Some time ago, we discussed the pros and cons of the do-not-track legislation that recently moved through the senate and house. At the time, we suggested that the industry make an effort to form a self-regulating mechanism to prevent tracking problems from getting worse. It was an opinion that many experts shared.
Currently, very little has been done to remove the threat of do-not-track laws, but there have been a few realizations about the actual damage such a law would cause. Over the past year, an increasing (though still very small) number of advertisers have been including the “Ad Option Icon” in their online ads. This icon leads consumers to information about targeted marketing and internet tracking, as well as a way to opt-out of them. According to DoubleVerify, the company responsible for licensing the icon, only 0.002% of consumers are clicking on these icons. Of those, only 10% choose to opt out of behavioral tracking.
This sounds great for marketers, doesn’t it? We can all stop worrying about a tracking ban, because the consumers obviously don’t care in the first place.
Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily the case. For starters, these numbers aren’t as encouraging as they seem. We mentioned above that very few advertisers had included the Ad Option Icon. In total, according to some sources, 60 advertisers have signed on. Add to that the known fact that other typical online banners have a click-through rate just as low as the opt out option, between 0% and 1%, and the theory that consumers lack interest is somewhat deflated. In fact, consumers are very worried about what marketers do with their information, but until more marketers move away from “wait and see” attitudes, most consumers won’t ever know that they have options in the matter.
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