The article linked above is from the Ad Age website, introducing The Digital Advertising Alliance’s new campaign. It is an effort from the industry to persuade the public of the benefits of behaviorally targeted advertising or, in laymen’s, ads based on a user’s Internet browsing.
As I read, there was an ad for cell phone services at the top of the page. It caught my eye immediately because I spent most of last week querying providers about their services and pitting them against each other. But that was last week. This week, I’ve already committed to a contract and I’d really prefer not to be reminded of my newly signed shackles by Verizon or At&T and especially not by Boost Mobile. Lucky for me, I know what to do. I already watched the video introducing the Ad Choices icon that appears in the corner of most ads now and the first thing I thought was, “Sweet! Now I know how to get rid of those!” I was a fool. This is the ad industry. I should have known better.
The Ad Choices icon (triangles are so hot right now) does not go away and neither do the ads themselves because that is how websites keep running, people. Buuuuut it is a user friendly addition to browser ads that allows each of us to opt out of targeted advertising or adjust which of our interests are used for marketing purposes.
Did you know that you risk identity theft every time you register with a school, employer, or swipe your ATM card? But checking your account balances daily (and yes, we mean, online) will help you catch abnormal activity and prevent further damage. Unless you were thinking you’d just avoid the Internet altogether … Yeah, we couldn’t do it either.
Had we been given some input on the DAA campaign (what’s up, guys? Seedwell!), we would have focused more on the persuasive similarities and differences (like control and relativity) between online ads and all other forms of marketing.
Browsing history – how different is that from the shows you watch on which channel and at what time? If, for example, you’re watching the late night dirty stuff, you’re gonna get late night dirty ads. It was just an example, sheesh! But with that nifty little three-sided guy, you can scoff and say to yourself “I’m not interested in such trash!” before changing your preferences or turning Ad Choices off by opting out.
Unlike commercial breaks, junk mail and telemarketer calls, the user is in control of their browser ads. They can also clear their browsing history regularly and delete their cookies in order to be a smart web surfer who is even more in control of their privacy. Your search history stares at you while you sleep … So poke its damn eyes out. Safari’s not going to do it for you.
That is, unless you’re like me, and – gasp! – you actually like having your preferences remembered sometimes. You like your ads to apply to your interests; you even like your browser knowing from page to page what you’re trying to get done. A consumer’s actions speak louder than words and as the web becomes a more personal experience everyday, many users actually enjoy the streamlined capabilities more than they abhor releasing their information.
When I clean out my e-mail box, I sift through a lot of ads. Most are immediately trashed, but some I read. If I read them, they’re not junk. And which ads do I read? Well, the one’s I’ve requested of course. Local coupons, airline deals, doggie tuxedos etc. Whether you choose paranoia (what exactly have you been searching, anyway?) or personalized ads, there will still always be advertisements. The way we see it, this is the most effective in cost and content that consumer, advertiser and manufacturer have ever been, but the Ad Choices campaign may still have a ways to go to convince everyone else.