Google and Facebook are the two largest personal data trackers and advertisers on the interwebs; both have attracted the eye and ire of politicians, and the end result could be that advertising tracking will be regulated.
That is not enough. Targeted advertising that uses personal data should be illegal. If it happens, Europe will do it first, then other totalitarian countries, then socialist leaning countries, and, hopefully, the good old U.S. of A.
TV? Or, Everywhere?
Google and Facebook may not have sufficient resources to block the anti-tracker forces that are gaining strength around the world. To be fair, targeted advertising is nothing new. Newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations have targeted not-too-specific demographics for decades. The difference between the past and the present is how much personal detail is collected by privacy trackers, and how it can be used in ways that not only persuade but also manipulate.
Rhett Jones says “Targeted TV Ads Should Be Illegal.” That is not enough. All advertising that relies on personal information should be illegal.
Has the past decade of advertising innovation taught us nothing?
Do we really need more devices tracking us and parsing us into ever-smaller quadrants of monetizable products?
Advertisers may disagree, but after having been tracked and stalked incessantly for the past decade by the likes of Google, Facebook, and others of similar ilk, their advertising still sucks. Hey, advertisers, just because I searched Google for CBD oil doesn’t mean I need it by the gallon. Hey, Amazon, just because I bought a scissor jack doesn’t mean I’m starting a collection.
Simply put, targeted advertising is less accurate and effective than advertisers want their customers to believe.
The latest trend for targeted advertising comes from the smart television industry which wants to marry TV content with the smarts in new televisions. Jesse Redniss of WarnerMedia:
It’s important for us to come together as an industry and create connective experiences that matter to fans, and that includes how we use data to inform and broaden spaces like addressable TV
It may be important for the industry, but such tactics are not good for viewers. Relevant advertising on television cannot be as effective or as precise as internet advertising. When I browse, it’s just me staring at the screen. When ads pop up on a TV screen they’re viewable by everyone in the room, and those demographics vary widely.
Targeted advertising based upon personal information beyond socioeconomic status and standard demographics should be illegal.
Rhett Jones on the new wave of television advertising where content meets TV screen:
The networks will likely track your viewing habits and sell them off to third parties. They’ll also likely purchase other data from third parties that they can attach to your IP address or another identifier in order to get extra-granular with the data.
I don’t want that to happen anymore anywhere. Not on my TV, not on my web browser, not within applications. Targeted advertising has limits and needs more limits.
Let’s make this shit illegal before it swallows us whole.