Adam T. Sutton

Behavioral Targeting Freaks Out Consumers

April 14th, 2008

Behavioral targeting for online content has been around for a while, but your customers might have just learned about it. And they might not be comfortable with the idea.

Almost 6 in 10 respondents (59%) to a Harris Interactive survey said they weren’t comfortable with ads or content targeted to their online activity. Can you blame them? I was creeped out the first time I saw Gmail ads matching my emails.

About 55% said they would be comfortable if websites adopted four privacy-friendly policies. About 45% said they still wouldn’t be comfortable. The policies:

1. Explain to users how their information would be used

2. Offer choices for the types of tailored content and ads

3. Apply security measures to safeguard personal information

4. Promise not to share the information with other companies without consent

The 14% difference is not huge, but it shows that transparency can help build consumer trust. Some companies have already shed some light on their policies:





That 14% means you could earn a little trust through some explaining and reassuring. The question is whether a little more trust is worth revealing what data you store.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

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