Behavioral targeting is
|“||[t]he practice of collecting and compiling data from and about an individual's activities, interests, preferences, behaviors, or communications for interactive advertising and marketing targeted to the individual, including but not limited to the use of a profile that may be stored or linked to a browser cookie, IP address, or any other persistent user identifiers or tracking methods. Behavioral targeting does not include contextual advertising.||”|
Its goal is to create personalized marketing and sales appeals based on a customer’s unique preferences, behaviors, and psychological profile. It includes the collection and compilation of data from and about an individual’s activities, interests, preferences, behaviors, or communications for interactive advertising and marketing targeted to the individual, including but not limited to the use of a profile that may be stored or linked to a cookie, IP address, or any other persistent user identifiers or tracking methods.
Behavioral targeting has become a core strategy of contemporary marketing, particularly valuable for those companies targeting youth. It is a linchpin of many digital media campaigns — not only online, but also on cell phones, videogames, and other new platforms.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act has created some safeguards in the digital marketing arena, forbidding commercial websites from soliciting personally identifiable information from children under the age of 13 without prior parental permission. But digital marketers have devised a number of ways to engage with individual children without running afoul of the law. Moreover, these protections have left teenagers at the complete mercy of database marketers. As a consequence, the practice has become routine.
- Online Behavioral Tracking and Targeting Concerns and Solutions, at 11.
- See Anthony Rhind, Analesa Shea, Amy Auerbach & Paul Frampton, “Behavioral Targeting,” MCInsight (Dec. 2004). See also “Behavioral Targeting,” iMedia Connection.
- For a discussion of COPPA and its impact, as well as a survey of contemporary digital marketing strategies targeting teens, see Montgomery, Generation Digital, chs. 4 & 5.
- Howard Beales, The Value of Behavioral Targeting (Mar. 24, 2010) (full-text).