We’ve blogged previously about online privacy – it’s a really hot Internet topic. Whilst we all want to protect our online identity, I personally think that it’s worth giving up some privacy in order to get a more tailored Internet experience. This of course includes getting served adverts that are specifically targeted at me. When it comes to advertising, getting personalized & tailored adverts aimed just at me is called ‘behavioural targeting’.
Behavioural targeting currently has a poor reputation. A poll out this week in New Media Age magazine suggested that over 81% of Internet users would reject receiving behaviourally targeted advertising. This bad name is probably down to scant information amongst users, who probably believe ‘behavioural targeting’ is the online equivalent of getting bombarded by leaflets through the post. The majority of us resent having direct mail land on our doormats, but the reality is that behaviourally targeted advertising is something completely different. As I’ve said previously it’s got to be worth getting a more personal version of websites and of online advertising, if it means that it’s more relevant to you. But the chances are that people are choosing to opt out of this because they have the perception that it’s going to be like getting direct mail, whereas in reality it’s going to be a more tailored online experience.
This week there’s been a major step forward in the setting up of a regulatory framework for behavioural targeting. In an attempt to lay consumers’ fears to rest, lots of Internet Advertising organisations including Google and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have got together to produce guidelines about what is acceptable in terms of targeting users based on their online behaviour. This includes a range of measures including making it clear when information is being gathered by a website, and giving the user the ability to opt out of that information gathering.
Experts say that these guidelines need to quickly win the trust of Internet users otherwise the idea of behavioural targeting will be dismissed before it has even been given a chance to work properly.
Which side of the fence do you sit? Would you prefer to keep your online behaviour completely private? Or as someone who likes to build websites, can you see the benefits of reaching out to users whose online activity means they might want to buy one of your products? Leave us a comment below.