Consumer awareness and the ethics and privacy in ad retargeting

Earlier this semester I proposed a long and ambiguous idea relating to the different technologies that digital marketers and advertisers are using today as well as hypothesising a few scenarios that may result. Since then I have refined my area of research to focus closely on ad retargeting online, consumers awareness of it and their opinions as to whether they believe the practice is ethical or not.

Pixel based ad retargeting works when a potential customer views a product or service online but a sale is not converted. An advertiser uses a retargeting pixel placed on the page viewed and using an algorithm allows a brand to later be display the product on future websites that the a customer then visits or even in their social feeds. The success of this type of remarketing is that it allows brands to target customers that showed an interest in their product and are far more likely to take an action when advertised to in the future. To get my desired results, my research will be conducted in 4 stages.

  1. Background research of academic sources relating to the retargeting, ethics and privacy.
  2. Background research of hard data and statistics that show insights into digital marketing and advertising practices in the industry and consumer awareness of these practices
  3. A survey to be completed by BCM 212 students as a preliminary exercise that will reveal some surface level insights around advertising awareness, online use and online purchasing habits.
  4. A focus group that will be conducted after the results of the survey have been analysed and will attempt to gain more personal insights and discussion regarding ethics and privacy in retargeting.

In addition to the primary research I conduct through a survey and focus group,  secondary sources will systematically reviewed and include papers and research conducted by academics in business and marketing communications, the ‘Four Corners’ documentary: “Cracking the Code”.

Using these resources and the primary research I conduct, I hope to learn more about the awareness of this form of advertising and whether the people who are affected by it are accepting of it or see it as an invasion of their privacy.

If you would like to participate in my online survey, you can do so here:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s