Adtech: the end is near?
Meanwhile, it looks as if advertisers are getting the
picture on privacy tech, quickly. Erin Griffith writes,
if things keep going the way
they have, many adtech startups may
find their products are suddenly useless. (via Andre's
Privacy tech is rapidly going beyond "Do Not Track" to more sophisticated approaches—browser developers are finally fixing some of the bad assumptions about third-party content that the industry made back during the late-90s dot-com frenzy. (If you'd like a user-friendly preview of where the browser is going, try Ghostery. Privacy tech for people who aren't necessarily privacy nerds, just willing to put up with a little inconvenience.)
Why all the mainstream attention
to privacy now? We can probably thank retargeting.
When a pair of shoes that you looked at on one site
starts "stalking you" across apparently independent
sites, it's hard to miss. Alan Pearlstein writes,
We collect a lot of anonymous data about every web
surfer. No need to shove that fact in the consumer's
face, it only freaks them out.
Pearlstein recommends taking a subtle approach, but it looks like the freak-out is already in full effect. Erin Griffith has it right: the industry needs to get ready for a post-adtech environment.
Yes, the adtech scene is still breaking new ground in creepiness and failing to understand that it's creepy at all. But it's starting to sound like the kind of consensus chatter that comes before the end. It's on the way out. And what's bad news for adtech is good news for advertising proper.
So why worry about advertising
at all? One study by Ferdinand Rauch, Advertising
and consumer prices, concludes,
aggregate effect is informative, which
means that, on average, advertising decreases
consumer prices. Advertising is good for the
economy, overall. At some point we'll be thankful
that browser makers have made the right moves to save
it from creepy adtech.