How to Optimize Campaigns While Respecting "Do Not Track" Policies

do not track, online security

August 18, 2014 by

The Internet isn’t the uncharted frontier it once was. Brands are utilizing the wealth of data at their fingertips to target consumers with hyper-relevant ads, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to avoid having their Internet activity tracked.

However, due to a surge in online privacy concerns, many consumers are beginning to use “do not track” policies and technology to stay anonymous on the Internet and avoid advertising. (You can think of DNT as the online equivalent of the National Do Not Call Registry for telemarketers.)

Here’s how DNT works: let’s say a consumer visits a website while shopping for sunglasses. Then she leaves the retail site to browse news stories on another site, where she spots an ad with the sunglasses she was just shopping for. If that advertiser is compliant with DNT and she doesn’t want to see ads for sunglasses, she can opt out and prevent that marketer from targeting her.

While this technology puts some consumers’ minds at ease, it affects advertisers’ and brands’ ability to reach their qualified audience or interested prospects. After all, how can you target people with relevant online ads when they aren’t letting you track their activity? The answer, while not insurmountable, is a bit more complicated than most companies think.

Rule of Thumb: Work With DNT, Not Around It

Advertisers often try to work around DNT by buying behavioral targeting segments from third parties. Or they retarget clients using cookies or unique device identifications and hope for few opt-outs from customers using DNT.

This isn’t truly effective. You can’t simply work around someone who opts out of receiving ads. This can put a snag in your strategy, decreasing your ability to target qualified leads, but it doesn’t have to.

To create an accurate, optimized campaign while respecting your customers’ web privacy preferences, start by on-boarding your customer relationship management data with a data management company that does a one-to-one match, not probability modeling. Related Class: Social CRM lead with your strategy

That means taking your current CRM database and following these steps:

1.     Contact your current trading desk or data management vendor directly. These solution providers create data warehouses to store, sort, and manage information and can serve it up in a way that’s useful for marketers, publishers, and other businesses.

2.     Negotiate rates, and sign an agreement to onboard your data into a real-time bidding solution through trading desks or a demand-side platform. Negotiation is key to optimize your data collection for the best results.

3.     Define the segments you want to target, track, or anti-target, and share this with your agency partners to make sure everyone is on the same page.

4.     Begin the syncing process across your marketing ecosystem. This usually takes one to two weeks.

5.     Buy the right data to match your needs. If you have to use behavioral targeting segments, make sure they’re custom-built for your client. Cookie-cutter solutions don’t help anyone, so only buy data that’s based on responder or purchase data. (This means vetting your data partners thoroughly.)

Attempting to work around DNT isn’t a smart approach for any client. But with the right data and a tailored approach, you’ll be able to target and serve ads successfully while respecting your consumers’ DNT preferences.

This retargeting marketing class, Harnessing the Power of Social Media Advertising & Retargeting, instructed by Janet Driscoll Miller, helps businesses utilize social consumer data correctly to improve retargeting, increase conversion rates, and attain a high social ROI.


Charles Cantu started with nothing more than an associate’s degree and a passion for technology. Over the past 15 years, he’s transformed that knowledge and passion into numerous multimillion-dollar organizations, ensuring the success of multiple sales teams and businesses. He founded Huddled Masses in 2012 as a boutique-trading desk that offered smaller organizations and agencies programmatic optimization of highly targeted digital campaigns at scale. Today, Huddled Masses is in the top tier of media buying and digital marketing strategy companies in the country.


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