Empirical analysis of behavioral advertising finds that surveillance makes ads only 4% more profitable for media companies / Boing Boing | The CYDigital Blog | Scoop.it
In Online Tracking and Publishers’ Revenues: An Empirical Analysis, a trio of researchers from U Minnesota, UC Irvine and CMU report out their findings from a wide-ranging (millions of data-points) study of the additional revenues generated by behaviorally targeted ads (of the sort sold by Facebook and Google) versus traditional, content-based advertising (that is, advertising a piano to you because I spied on you when you searched for pianos yesterday, versus showing you an ad about pianos next to an article about pianos).

They found that despite the 40% "ad-tech" premium charged by behavioral ad companies, the ads only added about 4% the media companies that published them, meaning that behavioral advertising is a losing proposition. What's more, serving behaviorally targeted ads involves a great deal of expense in the form of compliance and liability, numbers that will only go up as more privacy laws are enacted.