Ads That Don't Overstep

  • Reference: HBS-R1801C-E

  • Number of pages: 9

  • Publication Date: Jan 1, 2018

  • Source: HBSP (USA)

  • Type of Document: Article

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Data gathered on the web has vastly enhanced the capabilities of marketers. With people regularly sharing personal details online and internet cookies tracking every click, companies can now gain unprecedented insight into individual consumers and target them with tailored ads. But when this practice feels invasive to people, it can prompt a strong backlash. Marketers today need to understand where to the draw the line. The good news is that psychologists already know a lot about what triggers privacy concerns off-line. These norms--and the authors' research--strongly suggest that firms steer clear of two ad-targeting techniques generally disliked by consumers: using information obtained on a third-party site rather than on the site on which an ad appears, which is akin to talking behind someone's back; and deducing information about people (such as a pregnancy) from analytics when they haven't declared it themselves. If marketers avoid those tactics, use data judiciously, focus on increasing trust and transparency, and offer people control over their personal data, their ads are much more likely to be accepted by consumers and help raise interest in engaging with a company and its products.


Advertising Advertising ethics Consumers Data management Internet marketing Privacy