In today’s post, I want to focus on personalised advertising which has become a popular but highly contested digital marketing technique.
Personalised advertising collects user data through cookies gathered from your search history. With this information, online ads can be targeted to individuals who are assumed to have an interest in the product. The technique is designed to increase ROI by focusing the ad’s reach on high-potential customers – and it’s successful, check out some of the results here at Idomoo (2017) and V12 (2018).
Branded as ‘creepy’ by over 70% of Australian consumers (Smart Company, 2018) the extent of this creep factor suggests that the ethical implications need to be considered.
Online touch points such as visiting a website or liking a post are chased up with a bombardment of reminder advertisements which seem to follow you around from site to site. Customer experience platform InMoment (2018) revealed we “still have a ways to go before personalisation in marketing is viewed positively by customers”.
It is arguable that individual agency is at risk due the manipulative nature of the personalised ads which are almost inescapable on many popular websites. While people can remove themselves from these platforms to avoid the ads, so much of our lives are online that this may not be a viable option.
It is important to consider the disconnect many businesses assume exists between ethical choices and the effect on their bottom line. In this case, that link is made abundantly clear in a study by Choice which found 40% of consumers are put off by technology that collects their personal data.
What are your thoughts, is it morally wrong?