Selfie Social – Advertisements done intelligently

Be it a party, get together or a small meetup, people like to treasure the moments and share it over social media. Got a new dress or a gadget, visiting places or done something unusual, people like to take snaps and share it with the world.



Technology has eased many things, taking snaps is just one click away and sharing it can be done within flash of seconds. With the rise of social networking, there are now many options available to connect with the people at distant location and share memories.

Looking at the pictures, most of the people have questions like where was the picture taken? what a person is wearing or where is it available? what is the price of the gadget or the jewelry being displayed in picture? People usually prefer to post their queries as comments or sometimes may contact a person in the picture, if possible. While all this may help to retrieve the information, it is not either available quickly or sometimes remain private. Additionally, the social networking sites have to broadcast advertisements heavily to ensure the inflow of money. Sometimes the ads are not targeted to appropriate user and more prominently it annoys the viewing experience. Most of the users also seems to be demanding that the content displayed to them should be ad-free. There is also a move to have OS level ad blocking programs which prevents Mobile Apps from displaying Ads.

While its not possible to completely thrash off advertising posts from a site or an app (as its main revenue source), a need to display ads should be handled intelligently. Can watching advertisements be a pleasant experience? Can advertisements be looked as source of information? Can curiosity lead to explicit need for watching ads? Can ads no longer feel as ads but a part of the content? I believe that most of the leading content publishers are looking to solve this riddle. As a user of this digital world, I also experience the same problem and feel that there could be few solutions to this problem. Lets evaluate various scenarios with some of the thoughts that I came with.

Many a times when someone shares a selfie, few questions pop up in the viewers’ mind. As explained earlier the questions related to things displayed in the picture, create curiosity and people like to know about the source from where it can be available. Consider an example of someone posing with nice dress and a watch on a wrist. While friends and families are expressing their opinions via likes and comments, there are few who would like to know from where the dress/watch was purchased? what is the price? is it available in nearby shop? what are the payment options and many more. Mostly people would directly comment on the picture or would prefer to contact the person in picture. While the approach may help to retrieve the desired information, it may not always work due to many reasons. A person to be contacted may not be a direct connection or it may look inappropriate to discuss these things or the person may not be reachable or there could be other reasons.

Above situation explains a prospective customer who is looking for information, may prefer to dismiss the buying decision as he/she is not getting appropriate information. This will result in direct loss for the shop which is not even aware of the opportunity. While the shops are heavily spending on digital media to market their brand and products, consumers’ attitude of neglecting ads, has resulted in over budgeting marketing efforts. The trend now shows that there is too much of bombarding of the ads (which may be required from psychological perspective), but not everyone seems to enjoy it.

Selfie with Information

Selfie with Information

To mitigate this problem, can the overall experience of presenting content, be enhanced to ensure it doesn’t impact user’s interest in the website or app but it also enables a mechanism to market brands and products. Considering the same example, can there be a change in the way the selfies or pictures are presented. Refer the side image which displays a lady wearing watch and a nice dress. User viewing this picture may like to find out additional details about the watch and dress. An instant link is available, titled as “Whats in picture?” to view information about the items displayed. A strong algorithm can be employed to scan picture and identify things displayed in it. The algorithm produces information by querying various data sources like nearby shops, e-commerce websites etc. This information is later displayed to user on demand and helps to locate appropriate shop, agency or e-retailer (does that sound like promoting brand or advertising something). The algorithm also provides input to display additional suggestions which may be of interest to user.

With rise in Smartphone usage and evolution of supporting technologies, it has given more power in consumer’s hand. The consumer is now more demanding and prefer ease of access to information. Virtual reality is one of the ecosystem which is catching up fast and will impact most of the segments with its popularity. The above discussed approach can also enable prospective buyer to try the same things virtually without ever having a need to order online or visit a store.

There can be more solutions thought of which can make watching advertisements a pleasant experience. Instead of applying traditional ways of filling up webpages or app with advertisement blocks, the advertisement must be converted into information. While this may not be 100% alternative to today’s digital advertisement, it can surely be one of the means to make people aware of the brand.

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