Imagine if your TV could see you sitting on your couch knitting, or doing a crossword puzzle, or drinking heavily, and tailor its commercials specifically to those activities, in real time.
That’s pretty much what MySpace is helping its advertisers accomplish with increasing precision, ReadWriteWeb reports. By employing “hypertargeting”—the meticulous manipulation of advertising based on individual users’ stated interests—online advertisers make old models of demographic targeting seem haphazard and inefficient.
Because MySpace users can edit their profiles in extremely granular ways—specifying everything from their age to their weight, level of education, and whether they want children—advertisers can fine-tune their messages accordingly. What’s most ingenious about this tactic (or alarming, depending on your point of view) is that MySpace allows users to list activities like “drinking” and “partying” as favorites, giving notoriously effective liquor advertisements a direct conduit into their hypertargeted audience.