Week 6 – Promoting Products and Privacy Issues

12 03 2011

Promoting products online can sometimes prove challenging for business for various reason. Knowing where best to promote products is a common problem faced by organisations. Should businesses promote their products online using their own website, other websites or a combination of both?

Making the choice of promoting primarily through their own website can sometimes prove more cost efficient as advertising space costs are avoided, however promoting in such way can prove tricky. A business could set up a really interesting and attractive website with highly enticing incentives to purchase products and yet sales from the website will be low. You are now probably thinking to yourself, ‘but why is this?’

Creating a website is one thing, but getting people to visit your website is another. In the digital era we live in, gaining traffic to a website is becoming increasingly difficult due to the vast number of other website owners trying to do exactly the same thing. Unless a business advertises their website on other websites or/and materially, then the business depends primarily on search engines for traffic. Doing this can be prove difficult to do well, as i mentioned in last week’s blog.

Although receiving traffic to the website is crucial to promoting products, receiving rewarding traffic is even more important. It’s no good having a website which is flooded with traffic, which generally have no interest in the products being promoted.

Companies which are successful in receiving lucrative traffic to their website generally promote their products using other websites which are reputable and receive a wide audience.

A prime example is Facebook, which receives 500 million active users (http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics)

Promotion through Facebook

Facebook is a very lucrative advertising medium for several businesses globally not so much because of the wide audience it receives, but because it tailors its advertisements to each user. For example, shown below are the advertisements which appeared when I logged into my Facebook this morning.

These adverts were presented on my profile page because I meet the criteria of the intended audience of the ads. Using the information that Facebook hold about each individual, the distribution of adverts is based on whether or not users meet the criteria of the intended audience.

For example the Adidas, “You call the shots” ad is shown on my Facebook as I am considered to meet the intended audience criteria. The likely reason for this is that Facebook acknowledged that I have an interest in football as I have stated it as one of my interests on my profile.

Ebay and its product promotion strengths

When promoting products, some business and individuals choose to use reputable websites only such as Ebay. Ebay is a highly popular website where products from cheap phone covers to luxury super cars are sold every second, day-in day-out.

Denegri-Knott (2010) in her journal, “Have it now!”: eBay and the acceleration of consumer desire, explains how Ebay is so successful in promoting products. Alongside its outstanding reputation as a brand and the fact that it features pretty much any product a consumer could want, Ebay’s technology combined with desiring consumers is what has allowed the site to be so successful in promoting products.

Denegri-knott (2010 pp22) states,

“a desiring consumer and eBay technology sustain each other, by transforming the contours of what is desired, and generating possible “new bridges” or by co-producing a chain of concatenated objects of desire to help achieve an idealised state of being or a perfect collection.”

Ebay forms these so called ‘new bridges’ and ‘co-produced chains of concentrated objects of desire’, using various marketing techniques.

When searching for a product using the eBay search bar, depending on the keywords that are entered, eBay suggestions are prompted to the consumer. For example, if a batman enthusiast is looking for a batman figurine and types in the keyword “batman”, a range of batman related products are prompted such as” lego batman” and “batman costumes” which may also be of interest to the consumer.



As well as this technique, Ebay is also strategic in prompting products once users have searched for products. An example of this is when I was using Ebay myself a couple of days ago to search for various branded t-shits. Once you have began searching for products, eBay prompts products to you by displaying related products to your searches under the heading ‘Suggestions for you’. As you can see below, after searching for various branded t-shirts, Ebay suggested other branded t-shirts i may be interested in.


The debate of Privacy

These are highly effective marketing techniques which generally prove far more effective than generic promotion as consumers feel more valued when presented with marketing, which is personalised to them. However, although targeted marketing is effective in promoting products, there is continuous debate as to whether it diminishes the privacy of website users such as Facebookers and eBayers.


Denegri-Knott, J., 2010. ‘Have it now!”: eBay and the acceleration of consumer desire. In: European Conference of the Association for Consumer Research, 30 June-3 July 2010 , Royal Holloway, University of London

Acceleration of consumption process-

Ebay- prompts suggestion eg.) put in Sindy and letter h after it “sindy h” such as sindy houses and sindy horses

“I just put in Sindy and then if you put a space and then “h”, then it would bring you the options of horse, house.  I was going to buy a Sindy caravan but that went for stupid money.  There was a tent as well.  I never had the tent when I was little and there’s a swimming pool.  Yes, if you just put like Sindy.  I think you have to put another letter, don’t you, before it brings up the list and then I put “s” for swimming pool and of course clothes you put in.  I just went mad once.  I went through a real addictive phase of going and looking at Sindy things”.

Use of customer data-

Facebook customises advertisements to the intended audience

Ebay use accelerates the cycle of desire through three key practices: the quick acquisition of desired items, the removal of moral consequences attached to purchases and the temporary ownership of digital virtual representations of desired goods.




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