Most Americans dislike behavioral advertising: survey

A man surfs the web at an internet cafe
A man surfs the web at an internet cafe. Privacy advocates have long criticized behavioral advertising and a new survey suggests that contrary to the claims of marketers, most Americans don't like it either.

Privacy advocates have long criticized behavioral advertising and a new survey suggests that contrary to the claims of marketers, most Americans don't like it either.

The survey of 1,000 adult Americans was organized by professors at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania who published their findings on Wednesday.

Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said they do not want marketers to tailor advertisements to their interests.

The disapproval rate is even higher -- between 73 percent and 86 percent -- when Americans are informed of three common ways that marketers track their activities online and offline, the study found.

Behavioral targeting involves tracking a user's activities, generally through the use of files known as cookies, and then tailoring advertisements based on those actions.

Marketers have long argued that it provides users with ads that are more relevant to their interests.

The survey found that younger Americans -- those between ages of 18 to 24 years old -- were less likely to object to tailored advertising than older ones but 55 percent said they do not want tailored advertising.

Eighty-six percent of the young adults said they do not want tailored if it is the result of following their behavior on websites other than the one they are visiting.

Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said they "definitely" would not allow themselves to be followed on websites even if it was being done anonymously while 19 percent said they would "probably" not allow it.

Ninety-two percent said there should be a law that requires websites and companies to delete all stored information about them.

"It is hard to escape the conclusion that our is tapping into a deep concern by Americans that marketers' tailoring of ads for them and various forms of tracking that informs those personalizations are wrong," the authors of the study said.

"Exactly why they reject behavioral targeting is hard to determine," they said. "There may well be several reasons. One may be a general antagonism to being followed without knowing exactly how or with what effects.

"Americans may not want their behavior on one site to somehow affect the interaction with subsequent sites," they said.

"The rejection of even anonymous behavioral targeting by large proportions of Americans may mean that they do not believe that data about them will remain disconnected from their personally identifiable information," they said.

"Whatever the reasons, our findings suggest that if Americans could vote on behavioral targeting today, they would shut it down," they added.

(c) 2009 AFP


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Citation: Most Americans dislike behavioral advertising: survey (2009, September 30) retrieved 18 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-09-americans-behavioral-advertising-survey.html
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Sep 30, 2009
Honestly, as much as we don't like it, a lot of free services are add supported. Like all the Google services, even iPhone apps. I can stomach a few behavioral adds here and there if it means I get something in return. I love my Gmail, Google Voice and Google Docs.

At the same time I can see why people hate them. I hate adds, but when I think about it I understand what they're there, so it's just a matter of accepting the fact that adds are here to stay.

Now, telemarketers - those should burn in hell for eternity.

Sep 30, 2009
Here's the deal. It's who's in control. I go into a store, I look around. It's my choice of store, my choice of what I want to look at.

I start to get interested? Sure, I know a salesperson is going to try to make the product look good.

But there's a big difference between that, and every shyster on the street figuring he can con me into buying something. Very possibly something I really didn't need, wasn't thinking about, won't use, maybe can't afford.

If I could filter salespeople? Ha. Refuse to talk to those who have a bad reputation? Refuse to talk to those who have no technical knowledge of the product? Who learned the spiel they are handing me last week in the company training session? I'd be all for it. So where's the software that protects my interests?

Oct 01, 2009
I don't see why this study was necessary. We don't like being tracked, we know this. If you're going to convince the marketing experts to stop doing it, you need to find an adverse effect FOR THEM.

How about asking the same participants, "Knowing this, would you install an adblocking plugin into your web browser to remove all the targeted advertisements from these websites?"

They'd answer, "Hell yes! Where can I get one for my TV!?"

JDB
Oct 01, 2009
"Here's the deal. It's who's in control. I go into a store, I look around. It's my choice of store, my choice of what I want to look at."

I don't believe that can force you to click on the ad, enter your payment information, and force you to buy the product...

My issue with this is it's actually over-generalized; I tell a web-site I'm male and I get dozens of sports related ads, even if I've never indicated any sports interest in any of my online activity...
But it IS better than surfing through web-sites with ads for Maxi pads, which I'm slightly less likely to use.

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