That purse speaks to you. Those shoes are calling your name! How does Instagram know the EXACT way to your wallet??

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Marketing departments throw ads at us with pinpoint accuracy. But can we sniff out WHICH ads are targeted directly at us?

Enter Philipp Lorenz-Spreen and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. 

Out of three hundred female volunteers, half were given a short questionnaire. This told them whether they were more of an introvert or an extrovert. 

All were then shown ads for beauty products. Some were tailored to extroverts — “love the spotlight!” Others gently guided introverts – “beauty doesn’t have to shout.” Participants were asked which ads they thought were targeted at them.

Those who had done the personality test detected ninety percent of targeted ads. The others? Only about sixty percent. The researchers think this shows that encouraging self-awareness helps us notice the ads being thrown our way!

I guess they’ve got MY number… but just look at those darling fleece-lined mini-boots!

Reference: Lorenz-Spreen, P., Geers, M., Pachur, T. et al. Boosting people’s ability to detect microtargeted advertising. Sci Rep 11, 15541 (2021).