Do-Not-Track: A New Era in Digital Marketing
Adam Lehman of Adage.com recently covered the changing digital marketing landscape in “How Digital Marketers Will Survive the Coming ‘Do-Not-Track’ World.” Essentially, marketers stand at a crossroads. Lehman writes:
On the one hand, publishers and marketers are finally gaining access to truly integrated, cross-platform data and marketing solutions…on the other hand, we are seeing the corresponding backlash to these advances in data-driven marketing – in the form of a privacy tools arms race.
This issue is especially relevant in light of Microsoft’s “Do-Not-Track” debacle. Microsoft experienced a big amount of backlash with the FTC and ad industry regarding its decision to ship its next version of Internet Explorer with the “Do Not Track” option turned on by default. From a user’s perspective, this is a pretty attractive move because it automatically provides a shroud of rare online anonymity on the public level.
At the same time, anonymity is pretty hard to come by once users start delving into private networks. As Mark Simon writes on Search Insider:
After all, when you’re on Facebook, you consent to being tracked by Facebook; the same is true when you’re on Microsoft’s Xbox Live network on ITunes. Like it or not, we’re moving into an era in which most of the tracking will occur across private, not public networks.
The DNT controversy brings to light the fact that companies “will need to accept that some valuable data sets will now be off-limits,” Lehman writes. “In practical terms, companies will need to identify and maximize the many first-party data sets and transferable third-party data segments they can tap in a post-DNT default world.”
But will DNT result in an exodus of consumers pining for true online anonymity? From a realistic standpoint, no. Inherent trade-offs exist when people participate in a digital economy fueled by data.
The bottom line: users should “take responsibility for what they choose to do and share,” and companies should invest in tools that can capitalize on the “broad array of data sources still available to them.”