So much exposure.
It may not seem like it but we are constantly exposed to marketing and advertising everywhere we go. Television, YouTube, Instagram, every Google account, billboards, podcasts, radio, websites, apps, delivery packaging, restaurant menus, store receipts, doctors offices, and much much more. Because we are exposed to so much of it, we often don’t even realize that advertising is present. Marketing and advertising professionals are constantly trying to find ways to get our attention and lead us to a purchase. Our devices are always watching and listening for a chance to lead us to the sale of another product or service.
Yes, they do impact us.
I often pretend that marketing and advertising do not impact my purchasing decisions. When I go through my monthly bank and credit card statements, I can easily pick out purchases that I probably would not have made without the influence of a good advertisement at the right time or one that followed me everywhere across the internet. My guess is that you have had similar experiences. We probably didn’t need to order through Uber Eats or DoorDash every night this week and probably wouldn’t have – if we had not been prompted by them to do so.
Advertising and marketing professionals are some of the smartest people in the world. They are experts at human behavior, psychology, influence and presenting products or services in a captivating way. Behind that promoted article, advertisement for a suit or plea to purchase a video game is a team of well-educated individuals armed with data about you and your buying habits and interests. They also have sizable advertising budgets to influence you – and everyone like you – to buy their product. So what are regular humans to do?
Limiting your exposure.
Advertising and marketing are here to stay. You will never be able to make them go away completely. What we can do is limit our exposure and basically starve them of information and access to our senses. Here are some simple approaches you can take:
Change your various services from a freemium model to a paid membership. Believe me, the experience will be 10 times better because you will not have to watch, listen or deal with tons of ads.
Use a different search engine (NOT GOOGLE). This will not only eliminate a ton of advertisements, it will also give you better search results based on what you want to see and not on what is most likely to make Google money.
Use a different web browser (NOT CHROME). Basically the same as above. There are a ton out there like Firefox or Bravethat will not mine your personal data and use it to serve up advertisements.
Limit your exposure to social media or stay out of your news feed. The news feed is where all the advertisements live. Everything is curated for you. So it has become less valuable. Instead, use social media groups where you won’t see served up ads, the content is not curated and the groups have rules, people and topics that align with what is important and of interest to you. I love my gym, mma school and young professionals groups on Facebook because all feature interesting content and great people – without the advertisements..
Turn off your devices and do something in the real world. Take a class in person, spend time with people you care about, or pick up a physical book. These are all things that I do. The time away from my devices is a nice digital vacation even if only for an hour. Every day I make a point to take a Crossfit class, go to Jui Jitsu or spend 30 minutes reading an interesting book with a warm cup of coffee on my patio. These work for me. Think about what may work for you. Think of it as a digital / advertisement vacation.
You may not believe it but limiting your exposure to advertisements will in turn lead to spending less, saving more and purchasing what you actually want or need. Recently, I made a concerted effort to change where I go for my daily coffee. Before, I was going to a restaurant where I was dealing with a server who was using their own form of advertising – trying to upsell me to get food, additional drinks and desserts during the course of my visit. Now, by going to a cafe that primarily focuses on great coffee with little to no other offerings, I have saved a boat load of cash, have eaten at home more and avoided “spend regret” at the end of the month.
Make informed and conscious decisions.
It is really easy to spend money – whether online or in a traditional storefront. Consider how simple it is to make a purchase today. From swiping a debit or credit card to using an online payment app, making a purchase today often requires very little thought. Making that electronic payment opens the door for an increase in advertisements targeted specifically to you.
By limiting your exposure to advertisements, you will see less that is available but you will be able to evaluate what you need, how much you can/want to spend and when you are ready to make the purchase. I took this out for a test drive for 30 days and found that I ended up spending a noticeable amount less by trying a few of the examples above. Take the idea out for your own test drive, see how much of your monthly spending plan you end up saving and better yet, see how much more of your valuable time that you get back that you can spend on things which matter to you.