News & Blog
09.18.19
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Rethinking Targeted Advertising with DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a rapidly growing search engine that differentiates itself by emphasizing user privacy and security. By showing all users the same data rather than providing personalized search results and ads, the platform strives to “set a new standard of trust online.” While the platform can’t compete with the likes of its competitors, as more and more users are worried about protecting personal information and opting out of online tracking, it’s a platform that marketers should keep an eye on.

Creating a Privacy-Oriented Experience

To fill this desire for a privacy-oriented online experience, DuckDuckGo has built a platform that doesn’t store IP addresses or user information to populate their results or place advertisements. It claims to derive its search results from over 400 individual sources including other search engines and crowdsourced sites meaning it relies on them to index websites. This places heavy emphasis on returning the most relevant results rather than the most amount of results.

This approach of displaying simple and straightforward results has grown DuckDuckGo to an average of 44 million direct queries per day as of August 2019, according to DuckDuckGo Traffic.

Why Marketers Need to Know

The growth of DuckDuckGo further reveals how privacy has become a major worry and one that advertisers need to be cognizant of as they set themselves apart in a cluttered environment. With a central focus on protecting consumer information online, there currently isn’t any direct way that companies can deliver ads through the platform.

Instead, DuckDuckGo earns revenue by serving ads based on keywords from the Yahoo-Bing search alliance network and through affiliate relationships with Amazon and eBay where it shows similar products to your keyword rather than tracking user activity. This method is certainly not as effective as Google where algorithms dictate what ads you get, but one to keep an eye on as privacy concerns increase.

What Marketers Should Be Doing

As potential consumers opt out of tracking and targeted ads, advertisers need to shift to a brand message that is relevant and resonates with everyone. Advertisers must also keep in mind that DuckDuckGo users are generally wary of ads, and therefore pay attention to their methods of targeting. Also, customization and control of ads are limited compared to a typical campaign. While DuckDuckGo doesn’t attract anywhere near the search volume of its major competitors, such as Google, it’s shown major growth and shouldn’t be disregarded. Especially when it comes to attracting audiences that are tech-savvy or have privacy concerns, DuckDuckGo can be a major resource for reaching certain customers segments.

With a heavy focus on protecting personal data rather than catering ads to specific markets, advertisers will need to deploy new tools and innovative approaches to getting the right ad in front of the right person at the right time.

*All data is taken directly from DuckDuckGo.com

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