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Personalized Ads Pack Bigger Punch

US ad viewers want to be targeted, but privacy concerns linger.

February 5, 2009

If retailers are struggling to bring in customers in a rough economic climate, getting personal might be the answer.

According to ChoiceStream, 41% of US Internet users surveyed said they paid more attention to advertising that was personalized. And nearly the same proportion of respondents (39%) said they were more willing to click on such personalized ads.

US Internet Users Who Are More Willing to Click on Ads if They Are Personalized, by Amount Spent Online*, 2008 (% of respondents in each group)

Given consumers’ privacy concerns when it comes to behavioral and other forms of online targeting, marketers would be well-advised to tread carefully. Forty-five percent of Internet users surveyed in a 2008 Harris Interactive study said they were uncomfortable with Website policies that allow behavioral targeting.

Some 57% of respondents in a TNS Global and TRUSTe poll indicated they were worried about advertisers using their browsing history to serve them relevant ads.

US Adult Internet Users' Attitudes toward Advertisers Using Their Browsing History for Advertising Purposes, February 2008 (% of respondents)

Still, Internet users respond to personalization, and according to ChoiceStream, the more money viewers spend online, the more likely they are to respond.

“Today’s online consumers understand the value of online advertising and know retailers have information about their shopping behavior that can make their experience more relevant,” said ChoiceStream president and CEO Steve Johnson.

eMarketer estimates that $1.1 billion will be spent on behaviorally targeted ads in 2009.

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