Online targeting is in, with a warning


target1.jpgADOTAS — Despite privacy concerns, online users say that personalized ads work.

In a new survey, 41 percent of US Internet users said they paid more attention to advertising that was personalized, according to ChoiceStream, and 39 percent said they were more willing to click on a personalized ad.

“Today’s online consumers understand the value of online advertising and know retailers have information about their shopping behavior that can make their experience more relevant,” ChoiceStream president and CEO Steve Johnson told eMarketer.

Consumer privacy has been a hot topic recently. Advocacy groups have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate behavioral targeting practices aimed at mobile phone users, and several marketing and advertising associations plan to create an enhanced set of self-regulatory principles for online behavioral advertising.

In a Harris Interactive study, 45 percent of online users said they were uncomfortable with websites that allow behavioral targeting, and in a TNS Global and TRUSTe poll, a majority said they were worried about advertisers using their browsing history to serve them relevant ads.

But it works, so advertisers, publishers and ad networks need to find a careful way. According to eMarketer, $1.1 billion will be spent on behaviorally targeted ads in 2009.

— Express your opinion, comment below.


  1. Browsing habits are out there for others to see and learn from. As long as it doesn’t personally identify anyone I don’t see it as an issue.
    In the “real world” if I’m at the park and I see someone throwing a frisbee to their dog there is no law against me collecting information about the person, dog, frisbee, etc and then using that information to later offer them something related to those observations.
    How is it any different online?

  2. Ubi,
    The difference between a public park and surfing the web is vast. One has no expectation of privacy, the other does.
    And the comparison is slightly inaccurate. Btw, if you tried to sell me something after observing me at the park, I would be a bit creeped out.


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