Will Microsoft’s Don’t-Track-Me Option Hurt Marketing Automation?

Will Microsoft’s Don’t-Track-Me Option Hurt Marketing Automation?

By Chris KnipperSep 17 /2012

internet explorer dont follow meMicrosoft plans to release the latest version of its operating software in late October, which will include Internet Explorer 10. It’s a much-discussed feature of the latest browser that will prompt users during the initial setup to choose whether to keep a pre-selected don’t-track-me option or not. If a user keeps this option, they won’t see ads customized to them by companies that track their online browsing activities.

Will this Impact Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation continues to evolve beyond behavior-triggered email communications and display ads, to deliver web content that is more focused on the entire lifestyle and preferences of the user. If I’m interested in golf, fishing and vacation rentals in the Caribbean, I’m more likely to see ads and web content about those subjects, rather than about bowling, archery and condos in Canada. But what happens when I select the don’t-track-me option? While searching websites, will I be less likely to easily find content in which I have interest? Will the latest features on popular marketing automation platforms, such as HubSpot3, not work? Will Smart CTAs and Smart Web Content not be able to deliver what I really want and only show the same content any other anonymous visitor would see?

Why Don’t-Track-Me Makes Sense for Microsoft, Google, and Facebook 

One reason for the bold, don’t-track-me option from Microsoft may be in response to the increased interest in privacy setting disclosure that was heightened by ongoing and sometimes-unpopular privacy setting changes in recent years by Facebook. Or another reason may be intent to follow the path that Google went down last year when access to organic search phrases became hidden behind SSL from users logged into Google. What these two privacy moves signal is that both Microsoft and Google made an effort to make private information a little less accessible, because that’s what people want. The competition between Facebook, Google and Microsoft gives each company a large incentive to win over users with the better privacy approach—so they can capture more future ad dollars.

How Inbound Marketing Prospects Differ on the Don’t-Track-Me Option

The big difference with inbound marketing is that unlike paid search, the really important tracking happens after a company has already given something of value to a user. The user information is captured because they wanted to give it up, and at that moment, they become a fan. This is a contrary approach to paid-search ads that re-target and chase you around the Internet in response to recent page views and clicks. Those views and clicks don’t necessarily define you as a fan, so some people say, “That feels creepy.”

Future of Marketing Automation with Don’t-Track-Me

Fan or not, the question becomes, what if all Internet browser software soon has this don’t-track-me pre-setting, and many future web users stick with the default? How will marketing automation platforms serve-up Smart Content? Will terms and conditions for form conversion include "we-will-track" in small print? Seems like a logical choice to me. What are you thoughts?

photo credit: ieteam

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The Author

Chris Knipper

Chris founded Kuno in 2000 as a traditional marketing and branding agency and has since grown it into a leading global digital marketing agency that’s helped hundreds of companies accelerate their growth. With a background in sales, marketing and technology, Chris is on the frontline of creativity, pushing the limits of what our clients can achieve.