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MN30673 Assignment 1: Micro-Targeted Advertising

“Micro-targeted advertising makes consumers more likely to engage with

brands as it accurately connects with consumer interests and values.”

Critically evaluate this statement drawing on your own experiences of micro-

targeted, digital advertising, and literature on consumer engagement.

• Individual Report (30%)

• Word limit: 1,500 words
• Deadline: 12:00 on Wednesday 17th April 2019 (Online only on Moodle)


Micro-targeted advertising uses consumer data to identify specific interests and then
influence thoughts and/or behaviour through communication. As brands strive for
message cut-through, tailor-made, personalised forms of advertising delivered
through digital channels are becoming more commonplace. Further, advances in
artificial intelligence mean that this personalisation can (not only) be extremely
accurate, but also highly controversial (as we have seen with Cambridge Analytica
and Facebook). To some, this form of advertising is convenient as it speaks directly
to a consumer need or interest, resulting in positive brand engagement. To others,
this form of advertising is creepy, intrusive and puts consumers off engaging with
brands. In this assignment you will need to respond to the above statement, offering
evidence-based responses, drawing on your own perspectives and academic

Suggested Structure

• Introduction: What is your core argument?

• How much do brands know? What is micro-targeted advertising and what
are your experiences of it? How accurate are such adverts? (See template)
• Does micro-targeting encourage you to engage or disengage with
branded content? Based on your experiences, and relevant literature, do
you agree with, disagree with or feel impartial regarding the statement above?
• Conclusion: What are your overall reflections of this activity?

Useful practical sources:

Cambridge University have a bank of psychometric tests which enable you to

understand how you are being profiled for micro-targeted advertising. This is a useful
place to start in thinking about how your data is being used to make personal
inferences about you that are used by brands:

The Advertising and Standards Authority (ASA), which regulates UK online

advertising, launched a new five-year strategy last year to better monitor micro-
targeted advertising. It is useful to consider if these guidelines are effective:
Relevant papers:

Acquisti, A., Brandimarte, L., & Loewenstein, G. (2015). Privacy and Human
Behavior in the age of Information. Science, 347(6221), 509-514.
Bowden, J.L.H (2009). The Process of Customer Engagement: A Conceptual
Framework, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 17 (1), 63-74.
Brodie, R.J., Hollebeek, L.D., Jurić, B & Ilić, A. (2011) Customer Engagement
Conceptual Domain, Fundamental Propositions, and Implications for
Research, Journal of Service Research, 14, 252-271.
Chu, S. & Kim, Y. (2011). Determinants of Consumer Engagement in Electronic
Word-of-mouth (eWOM) in Social Networking Sites, International Journal of
Advertising, 30 (1), 47-75.
Gummerus, J., Liljander, V., Weman, E. & Pihlström, M. (2012). Customer
Engagement in a Facebook Brand Community, Management Research
Review, 35 (9), 857 – 877.
Hirsh, J. B., Kang, S. K., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2012). Personalized Persuasion:
Tailoring Persuasive Appeals to Recipients’ Personality Traits. Psychological
Science, 23(6), 578-581.
Matz, S. C., Kosinski, M., Nave, G., & Stillwell, D. J. (2017). Psychological Targeting
as an Effective Approach to Digital Mass Persuasion. Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, 114 (48), 12714-12719.
Sashi, C.M. (2012). Customer Engagement, Buyer-seller Relationships, and Social
Media, Management Decision, 50 (2), 253-272.
Van Doorn, J., Lemon, K. N., Mittal, V., Nass, S., Pick, D., Pirner, P. & Verhoef, P. C.
(2010). Customer Engagement Behaviour: Theoretical Foundations and
Research Directions, Journal of Service Research, 13 (3) 253-266.

Style Guide

The 1,500 word limit does not include references nor appendices. Please note that
footnotes/endnotes are permitted.

All papers must be submitted in:

• A4-page format
• 2.5cm margins on all sides
• Size 11 font Ariel
• Double spaced throughout
• Assignments should include a title page (Do not include your name)
• Name documents: Student Number (this is to enable anonymous marking).

References must be presented in APA (American Psychological Association) Style

or Harvard.

Please note that your responses to this assignment may be anonymised and form
part of an academic paper. You can opt out of this on submission to Moodle.
Marking Criteria
80-100 Strong first-class The level of reasoning and research or critical approach to research
performance plus. is highly professional and potentially publishable. Demonstrates a
Outstanding high degree of originality in the argument and execution. Strong
performance that fulfils evidence of understanding and critique of complex ideas from
and exceeds designated reading published research in the field. Excellent, highly readable
learning outcomes expression.

70-79 First class performance. Excellent understanding of the theories presented on the unit and
Excellent performance critical approach to research findings in the subject area. Examples
relative to designated are drawn from the student’s own investigation or conception and are
learning outcomes intelligently used. Demonstrates a good understanding of central
ideas in the discipline from wide reading of published research in the
field. Shows the capacity to sustain a sound argument through to
conclusions clearly informed by research in the subject area or
discipline. Very good expression.
60-69 Good Pass. Shows good understanding of the theoretical content and of its
Very good performance application. Where examples are used, these are derived from the
relative to designated student’s own investigation rather than simply being transferred from
learning outcomes class material. The argument and/or presentation of different points
of view are clear and well-constructed in relation to the question set.
Shows a broad awareness of emerging ideas from recent research
in the subject area drawn from reading outside lectures. Only minor
flaws in expression.
50-59 Pass. Demonstrates an understanding of the content of the unit but may
Good performance lack some understanding of the more sophisticated theory.
relative to designated Arguments or points of view are presented but understanding of their
learning outcomes background or principles may be more limited than for marks in the
higher categories. Limited engagement with emerging ideas in the
subject area or discipline and limited evidence of reading outside
lectures. Some use examples drawn from the student’s own reading.
Expression needs attention.

40-49 Low Pass. Demonstrates an understanding of the content of the unit but does
Satisfactory not extend investigation or analysis beyond material presented in
performance in lectures. Expression needs serious attention.
designated learning
35-39 Borderline Fail. The student has not yet shown an adequate grasp of the subject,
possibly with some serious misconceptions in the theory or failure to
apply it in an appropriate way.
(marks in this range are potentially condonable – i.e. depending
on the student’s overall profile of marks, it is possible for credit
to be awarded without the need for a successful retrieval to be
20-34 Fail. A failure to meet the assessment criteria for the piece of work, either
through consistently poor execution, comprehensive
misunderstanding of the unit’s content or a failure to address the
question set.
(marks in this range are outside the condonable range and a
successful retrieval is required before credit can be awarded)
0-19 Weak fail. A failure even to approach the learning outcomes for the unit or the
set assessment criteria. Significant portions of the assessment either
not present or not comprehensible as an answer to the question set.
(marks in this range are outside the condonable range and a
successful retrieval is required before credit can be awarded)
Micro-targeting template [not included in word count]

Please note down the details of 3-5 micro-targeted adverts you have recently experienced in the following table.

Brand Platform Describe the Why do you think that this What specific data is How does Will the advert
/ Website advert and insert advert is targeting you? Is the advert responding the advert encourage you
a screen grab it an accurate reflection of to (e.g. demographic, make you to engage /
your interests / values? psychographic, feel? disengage with
personality data) – the brand?
give details
Advert 1
Advert 2
Advert 3
Advert 4
Advert 5