Your Visitors Appreciate Targeted Ads, Really

Despite all the privacy concerns of late, online shoppers appreciate the benefits of personalized and targeted promotions.

According to an Avenue A | Razorfish study, some 72% of online shoppers find personalized recommendations helpful. In the chart below, only 34% were concerned with privacy -- and that means 66% don't have these concerns when receiving recommendations.

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We do live in a capitalist society, and see ads all day long. Also we are all shoppers, whether literally shopping or not at that moment. So it doesn't surprise me that so many people appreciate promotions related to their interests or prior purchases.

Publishers and advertisers should gain comfort from these findings. While it would be good to ask these same questions about ads versus recommendations, I think it's fair to say that targeted ads won't be a problem for most people. They might really see them as useful instead.

This week, AOL said they will allow individuals to "opt out" of their ad targeting services, which are based on surfing patterns alone. If you extrapolate from this study, then very few people will actively opt out. We'll wait and see.

About the author

Debby Richman is senior VP at Collarity, a community-based search technology company. She is also the social and behavioral marketing correspondent for the SEW Blog. Debby has over 20 years' experience in online services, spanning entrepreneurial and blue-chip organizations. Most recently, she led consumer products at LookSmart and launched their vertical search business. Debby also grew early-stage businesses as VP/GM, About Web Services (About.com) and as VP, Overstock.com.