With today’s resources, it is much easier to microtarget a population for ads and news.  Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, YouTube, and hundreds of other sources mine data from their users to get a better idea of their interests, likes, dislikes, lifestyle choices, preferences, tastes, history, and a myriad of other defining characteristics.  While that can sound somewhat creepy on the surface, this information isn’t being gathered for sinister use, but instead, so that they and other services can better serve your needs.

Individual Targeting: The Future of PR

For example, if you Google “airlines” or “flights” multiple times over a few days, you will begin to notice that the ads popping up on your Google searches and YouTube videos tend to be about travel.  This is the way that these sites work with advertisers to try and find those people most likely to use their services.  If you are regularly traveling, an ad telling you about 10% off hotel rooms may be something you genuinely want or need.  It’s called “microtargeting,” and it has proven to be fairly effective.

The more information fed into the machine, the more effective it has become.  Facebook regularly throws ads at its users, with the option not just to remove the ad, but give feedback as to why you don’t like that advertisement.  If while on Facebook, an ad comes up for a political party (usually based on something typed or shared from your page), and it is contrary to your views, you can hide the ad and respond that it is “Against my views.”  This informs the algorithm that sends out ads to not give you those particular ones anymore.

As this technology gets better and more accurate, it will be a boon for the public relations world.  What better way to address the public on a PR issue than to individually target those you most want to reach?  The company you represent is getting bad press for an action they committed?  Send a specific apology or explanation directly to those who have shared an article about it or Googled the news story.  Want to tell everyone who uses Tide laundry detergent about a new scent?  You can market it directly to them differently than how you market it to the rest of the public.

The possibilities are nearly endless for creating new forms of public outreach.  No one understands this more than 5W Public Relations CEO Ronn Torossian, who has been a PR expert for over 15 years.  With these resources, it will not be long before the entire public relations paradigm shifts and the interconnected worlds of business, the web, and media outlets are able to fully work as one to provide everyone with exactly what they want.