Is Behavioral Advertising No Longer Cool?

It looks like one of the big issues on the Web over the next few years will be user privacy; specifically, how much personal data websites and marketers are allowed to collect, and how much users are allowed to keep to themselves.

Most likely a result of numerous (and serious) complaints about Facebook's many privacy issues in the past, more and more 'Net users are paying closer attention to what data websites are using to track them, and taking more of an initiative to keep as much of their personal data to themselves as possible.

Online privacy services provider TRUSTe recently looked further into this topic and today released a report showing that an increasing number of consumers are taking action to protect their online privacy.

When the company studied this last year, it found that 27 percent of US adults (18 and over) would opt-out of online behavioral advertising due to privacy concerns. This year, that number has almost doubled, with 50 percent of adults choosing to opt-out.

In addition, 76 percent of respondents said they don't let companies share their personal information with a third party, 90 percent will use browser controls (including deleting cookies) to protect their privacy, and 58 percent said they generally don't like behavioral advertising. All of these numbers were an increase from last year's report.

For now, this issue isn't in the general public consciousness just yet, but as the numbers indicate, it's getting there very quickly. Fortunately for marketers, this provides some time to try to come up with incentives for users to want to opt-in, or at least ways to provide a comparable experience to those consumers who don't want to share their private information.