You may also want to use other targeting methods because some households have one computer
with multiple users. This can cause the wrong person to be served with the wrong ad. If you’re
considering the average family, for example, you have two parents and maybe a teenager who are
all using the same computer. Mom spends a lot of time online looking at recipes and household
tips to make the job of taking care of her family easier. Dad spends a lot of time looking at sports
scores. And the teenager spends a lot of time downloading music.
When Dad goes to the computer to look up scores, he may find an ad for cookware, because Mom
was the last person to use the computer. Or the teen may be served an ad about a specific type of
gourmet ingredients. The behavioral targeting is working properly, but because there are multiple
users on the same computer, the user ends up seeing the wrong ad.
To some extent, the different profiles enabled by the Windows operating system will help with this.
Cookies are stored according to user profile. But that’s making the assumption that each member
of a family or each different computer user actually does use the profile. It’s not a foolproof system.
And because it’s not, you should consider the possibility that this could skew your behavioral tar-
One more problem, and perhaps the most bothersome issue about behavioral targeting, is the pri-
vacy issue. In today’s market, everyone is screaming about privacy. With the drastic rise in the num-
ber of identity thefts, people are guarding their personal information more closely than in the past.
And those people may take offense at having their online activities monitored in an attempt to pro-
vide the best possible advertisements.
To some, behavioral targeting sounds a bit like adware or spyware, both of which are
methods of collecting information from users without their permission. And adware is
used with the express intent of pushing unwanted advertisements out to users. Behavioral targeting
is designed to better target your advertisements; however, users are aware that their movements are
being tracked, and they agree to that tracking. Behavioral targeting also enables more than just push-
ing relevant advertisements. It also allows an organization to see how it can serve users better accord-
ing to their activities while they are on the organization’s web site.
Legislation can also make it more difficult to monitor people’s behaviors closely without their con-
sent. To ensure that potential customers are not offended before the relationship even begins, many
companies are including opt-in (or out) methods for being included in your marketing efforts (or not).
Study after study has found that your potential customers may be willing to let you track their move-
ments on a couple of conditions. The first is that they know you’re tracking them. This requires put-
ting out some kind of privacy notice that allows those potential users to decide not to allow you to
track their movements. In the case of those who have no interest in being monitored, you’ll have to
find some other way to serve them the right advertisements at the right time.
The second condition is that your potential customers want to see some kind of value from allowing
you to access their personal information. This value could be that you provide higher quality infor-
mation, better quality services, or lower prices (among other things). Whatever the value to your
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