It’s been a whilst since we talked about behavioural targeting on this blog. Behavioural targeting is where advertisers target web users based on their online behaviour. For example, let’s say you are visiting autotrader.co.uk quite a few times a week, and also checking out loans websites; it it looks like you’re thinking about buying a car. Behavioural targeting would allow car manufacturers to target you with their online advertising.
I like behavioural targeting
I for one am quite keen on behavoural targeting. I’d rather see advertising that’s relevant to me rather than general purpose.
But Privacy Groups don’t
However, online privacy groups have raised fears that behavioural targeting can represent an invasion of online privacy. Behavioral targeting firm ‘Phorm’ took the decision to close its doors in the UK last year, having faced a real uphill battle to convince stakeholders.
Google does it too
Google is in the behavioural targeting game too. The key difference with their ‘interest based‘ advertising is that as a web user you can see what categories Google has said you’re interested in, and edit them too.
Now a good idea has come along that might help behavioural targeting get properly off the ground. There’s a new ‘privacy icon’ that’s being trialed by the US online ad industry. The icon will appear on adverts and be used to let users know that a website is using behavioural targeting.
The symbol not only allows users to know they’re being targeted, but when click the user can see who is targeting, and to opt out.
It seems like a sensible move. It allows consumers to be aware of that their data is being collected (albeit in an anonymous way). And it allows advertisers to take advantage of the powerful tool of behavioural targeting.
At the moment regulators have been hard to convince over behavioural targeting. This might just be the answer.
What do you think of behavioural targeting? Would you give up some privacy to get a personalised version of the web? Do you think this symbol can give users the reassurance and control they need? Leave us a comment below.