BKV Attends Ad Tech

By Allison Kolber in Media Strategy on November 21st, 2011

A couple of weeks ago...

I headed to Ad Tech with fellow BKVer and SVP Jana Ferguson.  Goal: get other industry insiders take on all the latest happenings in Digital Media—search, display, mobile, social, email, and affiliate.

The first speaker we heard was Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC.  The topic of his speech was the seemingly omnipresent ‘Do Not Track’ legislation and advertiser’s and publisher’s need to implement better disclosure on data capture and consumer tracking.  During his speech Mr. Leibowitz referred to the online ‘trackers’, yes, that’s all of our favorite data partners, as Cyberazzi.  A tad aggressive?  Maybe.

The next comment is what got me though—the do not track legislation was equated to the now, beloved by all, ‘Do Not Call’ act.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I see these things as very, distinctly, different. Why is this? The ‘Do Not Call’ act stopped outbound phone advertisers from soliciting you without your permission.  Outbound phone advertisers are annoying.  Very annoying.  Your phone would ring and ring off the hook and it was no one you even wanted to speak to!  Egregious!!  We, the much more modest online advertisers do no such thing. Our ads do not shout at you.  For the most part they do not jump out of pages, shut down your online experience or even make noise at all.  They certainly do not interrupt you during your family dinner.  In fact, they do something positive for you!!

First, they get you free content.  Remember that NYT.com subscription you used to pay for?  Now free.  All those writers have to make some  money and this is the way.  Next, Instead of showing you ads for irrelevant brands or irrelevant products you could care less about, we give you a customized and personalized online experience.  Remember that jacket you saw on Bloomingdales.com?  Didn’t have it in your size?  Well here is another, similar jacket for the same price!  Remember that holiday card you wanted to order but put off until you could find the right photo?  Wait-here’s a 20% off coupon!!

Obviously not all advertisers are doing their targeting that well but you get the drift.  We want you, our customer, to have an even better online experience seeing messages from brands and companies that you like and could have a relationship with.

I can agree with Mr. Leibowitz’s perspective that collecting any PII information is wrong and certainly crosses a very fine line from happy to harry but also know that we, as advertisers, don’t care so much about your name, address, etc. as we do about selling product and reaching just the right people at the right time to do that.  Hey, I’m not going to complain about a special offer coming my way from a website I’ve already been engaged with.  In fact, I think that makes me a savvy consumer.  What’s your take?