Dakarai Turner

“I Would Like to Opt Out” – The Boundaries of Market Research

July 25, 2017

“I would like to opt out” – The 6 words that advertisers and marketers do not want to hear. Those 6 words essentially tell you “leave me alone”. As someone that is passionate about marketing and the advancement of both industries, I might not be the best person to speak to when it comes to the question of “how far is too far” in the retrieval of customer information. Now to further explain, this is in reference to tactics marketers use that tracks consumer behaviour and habits.

My take is that I think it’s extremely helpful being served targeted ads based on things I’ve viewed or searched online. For example, I’m currently planning a trip to Montreal and I have been seeing Airbnb ads all over Instagram, and it helps with searching for a place to stay. Most people don’t feel the same way, even though this is a minute example of retrieving data on customers. Marketing is built off insights and research.

What about when an app wants you to opt-in to having your eye movements tracked when you view products? MakeUp is an app that digitally renders makeup products on your face so that you can get a sense of what it will look like before you make the purchase. The app is the result of a partnership between beauty brand Smashbox and ModiFace. You can read more about the eye tracking technology here.

They have revealed that the technology has resulted in a 27 percent increase in overall conversions since it began using it two months ago.

Creepy or not, you be the judge. The way I have always seen retrieving data on customers is that the intentions are appropriate. You get the product that best suits you and the brand gets a boost in sales. Everybody wins, right? Well not necessarily. Most of the arguments I’ve heard in the opposition would say that tracking customer information, habits, and more is an invasion of privacy. It’s definitely a grey area and one that will be consistently pushed further and further as technology advances and other brands want to play around with eye tracking technology for example.

So what does the future look like in this space? Will we slowly become desensitized to brands openly tracking our behavior? Or will consumers band together in support of opting out?


Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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