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BizReport : Advertising archives : September 30, 2011

Brands: Are you targeting safely?

Advertisers looking for more from holiday advertising campaigns may turn to targeting to increase ROI, but the wrong type of targeting could land brands in stick situations where consumers are concerned. Although many people have noted they want more relevant - read, targeted - advertising, many don't understand what 'good' targeting is or does.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: There are reports showing behavioral data improves campaigns and there are privacy advocates who say all behavioral data is 'bad'. What should brands do in the face of this on-going controversy?

Matt Tillman, Vice President of Product Development, Affine: Brands have always used demographic and behavioral data to reach both existing and potential customers efficiently. As an example, they've driven many direct response campaigns using in-store purchase history combined with real personal information for years. Offline information is actually far more accurate than online behavioral data which targets a user's browser. Consumers are now reacting to the fact that they are constantly being tracked without knowing it versus in the past when the targeting has been more obvious in the form of a store credit card or grocery store discount program. Brands and their agencies have a great opportunity to communicate in a clear manner their intended use of audience data in addition to allowing the user to opt-out of being targeted.

Kristina: There are a number of targeting options - demographic, geo-fencing/location, etc. - in addition to behavioral data, which seems to get the most negative attention. What can brands do to alleviate privacy concerns?

Matt: Consumers need to be educated on the use of their data. Something similar to the National Do Not Call Registry would be very powerful if implemented for online consumers. Otherwise, advertisers could end up with a European style system of government mandated opt-in.

Kristina: Tell me about the DAA's self-regulatory stance - what does it mean for advertisers? For consumers?

Matt: The potential of a unified advocacy group is obvious. If they succeed at their mission to educate consumers and operate in a transparent environment then brands, agencies, and consumers will benefit. Advertisers will continue to be able to acquire relevant media, target the right audience, and establish trust with their customers. Consumers will ultimately have a better consumer experience by interacting with more relevant advertising.

Tags: ad targeting, advertising, Affine, online advertising, online targeting

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