The first thing you should do for this assignment is make sure you have done all of the reading assigned up to this point and have a clear understanding of major concepts found in these chapters, like convergence, audience and channel fragmentation, audience segmentation, market segmentation, targeting, demographics, psychographics, and how the advertising industry functions.

Then, please complete at least two of the following activities in order to write your paper.

∙         Find and read the media kit of a magazine you subscribe to or read regularly. A media kit is the information that magazines provide to prospective advertisers to try and convince them to place ads in their publication. You can usually find a publication’s media kit by going to an internet search engine and typing in the name of the magazine (put quotation marks around it) and “media kit” (also in quotation marks). The kits typically include the number and demographic characteristics of their readers, as well as any other relevant characteristics that they think are important to advertisers. 

∙         See how a market research company characterizes your psychographics. There are many market research companies that provide “categories” of consumers to help companies identify or define a target audience so that they can do a better job designing messages or products that will appeal to them. One of these is Strategic Business Insights (SBI). They have developed a category system that sorts people into segments defined by their buying motivations and available resources. Go to their website, http://www.strategicbusinessinsights.com/vals/, read their explanation of the system, and take the survey to see which category you fall into.

∙         See how a market research company characterizes the people in your neighborhood. Another market research company that provides companies with categories of consumers is Nielsen (yes, the same people who do the TV ratings), which has a system that sorts people into different segments with spiffy names (such as “up-and-comers” or “new empty nesters”). They analyze how common each segment is within specific geographic areas. Go to their website, http://www.claritas.com/MyBestSegments/Default.jsp?ID=0&menuOption=home&pageName=Home&filterstate=&sortby=segment_code&prevSegID=1027#, and read their explanation of their system. Then click on the link at the top called “ZIP code look-up” and enter your zip code. Find out which segments are most common within that area and investigate how they are described. 

∙         Find out how online ad networks see you. Online advertising companies often track users’ behavior online in order to identify their interests and serve them targeted advertisements. In some cases, you can find out what these companies have inferred about you based on your online behavior. Using the computer that you use to go online most often, go to Google’s “Ad Preferences Manager,”https://www.google.com/settings/ads. Unless you have previously set up your browser to delete or refuse cookies or have submitted a “do not track” request, this page should list what they have inferred about you based on where the browser has been. (If you have refused cookies and there is no information here, then don’t choose this option!) Read thorough the conclusions they’ve come to. Also read through the information Google presents about how they gather this information and what they do with it.

∙         Learn about how targeted advertising works and where they’re gathering information about you.  Visit the AdChoices website, http://www.youradchoices.com/ and browse the various tabs (Learn, Control, Participants, etc.) and watch the three videos to learn about AdChoices. Consider whether you agree with the benefits of personalized advertising, and if any concerns about privacy you have are eased by the control this system offers. Think about how often and where have you noticed this icon in the past. Surf the web as you normally would for a while and see how long it takes you and where you find the icon. When you do see it, think about what other websites you’ve visited that might have led them to place this ad on your browsers. Click on the icon and see who placed it and what their reasons are.

Concepts of convergence, audience and channel fragmentation, audience segmentation, market segmentation, targeting
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