I’ve decided to use amazon.co.uk to experiment with its algorithms. I’ve noticed in the past how quickly searched for items start to appear in other places, such as Google searches and Facebook, but this will be the first time I have attempted to document the speed and responsiveness to my browsing habits.
My methodology will be to search repeatedly for something unusual, specific and commonly available that I have never searched for previously. I will then watch for advertising appearing within search and other Internet pages, Facebook and any other applications that incorporate advertising.
I’m also interested to see whether adding an item to an Amazon ‘wish list’ increases the speed or likelihood of algorithm driven advertising appearing.
One potential issue is that my son buys from Amazon via my Prime account to take advantage of the one day delivery and this sometimes skews recommendations towards products he has been searching for.
- First search @ 22:30 for wax melt warmer from Amazon’s web interface in Chrome browser, which is signed into my Google + account.
- Followed several recommended product links @ 22:39
- Searched for scented wax heater @ 22:51
- Searched for wax melter @ 22:53
- Searched for electric wax melter in Amazon Android app on phone @ 23:16
- Amazon web home page ‘Related to items you’ve viewed’ an ‘Inspired by your browsing choices’ now include lots of wax burners, scented wax blocks etc. @ 22:30, but this might have happened sooner
- Continued searching on Amazon Android app which also now showing wax melts
- 20:11 first opportunity I’ve had to look at other applications. Facebook timeline now showing ‘xxxx likes Amazon’ and links to suggested products, including lots of wax burners and wax melts.
- Now going to try putting a high ticket price item into my public wish list to see if this appears quicker than searched for items.
- Added £2,000 flat screen TV to wish list, this instantly updates the ‘related to items you’ve searched section’ on the home page. Searching again for wax melters replaces the list of TVs in that section with wax melters, so it at appears that the algorithms behind these information panels does not privilege high ticket price items over low cost items.
- New panel further down the home page is now showing ‘Popular affordable TVs’
- It appears high ticket price items appear in Facebook no quicker than other items. Sponsored Advertising seems to be stuck on the Canon printer I searched for at lunchtime. That search was via Google so I’m now going to try searching for a TV through Google and then clicking through to Amazon to see if that makes any difference to the speed of ad updates.