Home  › Marketing › Strategies

Why IE's Do Not Track Default Setting Is Bad News for Advertisers

  |  August 28, 2012   |  Comments

How changes in private browsing settings may affect remarketing campaigns.

Ah, the Internet and privacy. Two things that can never seem to get along together all that well. From Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy chirping in 1999(!) that "You already have zero privacy; get over it" to Mark Zuckerberg more recently stating (with a straight face, no less) that "Our work to improve privacy continues today," the issue of keeping our information and browsing histories to ourselves remains, well, an issue.

But that could be changing, at least as privacy relates to the searches we make and the websites we frequent. The newest version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, IE 10, will come with its Do Not Track setting as the default. (This is opposed to Chrome, for example, which gives users the "incognito" private-browsing option, but doesn't launch automatically.) And judging by how the general public views cookie tracking, Microsoft's IE decision will likely be warmly received by all. Oh, except by advertisers.

By not sharing website browsing information with advertisers, brands will lose the ability to remarket products that potential buyers have demonstrated a previous interest in. Remarketing is one of the most effective forms of online advertising, and knowing who to remarket to and what to remarket to them is extremely valuable data. Many digital advertisers get their highest return on investment (ROI) through remarketing, particularly when luring (OK, "suggesting") that previous visitors return to their site through special discounts or offers. Depending on whom you ask, this is either an annoying invasion of privacy or a welcome message that speaks to a specific, demonstrated need.

I value my privacy on the Internet as much as anyone, but web-goers will be losing out if they switch to private browsing all of the time. Ads that remarket products based on an existing known interest aren't there to be creepy stalkers; rather, they are there to help remind someone who still might be considering a purchase. Sure, we can get a little annoyed when we stop short of buying a new set of golf clubs and then see ads for those clubs pop up on every website we visit for the next two weeks. But at least it's relevant advertising, and, for a lot of us, the remarketing effort will eventually end up in a sale. By taking your web browsing off the radar, you'll find yourself transported to the Internet of yesteryear with random ad after random ad touting products you have no interest in. To me, targeted information about products is more worthwhile than irrelevant products I have no need for. I'd wager that most people - whether they admit it to themselves or not - would prefer a tailored message than a constant flow of advertisements that don't hit home.

It will be interesting to see how advertisers and brands react to the uptick in private browsing. One solution websites might try is asking visitors for permission to remarket to them - although the visitor would then have to alter her cookie settings for your site, should she agree. In the short term, it's probably most reasonable to predict that Do Not Track will affect marketing budgets, since there figures to be fewer clicks to put money toward. We could see dollars being shifted to search network campaigns, social media endeavors, or just being cut altogether.

If you're an advertiser, how do you think changes in private browsing settings will affect remarketing campaigns? If you're a consumer, would you rather be served remarketed ads based on your browsing history, or keep your privacy and have (probably) less relevant ads?

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!


Jeff Lerner

Jeff Lerner, vice president, digital media, joined full service digital marketing firm Prime Visibility in 2011 after spending seven years at Google working across all digital media platforms. At Google, Jeff managed the digital advertising spend of the top TV networks and sports leagues, including NBC, ABC, ESPN, the NFL, and Major League Baseball and was responsible for the launch of the advertising sales team in the newly-created Google Brazil office. During his tenure at Google, Jeff has been the 
recipient of numerous awards, including the Sales Excellence Award, Industry Expertise Award, and the Google Impact Award. Jeff holds a BA in sports marketing from George Washington University.

Prime Visibility is owned by blinkx (BLNX), the world's largest and most advanced video search engine, with headquarters in San Francisco and the U.K.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.


    • Sales Planner
      Sales Planner (Verve ) - New YorkAbout Verve   Verve is the leader in location powered mobile advertising. We manage one of the largest mobile...
    • Systems Analyst/Support
      Systems Analyst/Support (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreIRIS (Increased Revenue Intuitive Software ) is proprietary software that helps marketers...
    • Client Services Support Specialist
      Client Services Support Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - Delray Beach OVERVIEW:  This position requires a highly motivated and resourceful individual...