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Opt-in Advertising-You’ve said yes whether you know it or not

By August 7, 2009Advertising, Blog

The future of advertising rapidly moving towards a highly targeted, opt-in system. But why would consumers want to opt-in to receive advertisements. The answer is content. Media Futurist Gerd Leonhard coined the word “contvertising” which attempts to sum up this concept. The future is also about value added ideas. It’s not enough for companies to just show you what they have to offer but also provide some sort of content you find of value.

But how do they know what I find of value? We’ve made it very easy for advertising to become extremely targeted, with the growth of social networking and blogs, users are choosing to post information about their specific interest on facebook and myspace or logging on to read their favorite blogs specifically targeted to their interest.

“Opt-in benefits from as much subtlety as possible. Flat-out asking “what ads would you like to see?” begins a very obnoxious dialogue. If the point is to contextualize the advertising to make it less annoying, why begin with a lengthy questionnaire? Smart ads that pull from user-specified profile content or that pull from browser history could, however, really make banner ads into something useful.” – Mike Ackerman, CP+B

So with all this opting-in whether were completely aware of it or not, is this a good thing? The answer to this is possibly double sided. Yes, on the side that now I can receive only relevant ads for me. As close as advertisers try to get with demographics on a 30 second TV spot, we all still have to sit through plenty of ads for things we’ll never buy. Now the likely hood of receiving an ad online for something were particularly in the market for is high. The flip side of this is No, in the sense of who will have access to this information. Advertisers have been working to build consumer profiles for years, and the likely hood that Amazon or Google knows you better than the government does could change if this information is shared.

In a world where many people tend to live online, advertisers are more than happy to cater their message as specifically as they can to each individual. This may become more and more possible through users freely sharing their personal information online and possibly opting-in to these advertising services that on the outside appear more as social networks. The fact is though as consumers we rely on advertising to help us make purchasing decisions and are mostly annoyed by ads for things were not in the market for. The future is bright though and the day when were only served relevant ads in a proper context is around the bend.

Mike Ackerman is a graduate of the Savannah College or Art and Design and is currently interning as an art director at Crispin Porter and Bogusky. You can follow him at

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