Somewhere, someone in a major American city is likely to receive a file targeted advertising On Instagram or Facebook, the kind who appear simple lazy and semi-satirical but not-very-Lazy aesthetics tied to millennial culture, everything Labeled around several lines of eye-catching text. But this time, the text isn’t an advertisement for ADHD medication or an electric toothbrush. No, it’s for Essa, The person viewing it was carefully selected by an algorithm based on their perceived susceptibility to religious messages.
This is, in short, the product offered by the Colorado-based startup Gloo, which has been a new topic The Wall Street Journal Transfer. The company’s stated goal is to use its technology to find internet users in their time of need and then act as a religious medium connecting them to a church eager to grow their flock.
Unlike a political campaign ad that might try to focus On individuals who have History of handling political articles, memes or sports pagesGloo works in part by using technology to find users who are in a tight spot, the same types of people who Churches sought this long before the advent of the Internet. By looking at metrics such as demographics, research history, and buying behavior, Gloo claimed it could predict the characteristics of people in struggling marriages, those with anxiety, or even those who might be trying to break free from drug addiction, the magazine notes.
company Says Its online campaigns are specifically designed for people who “don’t usually go to church – but need to pray” or question aspects of their faith. Glo refers to this sea of daily internet vigilantes as “online explorers. ”
In a sense, Gloo ads are analogous to the hyper-singular digital ads of those memorable ads that streak across interstate highways: timeless classics like “Coincidence by desire“Written in flaming text, or this author’s personal favorite,”After you die, you will meeting GodGuarantee.” (This one has a spotty vital sign next to it.)
Fortunately, Gloo gives its ads a softer touch, but its targeted approach means it’s more likely to land in front of a desperate person’s eyeballs than its bulletin board brethren., or so the company go pitch.
For example, the Gloo website shows examples of ads that display images with text assuring readers that “Jesus suffers from anxiety,” “Jesus was born to a teenage mother,” among other association signals. expressions. Ultimately, Gloo says his goal is to help churches save time while still being able to serve (or at least reach) a wider audience.
“Now imagine with me for a moment,” a Gloo narrator said in a promotional video In her “He Gets Us” campaign, “What if, instead of all these ads, Jesus was the biggest brand in your city this holiday?” The company offers all these catchphrases on Instagram as a way to get explorers to encounter what they call true Jesus and push them to their website or, better yet, maybe even take a step forward and reach out to a local church. On the other side of the coin, Gloo’s website provides step-by-step instructions, examples, and templates for church volunteers that offer best practices for untangling these explorers as soon as they show an interest.
“We believe this is the right thing to do, and Gloo is committed to doing it the right way,” a Gloo spokesperson told the newspaper.
In addition to advertisements, Gloo also creates websites that attempt to connect distressed individuals with churches for care. These web pages link to specific search terms such as “unity” or other failed marriage terms. The company claims that at least 30,000 churches have partnered with Gloo to use its services and says it has anonymous digital profiles of about 245 million people in the US. Outstanding pay. The magazine notes that Gloo is $1,500 per year.
Services don’t stop at the recruiting level either. Gloo also provides its partners (in this case, churches) data analytics that showcase relevant community issues. This means, in theory, that churches can then take that data and use it to help deliver craft services or sermons that resonate with their community. Think Moneyball, but with original sin and the impossibility of substance. These ad campaigns aren’t free of course, and Gloo says they can afford the practice A pool of funds comes from shareholders and donors. The eager new churches offer religious recruits the possibility to increase Gloo’s fundraising pool even more.
Regardless of the honesty of Gloo’s stated mission, the company relies on the same kinds of targeted advertising technologies that have raised alarm bells activists And lawmakers in recent years, in particular next Cambridge Analytica 2018 Facebook scandal. Every day internet users are generally uncomfortable with targeted ads. The majority (51%) of adults in the United States to wipe by YouGov in 2019 said they believed targeted advertising represented an inappropriate use of personal opinions. This view has remained relatively consistent even when gender, age, income, region, and political affiliation are taken into account.
These concerns have helped inspire a series of new data privacy laws in California And many other US states that limit the spread of targeted advertising, though they fail to garner any meaningful support for a federal privacy standard that can be applied globally across the country. So far, Glo told the magazine he follows all privacy laws of California and other states. At the same time, one of Gloo’s many major resources is owned by Google announce Its intent is to prevent websites from using third-party cookies, a change that is likely to have an as-yet-undefined impact on targeted advertising as a whole.