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The Importance of Trust for Personalized Online Advertising

Alexander Bleier and Maik Eisenbeiss

Journal of Retailing, 2015, vol. 91, issue 3, 390-409

Abstract: With the amount of online advertising on a steady rise, generic ads noticeably lose effectiveness. In order to break through the clutter, retailers employ a method called retargeting to tailor their advertisements to individual consumers based on inferred interests and preferences. However, while personalization should generally make ads more appealing, the authors use field data to show that the effectiveness of retargeting considerably hinges on consumers’ trust in a respective retailer. To uncover the underlying mechanisms of this phenomenon, they investigate how trust moderates the impact of ad personalization on consumers’ internal and external responses in the lab. They propose a two-dimensional conceptualization of ad personalization: First, a banner's personalization depth defines how closely the ad reflects a consumer's interests. Second, its personalization breadth determines how completely the banner reflects these interests. The lab results show that more trusted retailers can increase the perceived usefulness of their ads through a combination of high depth and narrow breadth of personalization without eliciting increased reactance or privacy concerns. On the other hand, for less trusted retailers, banners with higher depth are not perceived more useful, but instead trigger increased reactance and privacy concerns, regardless of their personalization breadth. These effects directly translate into consumers’ click-through intentions so that retailers should adjust their personalization strategies accordingly in order to increase the effectiveness of their online advertising.

Keywords: Retargeting; Online advertising; Personalization; Trust; Privacy; Reactance (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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