Friday, June 13, 2008

Behavioural targeting

The Economist wrote a great article about a new “behavioural” approach to targeting internet advertisements. I'm surprised that this technology isn't being covered more.

Frankly I'm on the fence between whether it's got tremendous potential to be value-creating (not value-adding) for marketers or whether it is a severe breach of privacy which consumers will never get behind, even is it is an opt-in service.

The media model relies on marketers reachin consumers through content or services which consumers get for free or pay very little for.

Have you ever wondered why there are newspaper boxes and you take one newspaper from a large stack? What's preventing you from taking all the newspapers at once? newspapers WANT you to read them - they make money through ads and subscriptions. They are happy if all the newspapers are taken and read, it means more eyes on the ads.

But in this case the media model takes a weird turn. From a privacy standpoint, it seems that ISPs wouldn't be collecting data that they don't otherwise have stored. Now they're just using that data for targeted marketing.

Similarly, I think consumers could really be satisfied with fewer ads in their lives or if online marketing wasn't so distracting and obnoxious. This is definitely a step in the right direction to increase marketing relevance.

To set the tone, I think an appropriate song is Rockwell featuring Michael Jackson - 'Somebody's Watchin Me'.

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