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Just call me a target of online ads

Do you have a Facebook online page yet? America’s coin dealers are discovering those of us who do.
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Do you have a Facebook online page yet?

America’s coin dealers are discovering those of us who do.

An ad popped on the center feed of my Facebook home page just before I began writing this column. It was from APMEX, a major online bullion sales firm.
Along with an image of a 2013 silver American Eagle appeared the message “1-Day Only – Double Opportunity – Silver is Down and a Special Price on Silver Eagles Buy Now.”

This got my attention. Who can resist a photograph of one of the most beautiful coin designs? I know I couldn’t.

I immediately clicked on the link to see what APMEX was offering. The firm was selling current silver Eagles for $2.59 a coin over the spot price of the precious metal, which was fluctuating at around $21.47 while I was viewing the offer.

That was certainly not a bad price.

I wonder how many other collectors, or noncollectors, received this offer at the same time I did. I expect if the response rate is good, I will be seeing more ads of this type appearing on my Facebook page. Who knows where it might go?

Surprise and novelty are certainly helpful in this case. I do not buy silver Eagles everyday and I expect other collectors are similar, but if the target audience is large enough, the response rate could fuel more such offers.

However, shortly after the APMEX ad popped onto my Facebook home page, another ad appeared on the screen.

This one was labeled “Social Security Disability Income Help.”

Computers can target their audience. The ad was aimed at people over 50. which of course, I am. I clicked on it and went to

Since the coin ad had softened me up already, I had to see the site. An image of a smiling woman appeared who apparently is delighted even though it says she has a chronic health condition.

The disclaimer at the bottom said it all: “This is a paid attorney/advocate advertisement.”

If enough of this kind of ad appears on my Facebook home page feed, I expect I will find a better use for my time other than visiting my Facebook page.
I am sure I am not alone in my reaction.

I remember when I was a newcomer to Krause Publications more than three decades ago. I asked the naive question of why Numismatic News didn’t have Coca-Cola ads or Chevrolet ads in it. After all, coin collectors drink Coke and drive Chevrolets.

The answer I got was that collectors expected only numismatic ads because that was one of the main reasons they subscribed to a specialist publication like ours. They pay us to bring them specialty information and weed out the rest. They can find Coke and Chevy elsewhere.

So, even as I found that I enjoyed the coin ad on Facebook, I might soon discover that too many other kinds of ads there might cause me to behave in a way Facebook doesn’t intend.

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