Survey: Relevant Banners Are Less Intrusive

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Most people would view banner ads as less intrusive if they were more relevant to their specific areas of interest, a survey released yesterday by the Ponemon Institute showed.

The 2004 Survey on Internet Ads found consumers prefer banners that are relevant to their needs and interests by a 2-to-1 margin over those that are not relevant. Fifty-two percent said they would be more likely to click on targeted ads than others.

Ponemon, Tucson, AZ, a research institute specializing in privacy management practices in government and business, polled more than 1,000 people for this Web-based survey. Chapell & Associates and Revenue Science sponsored the study. Results are available at

Forty-five percent of respondents said they would be more willing to give additional personal information to get more ads targeted to their individual interests. But 55 percent preferred technology that enables targeted ads without collecting personal information.

Also, 69 percent preferred the use of privacy-enabling technology to prevent misuse of sensitive personal data over third-party verification of good privacy practices.

Nearly 60 percent said banner ads were "always annoying." This, Ponemon claims, is a frustration level just below that for spam and telemarketers. Forty-four percent preferred that the law ban unwanted Internet ads. A majority said they were unwilling to pay for ad blocking services or online content to stop such ads.

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