Advertisers to Face Questions on Privacy

Targeted advertising has become a hot button topic in the social advertising industry. New advertising models have been introduced to target users based on their gender, age and interests as well as tools that target based on their online behavior. Caroline McCarthy posted today about a new eMarketer study released called “Behavioral Targeting Attitudes: The Privacy Issue.”

The new report examines consumers’ attitudes toward targeted advertising and the data being collected about them online. The conclusion is that only 23 percent of users are comfortable with having their online behavior tracked for the purpose of serving more relevant advertisements online. I’m not quite sure whether or not this information is surprising or not but it definitely emphasizes that advertisers need to do a better job of educating consumers about their advertising programs.

I cover privacy issues on this site on a regular basis but readers of this blog are more educated than the average consumer. Just the other day I ran into someone who had heard about the risk presented by Facebook applications through a Washington Post article. He said that he no longer installs the applications. Clearly mainstream media coverage will assist in educating consumers about privacy issues and advertising practices.

For the time being we’ll have to expect many users to be uneducated on the issues leaving the discussion to industry professionals. Not exactly the type of discussion that I’d hope to see but I guess it will have to do for now!