Behavioral advertising: So far we’re not opting out

By Anne Collier

Online advertisers have been testing US Web users’ tolerance for behavioral advertising (tracking our online activities or behaviors and targeting us with ads based on that automated tracking), and so far not many of us have been bothered by it. “Since last year, ad organizations in the US have been running a campaign designed to convince Congress and the FTC that self-regulation is good enough,” Advertising Age reports. [In Europe, Web sites now have to get permission from users before putting Web activity-tracking “cookies” on their computers.] “The centerpiece of the campaign is the ‘Ad Option Icon’ placed in some ads, pointing to information about behavioral targeting and offering a way to opt out of it,” Ad Age continues. But so far, few users have chosen to click and opt out. “The click-through rate is just 0.002% and of those people who do follow the link, only 10% opt out of the ads,” DoubleVerify is cited as finding. Another company that’s providing the opt-out service, Evidon, “is seeing click-through of 0.005% with only 2% opting out from 30 billion impressions.” Not that users click on ads much, but it’s a start at quantifying their concerns about behavioral advertising. How about you? Do you like seeing ads aimed at your personal interests, or do you find them creepy? Feel free to comment!

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