Consumer Attitude towards Behavioral Targeting

A recent report titled Behavioral Targeting Attitudes:The Privacy Issue by eMarketer, explored consumers attitude towards online tracking and behavioral targeting. There was a similar study by TRUSTe in April. This report builds on that study and few other surveys and provides an analysis of the consumers attitude toward Behavioral Targeting.

The conclusion of this report was exactly what I have been advocating. According to the report

online marketers might do well to develop transparent methods of letting the audience know when and how their Web history data will be used, the benefits they can receive in exchange for allowing it to be used and a clear, easy opt-in mechanism for informed consent.

I shared similar views in my post titles 5 Step Process to Ease Privacy Concerns Regarding Behavioral Targeting.

The key question this report tackles are

  • What will encourage people to accept more ad targeting?
  • Are consumer privacy concerns a deal breaker for
    behavioral targeting?
  • How much transparency will marketers need to allay
    consumer concerns?
  • Are all methods of behavioral targeting data collection equal?
  • Will the government limit how online companies can use
    consumer data?

Some of the highlights of this report are

  1. Over 87% of the respondents to TRUSTe survey said that at least three quarter of the online ads are irrelevant
  2. 41% of the users are more willing to pay attention to personalized advertising
  3. 75% of internet users are interested in receiving personalized ads
  4. 59% of the respondents to Harris Interactive Poll responded that they are not comfortable with ads or content targeted to their personal interests based on their internet usage

The above findings create an interesting dilemma for marketers. Consumers want relevant ads but are not comfortable with being tracked. However, it also provides an opportunity for Behavioral Targeting companies to step up and innovate new ways to provide relevant ads while easing the concern about tracking.

Marketers and privacy officer’s need to keep in mind that the negative attitude towards tracking and targeting is not limited to Behavioral Ad networks such as Tacoda and Revenue Science etc but it also applies to content targeting and on-site targeting provided by tools such as Test&Target by Omniture, Optimost/Interwoven etc.

You can get the full report at


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