Module 3 Week 3 Discussion Post

September 12, 2015

A perennial controversy in audience effects is behavioral targeting on the Web.  If you are not certain you know what that is, then read this article: (Links to an external site.)

Then read this post: (Links to an external site.)

Choose one of the author’s 3 points in favor of tracking and either challenge it or support it in your discussion this week.


After reading the article this week on dynamic based advertising sourced off user online behavior, I’m not sure my opinion has changed on the subject.

Before I get into a specific argument for behavioral advertising, I believed prior to reading the article, that behavior-based online advertising isn’t unethical, and not that different than previous advertising methods. While this argument is made somewhat in point three in the post, I’m not sure the justification is made with the examples provided.

Overall, I see dynamic, targeted, behavior-based display advertising as smarter advertising, no different that a print magazine’s subscriber base being used to sell ad insertions, or the opportunities from cable and satellite companies to share viewership trends or overall Internet usage, combined with household demographics, to content providers or spot advertisers. My perspective has been it’s smarter, and as I’ll share in my counter to point one, continues to evolve with advertisers and new ad networks.

In point one, “Behavioral targeting makes advertising more relevant, a consumer benefit,” the author provides the context because there is far more advertising space and available impressions than advertisers and various creative executions to populate contextual relevant behavior-based insertions.

However, the number of ad networks has grown in the past four years, as have local execution of display advertising. While I don’t necessarily see my local company on a large, international site, I do see them on local news networks and other sites that use this type of retargeting display advertising. I’m not sure I believe the argument that there aren’t enough advertisers or creative to provide dynamic content.

More and more advertising networks are now including exact product-related display advertisements, showing a consumer the exact product they were viewing. This dynamic content truly based on a user’s viewing behaviors after visiting a site or sites, is beneficial both to the consumer, as it might include a discount or promotion to “close the deal,” and also delivers for the advertiser true, retargeted advertising to highly qualified consumers.

Ultimately, I’m challenged in finding the ethical concerns with this type of advertising. As I’ve shared previously in other classes, I personally assume I’m being tracked all the time. Whether this leads to contextual relevant advertising, or smarter decisions for advertisers on how to attract me as a consumer, I’m okay with it. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the financial performance of this type of advertising on our return on ad spend (ROAS), or because it’s fun to see advertisers make mistakes. Either way, I’d rather see a relevant ad a few times, then a complete uninteresting or irrelevant creative.

Post Tags:

Advertising, Digital Advertising, Dynamic Advertising, MMC6213, Strategic Communications,