Better Advertising’s “Power Eye” lets users opt-out of targeting

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When advertising on the web, targeting is everything. There’s lots of data out there – and for marketers, it only makes sense to use that data to target ads that appeal to users who are more likely to buy.

Targeting has been going on for years – from the manual targeting of PPC campaigns to the recent introduction of Google retargeting, it’s become increasingly easy for small businesses and enterprise-level companies to deliver their messages to consumers who are more likely to buy.

But there’s an element of ‘creepiness’ to targeting, too, that revolves around privacy. In the U.S., we’re particularly aware of privacy concerns – as evidenced by the recent Facebook privacy policy uproar. In many people, the idea of targeted ads evokes images of the hyper-intrusive world seen in movies like Minority Report, where every wall in a city can be turned into an ad to specifically appeal to your preferences.

Based on these concerns (and the fact that Congress now appears interested in the matter), Better Advertising has developed an ad delivery system that will let users see exactly which of their behaviors led to that ad’s display. What’s more, consumers can opt-out of targeted ads using the system.

Now, the merits of a consumer opting out of a targeted ad system are debatable – for instance, is it better to have random ads, or ads that should in some way interest you? But whether it makes sense for a consumer or not, it appears this change in internet advertising is coming.

For anyone in the internet marketing world, this shift towards transparency and opt-out ads will be a big thing. This system isn’t readily available yet, but if similar systems become the norm, you could easily lose the ability to advertise by serving up irrelevant ads that add no value to a user’s experience.

Your best defense against this is to make your ads timely, appealing, and relevant to your target market. Unfortunately, there’s a thin line to walk – you also need to make sure your ads don’t appear too involved, as no one wants to think they’re being watched by Big Brother. Ultimately, however, if you provide a good user experience, your target market is more likely to let your ads through.

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