The consumer behavior most valuable to most marketers has less to do with what the buyer is doing than where they are at a given moment. For a decade, search services and ad targeting coveted simply knowing where someone lived. Now, mobile technology has the potential to let the marketer know which city or town block the person is on right now. That is, if the consumer lets the marketer in. Location-based services (LBS) has become the new third rail of privacy concerns. It is the kind of technology that reminds consumers how intimate digital tracking can become. But LBS …
Wanting to protect consumers from receiving targeted ads based on their behavior isn't new, but earlier this week Google and Mozilla separately announced browser tools to block this type of activity across the Web.
One of the slipperiest parts of the online privacy issue is understanding just how important consumers consider controlling their digital identity. Ad technology providers often contend that consumers may register a high sensitivity about privacy issues in surveys, but in practice relatively few actually use the preference management tools that some networks and publishers are beginning to offer. But managing one's online profile with data collectors can take many forms. For instance, in a recent study done for data management platform Krux Digital, 52% of adult respondents said they already take "an active role in managing their digital signatures."
Google never talks about it but the Mountain View, Calif., tech company does a darn good job of targeting ads based on behavior. I look at this as similar to the way advertisers never talk about targeting ads to kids, so they can influence their parents. Not targeting a consumer's behavioral patterns sets up a campaign for failure.
As we have been writing about in these pages, a number of vendors have emerged to help publisher better protect their data, manage tags, etc. Allied with this effort is a class of vendors calling themselves DMPs -- or data management platforms -- and offering publishers better ways of understanding their own audiences and pulling various forms of user data together into more actionable forms.
Specific Media lays claim to last week becoming the first Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) member to begin integrating the Advertising Option Icon across all online display ads the ad network distributes.
The essence of viral distribution is, of course, content sharing among friends and contacts. But much of our attention goes to the usual social media suspects, Facebook, Twitter and the like. But according to a clever little startup called Tynt, the under-appreciated and under-used real killer app of viral is the simple copy-and-paste action. "In all the content we track, 2% of all page loads result in someone copying some content from the article," says Derek Ball, CEO.
Investors seem to keep feeding cash into companies supporting behavioral targeting despite the privacy concerns of Capitol Hill and privacy advocates.