Most Web Users Dislike Behavioral Targeting, Personalized Search
The majority of Web users say they don't want to receive ads targeted based on behavior or search results personalized based on their prior activity, according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
For the study, released today, Pew asked around 800 Web users how they would feel about a search engine remembering their prior queries and using that data to personalize future results. Seventy-three percent of respondents said they "would not be okay with it" because they feel it's an invasion of privacy.
But privacy isn't respondents' only concern.
Pew also asked a different group of 800 Web users whether they thought that personalization of results was "a bad thing because it may limit the information you get online and what search results you see" or "a good thing because it gives you results that are more relevant to you." Around two out of three respondents (65%) answered that it would be a bad thing, while just 29% said personalization would be a good thing.
Pew also reports that most Web users don't like targeted ads. When researchers asked around 1,700 Web users how they felt about receiving targeted ads, 68% of respondents said they were "not okay with it" because they don't want to be tracked and profiled. Only 28% said they were "okay with it" because they received ads and information relevant to their interests.
The report was based on a survey earlier this year of 2,253 U.S. adults total. Of that group, around 1,700 were Internet users and more than 90% used search engines.