Digital Advertisers Pulling the Curtain Back on Behavioural Advertising

If you spend much time online, and pay a little attention to the ads that appear when you’re using websites like Facebook, you may have noticed those ads are similar to things you’ve been looking at in other spaces on the internet. That’s no coincidence.

Digital advertisers have been using online behavioural advertising at a growing rate and, to this point, there hasn’t been much explanation or information about the process.

That’s all about to change.

On Tuesday, as reported by the Globe and Mail, the DAAC (Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada) announced that a new program will be introduced to allow internet users to learn more about ad targeting and, if they choose, allow them to opt out of behaviour targeted advertising.

The question is whether or not people will start clicking on the “opt out” button en masse now that the option will be available. No doubt, countless users won’t miss an opportunity to unclick thinking it means they will see fewer ads when they’re online. Not true.  It just means that they will stop seeing ads based on their web history and behaviour.

From an advertisers perspective, targeting ads based on behaviour is an ideal and inexpensive way to ensure that product pitches are reaching relevant audiences.

From a user standpoint, behavioural advertising means that men in their 20s are much less likely to see ads for Activia popping up when they check the score of the hockey game. Some industry types believe this kind of advertising is a service to consumers. If you don’t have kids in the house, why should you put up with ads about kids?

In this age of the internet and big data, it is little surprise that this is now common practice among many advertisers, large and small. Like I said, it’s cheap because the web makes its relatively easy to executive and draw analytics.

In the same way that YouTube or Netflix suggests videos to you based on what you’ve been watching, digital advertisers want to offer you ads they think will interest you based on your behaviours and patterns. If any of this makes you queasy, you’re not alone. Tough.

Thoughtful players are pulling back the curtain to allow people to see how the machine works. But they aren’t asking them if they should turn the machine off.

At Blade, we are:

Do you want your browsing history to influence the ads that you see on websites?

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What should be done to control behavioural advertising?

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Joshua Murray

Fuelled by ideas, opportunity and coffee, Joshua attacks the social media landscape every day with a purpose. His experience in retail, customer service and public relations have combined to give him a 360 degree view of social media for brands and he is committed to helping all of his clients leverage their voice in the social sphere.

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