I don’t want to serve one ad impression to a person that doesn’t want to see that ad.  That’s an impression that we and our client has to pay for that isn’t going to help achieve the campaign’s objectives.

For that reason, when the topic of privacy comes up with a client, I use that as an opportunity to discuss how to set up a campaign that adds value for potential customers.

User controls over what data is collected online, and the ability to easily opt-out are important.  Giving users control helps to eliminate the creepiness factor, and for advertisers, it helps to avoid serving impressions that are ineffective or possibly detrimental.  However, in addition to user control, so much of the privacy issue is addressed when advertisers focus on creating campaigns that are useful for potential customers.

Is it useful to keep seeing the same pair of shoes over and over again that you happened to look at once?  Maybe.  Is offering free shipping on those shoes more valuable?  Absolutely.

Advertisers, users, and ad targeting platforms like AdRoll are actually perfectly aligned when it comes to privacy.  We don’t want to waste impressions on ads that users don’t want to see or are viewed as annoying.  The best campaigns always keep this fact in mind.

Advertisers should think of their cookie pools like they think of their email lists.  You need to be cognizant of content and frequency.  My belief is that every retargeting campaign should also contain some sort of offer.  For users that haven’t purchased before, that could be free shipping or a discount off your first purchase.   For previous customers, use your retargeting campaign to announce sales or new product releases.

Email went through its pivotal privacy moment with the CAN-SPAM Act, and it made email marketing a more effective channel.  Now is the time for companies in the online advertising space to implement the same principles.  Give users control, and give users something useful.