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BizReport : Research archives : October 05, 2009

Study: All ages concerned with privacy issues

When it comes to private information it isn't only Boomers and Seniors who have concerns. Contrary to popular belief, the younger generations are also concerned about their private information - despite the fact that most have always used computers and the Internet.

by Kristina Knight

Professors from the University of California - Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania have released the results of a joint study which indicates that young people and old are concerned about private information getting into the wrong hands. They found that approximately two-thirds of all consumers polled said they did not want tailored content if that meant they would be tracked via the Internet.

Other interesting findings include:

• 66% of respondents reported that tailored/targeted ads 'did not appeal'
• 55% of 18-24 year olds reported not wanting tailored ads and 37% reported not waiting tailored discounts
• 54% of 18 - 24 year olds report not wanting tailored news
• For those over age 65, 82% report not wanting tailored ads and 68% report not wanting tailored news

"It's a warning sign that we have to be careful about generalizations," said Joseph Turow, professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania (via MediaPost). "For some reason marketers think because young adults grew up with the Internet they don't mind being tracked and targeted with online ads."

In defense of targeting capabilities such as behavioral, which is how much information about consumers is compiled, many experts in the field say the information collected can and usually is anonymous. Meaning that consumers need not worry that personal information is easily available.

Experts not involved in collected this data say consumers responded the way they did likely because of the way the questions were asked. They say that had the questions been worded slightly differently consumers would not have been as negative.

Tags: Annenberg School of Communication, behavioral targeting, online advertising, targeted advertising

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