Posted August 17, 2011 8:19 am by with 2 comments

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There is a clothing store, Syms, that has forever had the tagline for their advertising “An Educated Consumer Is Our Best Customer”. A noble idea indeed and one that implies that the more a consumer knows about what they are looking to do the better decisions they will make. In the retail industry, that can make a lot of sense and can help the right retailer.

Now, take that same mindset to the behavioral targeting world and there may be some consternation at the idea of a consumer knowing just how much advertisers know about them. This semi-secretive agenda is the game that behavioral advertisers and providers have to play all the time because the perfect world for them would be one where the consumer doesn’t know squat about what an advertiser knows about them and doesn’t care.

A recent Harris study as reported by eMarketer shows that consumers are indeed becoming more educated.

This continued educating of the online consumer is also starting to shape their views of the online advertising world and just how they interact with it. The following chart shows just how widespread the “I’m not giving information to you” mindset is spreading.

As this awareness continues to grow it is likely so will the sentiment to keep things as private as possible even if that privacy is a mere illusion (which let’s face it, it is). Advertisers are going to need to be much more aware of the level of consumer knowledge about just how they get their messages in front of the right people at the right time.

Would you say that in the behavioral targeting world, an educated consumer is the best customer?

  • BT specialist

    Strongly disagree!
    Behavioral targeting is essentialy ment to improve user on-site experience by allowing retailers (or whoever) to match their site’s content to a specific user, saving him\her time and work, it can also be uset to instruct visitors to products they might be interested in but didn’t know were in stock, shall I go on..?
    Behavioral targeting is often frowned upon since it uses user data , many times personal data, and that is totally understandable. I believe that soon enough people will either opt out of this kind of targeting completely (with the help of legislation) or finally comprehend the upside it BT, which is like a sales rep. approaching you in the store, asking you question about your preferences, and if you are willing to comply, change the whole store to products that you are, or might be, interested in. I think this could be great.

    One platform that caught MY attention in personyze (

    BT Specialist

  • I can see the beauty in BT for service and product providers, but as a consumer I find it disquieting. I recently was on looking up lip balm and for days I had lip balm ads showing up! Now I don’t mind the world knowing I have chapped lips, but I don’t want anyone to know I was looking for more personal items. This could become way too invasive. Consumers need more ways to opt out of this sort of tracking.