By Peter Klein | SVP, Media Services
Editor’s note: The following post was originally published in Digiday.
Reality check: The proposed Do Not Track legislation won’t kill online advertising. It may hamper innovation and cause financial hardship for businesses that thrive on online consumer-data tracking, but it won’t kill a $31 billion industry.
Not all see it this way, of course. 33Across CMO Allie Kline recently called on marketers to “fight [the] anti-tracking forces.” It’s a call to action growing with increasing alarm in the digital media and online publishing industries.
That argument, which my MediaWhiz colleagues and I respect, comes about 10 years too late. Some form of anti-tracking legislation is inevitable given the industry’s size and influence. How marketers, publishers and advertisers respond to this legislation will determine whether the industry retains its sizable influence on consumers’ purchasing habits.
Despite my above statements, I am against anti-tracking legislation. It will create numerous barriers for advertisers, brands and agencies. The ability to track consumers’ online purchasing habits and deliver targeted ads based on data collected is a cornerstone of e-commerce.
DNT legislation will make online ads less relevant, forcing potentially unforeseeable changes – not to mention increased costs — in the digital ecosystem. This will adversely affect consumers’ online experiences in ways few proponents are willing to admit. Despite these glaring issues, the enactment of DNT legislation will not destroy online advertising.
While I do not wish to see legislation enacted, I believe it would force marketers to be more creative in their campaigns. It may foster the development of closer connections and opt-ins between brands and consumers. This, in turn, will deliver more detailed customer data and more successful purchase paths. There are just two reasons why DNT won’t kill online advertising. The first has to do with the industry’s continual innovation. The second requires marketers to take a hard look at their own actions.