INside Performance Marketing
Top 50 Industry Players from 2017
Targeted advertising leaves sour taste for majority of consumers

Targeted advertising leaves sour taste for majority of consumers


Over half (53%) of those polled in TRUSTe’s Consumer Privacy Attitudes and Business Implications research were averse to behavioural advertising. An additional 38% of the 1,027 UK adults polled were non-plussed by the technology, while 9% actively favoured the method of performance marketing.

So, why are so many consumers turned off by behavioural advertising? A clue is given later on in the survey results: when respondents were asked whether they believed personally identifiable information was attached to such ads, 42% thought that this was the case, compared to 44% being unsure and 14% knowing it was based on anonymous data.

Consumers comfortable with advertising

On the positive side, TRUSTe’s research showed that only 35% of respondents are uncomfortable with targeted ads, whereas 35% are happy and 20% are unsure. It means that while 53% are antipathetic towards behavioural marketing, nearly 20% are either comfortable or simply unsure about the media form.

It’s clear that web users must be educated about how targeted advertising is a relatively harmless and anonymous way of funding the website that they’re browsing. The survey confirms this should be a priority for the online community: happiness with the behavioural advertising medium almost doubles from 17% to 30% when consumers are assured that personally identifiable information is not used.

Consumers want to see adverts from brands they trust. Given the option, 59% of survey respondents would choose to see online ads only from online stores and brands that they’re confident in. So, brands and site owners should also be taking responsibility for introducing a level of trust with those consumers who hold ill-feeling towards targeted ads.

EDAA gives consumers trust

The European Digital Advertising Alliance is a self-regulatory programme behavioural advertising. The Consumer Privacy Attitudes and Business Implications found the EDAA program to impact on feelings towards the advertiser. Of those who responded to the survey, 32% were somewhat more positive and 10% were much more positive.


Notice and choice options for behavioural advertising are pushed as part of the EDAA scheme, so it’s hardly surprising that consumers prefer to do business with companies who take steps to protect their privacy online. Over half (58%) wholehearted agreed with the statement, while 37% somewhat agreed.

Continue the conversation

Got a question or comment – tweet Simon simonnholland or comment on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN.

Simon Holland

Simon Holland

Simon is the news and research reporter at Existem. Previously a technology journalist, he now spends his time investigating both future and developing trends in performance marketing whilst producing editorial content for

Read more from Simon

You may also like…