Behavorial Tracking a User of Search and Display: Hey, FTC. Better Tighten Up Those Proposed self-regulatory rules [Annals of Behavioral Targeting]

Online ad companies, such as Microsoft, have been developing ways of tracking a users journey online (“engagement mapping” of the digital marketing “conversion funnel”) so the share of ad dollars can be more properly apportioned (meaning, it’s not only the ad companies providing the “last-click” that receives all the credit).  We have long been troubled by the stealth tracking and commercial surveillance system being put in place.  Rich media online ad company Eyeblaster has developed a similar service.  Here’s an excerpt from a trade article.  After you read it, think about the FTC during an Obama Administration, and what we should expect it to do under a new majority:

“Eyeblaster has introduced Channel Connect for Search, a service that helps marketers track consumers who click on their display ads but do not transact immediately.

The service places a cookie on a user’s computer that remains on his or her desktop for 30 days. Eyeblaster customers can then identify those individuals when they later convert through search.

“It bridges the gap between display and search advertising,” said Thomas MciIheran, senior media manager with digital media agency Sicola Martin, which is based in Austin, TX. “It’s such valuable information, because there are clients who say display advertising isn’t working, and they think they should stop. This could be eye opening for them, because it shows that display is leading to search, and how much.” …The new service is “able to pinpoint crucial campaign data and draw important insights about the interaction of our search and display ads,” said Harry Case, director of media analytics and technology at Mindshare, in a written statement. “In the end, it provided us with a more comprehensive overview of user behavior.”

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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