Can psychographic targeting techniques be used ethically?

Patrick Fagan, former lead psychologist at Cambridge Analytica, ponders the ethical dimensions of psychographic targeting.

Ethical targeted advertising is all about agency, says psychologist Patrick Fagan – the agency of the consumer that is. It’s an interesting line from a man who was introduced at Nudgestock, Ogilvy’s annual behavioural science event (online, June 2020), as “essentially in recovery from Cambridge Analytica”.

His former employer gained fame for its work in helping Donald Trump get elected and subsequent notoriety for the way in which it gathered the information to make that possible.

But Fagan argued that what Cambridge Analytica had done was essentially no different to what the Obama campaign had done in 2012. And The...

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