Digital marketing and the 'do-not-track' consumer

It's easy enough to activate private browsing online these days, and increasingly, that's what consumers are opting to do, says Adam Lehman in Ad Age. What does that mean for marketers?

On the one hand, publishers and marketers are finally gaining access to truly integrated, cross-platform data and marketing solutions. These new capabilities enable companies to collect the data their customers are generating across the full range of digital devices in circulation – computers, smart phones, tablets, even set top boxes – and combine it with data drawn from analytics tools, CRM systems and point-of-sale data sets; to integrate and harmonize all of this data from disparate sources in a single, unified data dashboard. They're then able to deploy those audience segments across web for audience-targeted advertising campaigns, personalised content delivery and other integrated marketing programs.

On the other hand, we are seeing the corresponding backlash to these advances in data-driven marketing – in the form of a privacy tools arms race. Spurred on by privacy advocates and regulators, browser makers continue to raise the stakes in their approaches to implementing "Do Not Track" options. Microsoft has announced that next version of Internet Explorer will ship with the "Do Not Track" option already checked.

So where will things go from here? Will cross-channel, unified uber-data platforms usher in a new era of marketing efficiency and effectiveness? Or will new approaches to consumer privacy produce a DNT-default world, dramatically limiting options for marketers and publishers?

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