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We all know what it feels like to be stalked on Instagram by the same products, over and over again. Online advertising is projected to reach $129.34 billion in 2020, and it is targeted by using your personal data to show you ads based on your interests. What you have searched on google, who you are a fan of on Facebook and ads you've clicked before all serve to make a profile that is uniquely you. But at the same time, you have now installed ad-blockers, you filter your inbox and you can hide ads anywhere these days.
So what is an advertiser to do with all of this targeted data? Direct mail. Retailers are combining consumer data from the online and physical worlds, sending junk mail to your physical mailbox that is as expertly targeted as those Instagram ads.
The Washington Post’s Heather Kelly reports You’ve got snail mail: Targeted online ads are now literally following you home.
There's one problem with this. People get a little paranoid when companies seem to know too much about them. Concerns about privacy and data collection could make people view these smart DMs with the same bleary-eyed suspicion we view Instagram ads trying to sell us yet another box subscription. Soon a smart direct mail piece may trigger that familiar unsettling feeling that our smartphones are listening, due to the volume and detail of information amassed about people by companies such as Facebook, retailers, credit monitoring companies and data brokers.