If you click on the right-hand corner of any advertisement on Facebook, the social network will tell you why it was targeted to you. But what would happen if those buried targeting tactics were transparently displayed, right next to the ad itself? That’s the question at the heart of new research from Harvard Business School published in the Journal of Consumer Research. It turns out advertising transparency can be good for a platform—but it depends on how creepy marketer methods are. The study has wide-reaching implications for advertising giants like Facebook and Google, which increasingly find themselves under pressure to disclose more about their targeting practices. The researchers found, for example, that consumers are reluctant to engage with ads that they know have been served based on their activity on third-party websites, a tactic Facebook and Google routinely use. Which also suggests that tech giants have a financial incentive to ensure users aren’t aware, at least up front, about how some ads are served. Don’t Talk Behind My Back For their study, Tami Kim, Kate Barasz and Leslie K. John conducted a number of online advertising experiments to understand the effect transparency has on user behavior. They found that if… Read full this story
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