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Is Time Up for Online Behavioural Advertising? Credico UK Investigates

In light of new research into what customers think about online advertising methods, Credico UK has spoken out on why they believe there could be a question mark over the future of behavioural advertising. 

Behavioural advertising is a technique used by brands to present targeted adverts based on people’s web browsing habits. A brand using behavioural advertising will collect Information such as the pages an individual has browsed on its website, the time spent on the site, and the recency of the visit, to display adverts elsewhere on the web for products that cater to that individual’s interests.

Field marketing specialist Credico UK can recognise the benefits of this ever-evolving marketing method. People are bombarded with advertising every time they use the internet, so much so, they automatically tune the majority of what they see out. ‘If ads are going to be present, it makes sense for them to appeal to a person’s interests. This has, over the last decade proved to be a crucial tool for retargeting potential consumers who visit a website, but don’t make a purchase the first time around’ explains Credico UK.

However, the firm is keen to point out that behavioural advertising is something of a double-edged sword. ‘In the current climate consumers are growing increasingly concerned about their privacy online, and are acutely aware of who they are giving their personal information too.’ States Credico UK. ‘behavioural advertising may be considered unnecessarily invasive, and in some instances, the technology is simply not sophisticated enough to make consumers feel safe.’

For example, behavioural advertising is unable to differentiate between users on a shared device. This means that novice internet users risk leaving a trail of their web browsing habits when using public devices, such as those in internet cafes or libraries. While the risk of this information being used against them is minuscule, it is still raising questions about the security of targeting technologies.

Furthermore, Credico UK has learned of a recent study from the University of Illinois, which found that the perception of risk far outweighs the benefit of behavioural advertising. ‘the study found that college students were likely to avoid this kind of advertising due to privacy concerns, even after they were made aware of how the technology works. It’s worth bearing in mind that this is the same generation that holds no qualms in sharing details of their lives on social media.’ Explains Credico UK ‘To us, this highlights that online privacy is a highly complex and subjective issue and brands need to consider the needs of their audiences before tracking online behaviour’.

As the margin between the cost and benefit of behavioural advertising decreases, Credico UK is urging brands to consider the potential impact this medium could have on the consumer experience. ‘The key is to be transparent, Brands need to make it clear that they are using this technology on their sites, and make opting out of this process clearer. Targeted adverts will not appeal to everyone, so it’s vital to have multiple touch points, and consistently have people on the ground to meet with customers and offer a tailored brand experience in person too.’