Behaviorally Targeted Pilot Aims To Educate Consumers

Publishers Clearing House (PCH) ran a six-month pilot program supported by TRUSTe, which supplies privacy policies and trademarks, in an effort to educate consumers about behaviorally targeted ads. Marketers and advertisers, however, need to take program's findings with a grain of salt because the company conducting the survey supports the technology.

TRUSTe placed an icon near ads featured on the site Consumers clicking on an icon saw a pop-up window explaining the behaviorally targeted ads were based on Web history. The content also explained a process to learn more about the ads, set preferences to opt out, and give feedback about the process.

More than half of site visitors who saw the icon and clicked through to the opt-out and control process admitted they found the notice helpful. Only 1% chose to opt out of all advertising networks, and 0.3% chose to make small changes to their preferences. More than 40% consistently chose to maintain existing preference settings.



The click-through rate to the icon was 2.5 times higher than the click-through rate to the site's Privacy Policy, reflecting more placements on the Web site page. A little more than 10% of visitors to the widget took the step to review their preferences.

The icon was displayed to an estimated 20 million consumers and was accessed approximately 56,000 times and is now also being implemented on

The findings also suggest consumers want to learn more about behavioral advertising, and that only a small percentage, once informed, will change their preferences.

Today, about 80% of ad campaigns involve some tracking, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. Consumers realize having online advertising has become necessary to support all the content they receive for free. There are many surveys that suggest consumers would prefer to have relevant ads and offers delivered to them and find them less annoying. It's proven that relevant ads served up less frequently convert more often. I can attest to that.

1 comment about "Behaviorally Targeted Pilot Aims To Educate Consumers".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 17, 2010 at 4:23 p.m.

    I was away for about 10 days. When I got back, I had about 20 catalogs for stuff I would never buy in my mail. Yup, 3rd or 4th party or more down the line advertising buying lists. Yup, I bought some books on Amazon and then one thing from a shopping site where I think from where this stuff came. And so YUP, opt-out for sure. You know that site will be getting a nasty note from me to get me off. BTW, I write return to sender near the catalogs' addresses and put them back into the mail. Hope someone gets the message. Haven't got one back yet.

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