Behavioral Targeting Merges with Social Media Marketing for Individual Profiling [Annals of Behavioral Targeting]

As a growing number of people recognize (and taking advantage of), behavioral targeting is part of the social media marketing business model.  Such an approach illustrates why policymakers across the globe must address what is a largely stealth commercial surveillance system.  It has implications for the collection of data on individuals by government as well [my bold].

Here’s a excerpt from a recent announcement by WPP owned 24/7 Real Media Inc.:  “the leading global digital marketing company, has begun a pilot program to integrate social media engagement metrics into its behavioral targeting application. These social media engagement metrics will augment existing behavioral targeting attributes to drive robust advertising response and conversion.  Working with companies such as NuConomy, an innovator in social media measurement, select 24/7 Real Media advertisers are now leveraging non-traditional metrics such as comments, ratings, video plays, and link sharing to customize advertising, increase responsiveness and drive purchases.”

and Nuconomy says that:
By tracking engagement and site activity at the individual user level, NuConomy’s module automatically builds rich behavioral profiles, or interest maps, for each user – such as who is posting comments on bikes or sharing music recommendations with friends. This level of detail gives publishers a deeper understanding of user behavior so they can optimize their sites and marketing messages for different audience segments, even different individuals.”

PS:  We see that the folks over at the AT&T, Yahoo, AOL, etc. backed Future of Privacy Forum has engaged WPP to help its new research effort designed “to develop a variety of [privacy] notices that will resonate with consumers and begin to test them with users.”

We suggest that as its initial effort, the Forum require WPP to make public all the various methods it uses to collect data from consumers.  Such a list includes WPP’s ad networks, online games, mobile, cable broadband platforms, social media, etc.  That would provide the research initiative a good place to begin, if its effort is to be taken seriously.

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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