications are significant.
Small mom and pop shops can pay to have their locations prominently displayed in a hundred mile radius for specific search keywords, drawing in shoppers that wouldn’t have normally considered them.
The opposite is also a possibility, with advertisements dominated by large companies with the funds to pay and cover all of their bases.
And that’s not even considering the obvious question of consumer privacy. Do we want advertisements tailored to everything we search? Do we want our search patterns available to every company? Are the benefits to us as consumers worth the drawbacks?