Among all of the possible messaging goals a marketer might get assigned, convincing online users that targeted advertising will be good for them has to be one of the toughest. As we have discussed in these columns, and at recent OMMA Behavioral shows, the communications piece of the online privacy and data collection puzzle is going to be the most daunting. How do you explain the technology behind digital ad targeting quickly and fairly enough so the consumer can make an informed choice about opting in or out, sharing their surfing history, etc.? Whatever regulatory or legislative measures come down …
Jeremy Liew is concerned. The managing director at Lightspeed Venture Partners says that with the Federal Trade Commission framing the topic of BT around privacy, the climate is ripe for government regulation of companies that support online targeting. These companies could move operations offshore to escape restriction -- which would mean losing many U.S. jobs and much revenue.
The crushing irony of digital privacy is that all attempts to address user and government concerns over data handling only serve to dramatize just how thorny, complex and consumer un-friendly the issue is going to become next year. Assuming user disinterest about privacy and tracking is a big mistake, in large part because the full and honest discussion hasn't even begun yet. This is going to be more like having the sex talk with your kid.
The question becomes whether the engines will consider using real-time tweets and status updates from MySpace and Facebook as a way to target people searching for information, products or services on the Web. And, whether using that data to target behavior is, indeed, a breach of privacy.
Looking at customers through a behavioral lens is considerably different than looking at them through the familiar demographic or even psychographic lenses. The biggest problem that Jason Rushin, director of marketing for behavioral analytics software firm Quantivo, runs into with companies is "they they are stuck in their traditional ways of looking at customers." That's one reason he and Quantivo joined with book publisher Wiley to produce "Behavioral Analytics for Dummies," part of the familiar Dummies series but aimed at marketers who are stuck segmenting their audiences by age range, geographics, and whether they are male or female.
Google and Yahoo have launched BT dashboards to give consumers control of the ads they see. College students don't care about trading information for targeted ads, but sometimes they change their minds once they graduate and get a job.
At this summer's OMMA Behavioral and this fall's OMMA AdNets conferences, references to "attribution" popped up frequently, as marketers bemoaned their inability to successfully track where their buys were having the most effect in a campaign. Unless you know whether that direct mailing piece or that out-of-home exposure, that portal banner ad or that email blast was responsible for sending people to your Web site or to the store, how will you know how to manage your marketing mix going forward?