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Most Americans Oppose Behaviorally Targeted Ads

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Most online adults (61%) say they're aware advertisers use their online browsing history to target ads to them, and roughly two-thirds (67%) say they are opposed to such tactics, even if those tactics help keep Web content free, according to a survey from Gallup and USA Today.

Younger Internet users (age 18-34) are more likely to approve of advertisers delivering behaviorally targeted ads to them (34%) and say free Web content is worth any such invasion of privacy (40%).

Similarly, affluent online adults (annual incomes of $75,000+) are also more likely to approve of such ads (35%), despite any invasion of privacy (40%).


Many Americans, however, are amenable to being tracked by advertisers they choose: 57% of online adults age 18-34 and 49% of those earning $75,000+ annually say they would allow advertisers of their choosing to target ads to them.

The oldest (those age 55+) and least affluent Americans (those earning $30,000 or less annually) are most likely to say they'd prefer no advertisers be allowed to target ads to them, 37% and 36%, respectively.

Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.


In December 2010, the US Federal Trade Commission proposed a policy framework designed to balance consumers' privacy interests with those of digital advertisers. The framework suggests a "Do Not Track" mechanism—likely a setting on users' browsers—enabling consumers the choice of whether to allow the collection of data regarding their online searching and browsing activities.

About the data: Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted December 10-12, 2010, with a random sample of 1,019 adults age 18+, living in the continental US.


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