Prof Turow’s study of consumer attitudes toward behavioral advertising reported in the NY Times today is a severe indictment of the current state of behavioral advertising. Consumers just do not like the feeling of being tracked. What can companies do about it? How about take Turow’s advice! Despite the significant concerns captured by the poll, Turow says: “I don’t think that behavioral targeting is something that we should eliminate, but I do think that we’re at a cusp of a new era, and the kinds of information that companies share and have today is nothing like we’ll see 10 years from now. He would like “a regime in which people feel they have control over the data that marketers collect about them. The most important thing is to bring the public into the picture, which is not going on right now.”
We think there is a very short window of time for businesses to put users in charge and shift the debate to which site or ad network best helps you tailor your own experience to your preferences or provides the best offers.The only way to turn this debate around is to lean in to the issue and provide users with real transparency and real user control.
What’s the first step you can take? Let consumers know what is going on in an open and honest way. If you are a business involved in behavioral advertising, contact us ASAP to join our effort to design icons and symbols that can be used to let users know how you and your ad network or re-targeting partners are tailoring ads to consumers.