A panel of experts at last week’s Motorola Video User’s conference continued to beat the drum of targeted advertising, while on the same day a study was released reporting the results of a survey entitled “Americans Reject Tailored Advertising.”

The study was conducted by five scholars from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Law & Technology. It was based on telephone interviews with 1,000 adult Internet users in the United States during June and July.

According to the report, “Contrary to what many marketers claim, most adult Americans (66 percent) do not want marketers to tailor advertisements to their interests. Moreover, when Americans are informed of three common ways that marketers gather data about people in order to tailor ads, even higher percentages – between 73 percent and 86 percent – say they would not want such advertising.”

But at the Motorola session, Michael Bologna, director emerging communications with media investment holding company GroupM, said, “If everybody receives the right message, commercial avoidance will go away. Brands like Ford and Coke pay half-a-million dollars for American Idol. In a targeted world, Ford could get the piece of the audience they want for much lower out of pocket. One advertiser’s waste is another advertiser’s gold.”

“Advertisers today are further down the path of understanding how the interactive technology could work for them,” said Mark Kaline, global media director, Kimberly-Clark. “My CPM may be $10 but the effective CPM may be $30 because I’m not reaching the audience.”

“We have to enable detailed collection across platforms, build visibility across platforms,” said Bryan Santangelo, principal architect advertising, Time Warner Cable. “Three things we need: addressability, interactivity and data.”

It’s the data element that concerns consumers. The tailored advertising survey asked respondents how they felt about data gathered from their online browsing as well as data from frequent shopper cards. Video providers are considering using data gathered from set-top-boxes.

One glimmer of hope for targeted advertising is that the survey found Americans like the idea of customizing ads, discounts and coupons for themselves as long as there is complete openness and transparency, “so that individuals can learn exactly how their information is being collected and used, and then exercise control over their data.”

That will be just one more technical challenge for service providers who are betting on SCTE 130 and Canoe and Tru2way to help them evolve their advertising models. (For more, click here and here).

The Motorola panelists agreed that the advertising evolution should happen gradually.

“We’ve got to preserve our model. Don’t disrupt,” said Santangelo. “The second thing that is key is standards in the industry. I think preserve, standardize, then when we can, we start enabling.”

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily


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