Protecting Privacy Online from so-called `Smart’ Ads that “Gleans Information about the Consumer”

As we have explained to policymakers, they also must address how online marketing applications threaten consumer privacy.   The rise of so-called smart ads that learn about your interests and behaviors, and then makes you special offers, involves the use of sophisticated digital techniques such as rich media. As this week’s Performance Insider on “Add Direct Response to Get More out of Rich-Media Ads” explains:

Ad delivery technologies further enhance direct response success by leveraging dynamic ad generation to produce a custom rich media ad that is optimized based on specific levers — products or creative elements of interest to the consumer combined with behavioral, demographic, geo and other targeting. By creating an on-the-fly, ultra-relevant ad with in-banner key response activities, marketers will drive greater interaction, response and conversion.

Rich media and online marketing company Pointroll (owned by Gannett) explains how the use of its “tailgating” technologies expand the capability of interactive multimedia ads:

Rich media ads are attention-grabbing, powerful, and engaging. They can encourage consumers to buy products and direct them to the advertiser’s retail stores or website via click-through to make the purchase. But until now, they were not a true end-to-end solution. Now, through a partnership with tailgate, pointroll offers secure ecommerce capabilities directly within rich media ad units. With pointroll ads powered by tailgate technology, consumers can purchase goods and services directly within the ad unit, without ever leaving the site they’re browsing. Tailgate can enable any credit card-based ecommerce transaction. Possible applications include purchasing movie tickets, music, ring tones and retail goods; and making political or charitable donations…Advanced analytics – integrated reporting, analysis & research tools provide an in-depth look at campaign performance and visibility into consumer behavior and purchase patterns.

Pointroll’s Ad Control product adds this dimension:  Create, deliver and measure unlimited creative and messaging combinations with dynamic ads that influence the right consumer at the right time with PointRoll’s AdControl.  Create: AdControl enables advertisers and their agencies to easily produce infinite ad combinations by mixing and matching various creative elements and dynamically generating a unique ad in real time. Connect: AdControl seamlessly leverages each possible creative combination and marries it with information known about the user to deliver the most relevant, customized ad experience based on characteristics such as geo, site, placement, or custom defined variables…AdControl gleans information about the consumer and turns this knowledge into a customized ad; ensuring the most relevant creative is served to each user…By mapping user characteristics to creative elements, AdControl can produce the right ad for the right consumer.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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