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BizReport : Advertising archives : January 21, 2011

Brands: What the FTC targeting decision could mean

A recent Gallup poll found that more than two-thirds (67%) of American consumers are uncomfortable with the behavioral targeting options used by brands. That, along with news that the FTC is looking into how ads are targeted and the type of information collected, has many brands wondering what is and isn't okay in the targeting realm.

by Kristina Knight

admantx.jpgA little more on the survey:

• 61% of Americans do not think data should be collected from 'free' content websites
• 90% report they don't pay attention to online ads anyway
• 47% say data collection is okay - as long as they've opted-in to the process in some way

I recently had the chance to chat with Brooke Aker, Chief Marketing Officer for ADmantX. He says the targeted issues raised by the FTC and by consumers' feelings on the matter should not be ignored by any brand.

"If I am an advertiser I am already worried about having my ads by 'brand safe;' not associated with something negative, insensitive or unsavory. In that same manner, I wouldn't want to engage in behavioral targeting when it is seen as negative, insensitive or unsavory," said Aker. His suggestion? Take the so-called high road - by being totally transparent about advertising and targeting policies.

One solution Aker suggests is utilizing more semantic options because then ads are matched based on the content of a site rather than behaviors of the consumer. He also suggests that first-party data collection may be made the exception to whatever rules the FTC comes up with regarding behavioral targeting.

"We expect targeting to continue to be under regulatory review in 2011 and for the ad industry to resist any control of targeting, since the organizations that represent them are beholden to their size and money. I expect this to backfire and a regulatory regime to be in place that will have ad networks, publishers and advertisers seeking alternatives to BT," said Aker. "We can also foresee that first-party data is an exception in the FTC proposal. This means publishers will regain power and value in advertising since they can maintain the relationship with readers and not let 3rd parties take the bulk of the value from content. This is a positive for publications; newspapers in particular."

Tags: ad targeting, ADmantX, behavioral targeting, Brooke Aker, FTC, online advertising

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  • Frank

    Why are we soliciting the opinion of an individual that is software developer with no formative marketing background outside of giving herself a CMO title? Her company isn't even operationally live. Lets get down to brass tacks here. The survey done by Gallup was sensationalized to sell newspaper. It was not a scientific study and should not be given any credence.

    A true study on consumer's feeling on this matter require telling people that website content is not free. You get it free because of advertising and behavioral targeting. Then you ask them "Would you be willing to pay $500 per month for internet access to not see ads and not have non-identifying profiles set in cookies?"

    The answer to this question will be aggressively one-sided to no. This has to be asked, because any change to privacy standards will require this change in pricing. Do consumers want to purchase their internet services like the purchase cable TV? For the web to survive, its either accept the targeted advertising to keep it free or pay $500 per month to access websites. There is no middle ground.

    Lets stop this madness of allowing privacy zealots continue to rake in 6-digit salaries and pose the real questions and end the debate. Consumers are not going to pay $500 for internet access, so lets stop insulting each other's intelligence with blather for unqualified individuals with zero online marketing experience.



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