Conference paper Open Access

“I would have never allowed it”: User Perception of Third-party Tracking and Implications for Display Advertising

Thode, Wiebke; Griesbaum, Joachim; Mandl, Thomas

This study examines the perception on third-party tracking of German Internet
users. For that purpose, 20 users without a technical background were
interviewed. Results indicate that users are not aware of online tracking.
They are often surprised by the magnitude of tracking programs they are exposed
to during everyday life online activities like travel planning, job or
product research. While the interviewees were willing to concede the theoretical
advantages of such data collection, e.g. for behavioral targeting, they
considered the price as too high to compensate for the loss of privacy control.
The participants showed concerns that tracking could possibly lead to disadvantages
in real life. In addition, behavioral targeting is assessed fairly redundant.
Asked about concepts for enhanced transparency and control, the
interviewed people still emphasized their distrust toward tracking. Thus,
third-party tracking is a doubled edged sword for online advertising. On the
one hand, it is a central means to improve the relevancy of the often unwanted
display ads. At the same time, there is a great danger of increasing ad
aversion for privacy reasons.

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