Insights Ofcom publishes new research on the use of personal data in online advertising

New research, commissioned by the Information Commissioner’s Office and supported by Ofcom, reveals people’s perceptions and attitudes towards the use of their personal data in online advertising.

Advertising technology, or “adtech”, refers to the different types of analytics and digital tools used to direct online advertising to individual people and audiences. It relies on collecting information about how individuals use the internet, such as search and browsing histories, and personal information such as gender and year of birth, to decide which specific adverts are presented to a particular person. Websites also use adtech to sell advertising space in real-time.

The research finds that more than half (54%) of participants would rather see relevant online adverts. However, while 63% of people initially thought it acceptable for websites to display adverts in return for the website being free to access, this fell to 36% once it was explained how personal data might be used to target adverts. To read Ofcom’s statement in full and to access the full report, click here.