Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Internet's Hidden Agenda: Subliminal Advertisements?

It's unfortunate, but there are people in all of our lives with hidden agendas.

Whether they're the friend who talks behind your back, the coworker that acts like a pal when all they want is a promotion, or a family member who takes advantage of your generosity, it's just something you deal with and move on.

But do you ever wonder about what or who else might have a hidden agenda?

Before I started blogging and laid claim to this tiny corner of the internet, I visited websites and browsed and shopped and searched and was completely content with it.

But now that I'm here and I know the work that goes on behind the scenes, things don't look quite as much the same.

When I get to an online store, I now wonder about how much thought went into their landing page design and how the perfect placement of each ad or carefully worded sentence is there to encourage me to buy, buy, buy.

Is it all that much different than when I walk into the actual store and the items are laid out specifically to increase the chance of me strolling by and feeling the need to add them to my cart? No. But it just seems... like more of a sneaky hidden agenda somehow.

The store keeps track of how much you purchase and moves the t-shirts or the birthday cards or the shampoo accordingly, but websites are able to use actual tactics to improve their conversion rates and decrease their "shopping cart abandonment rate" and all sorts of other things.

In the end I guess the question is: Is that a bad thing? I suppose website analytics doesn't seem quite as harmful as the friend that butters you up simply because they want to make a third friend feel left out.

I would hope that I wouldn't make too many unnecessary purchases based on how and where they are placed, but clearly the strategies must work. I suppose I have a hard time passing up a sale sign either way...

Do you think about what goes into advertising online or in stores? Does any of it matter?


Jenny said...

I've always thought marketing was pretty interesting. It's amazing what goes on behind the scenes both in store and online.