drug consumption behaviors, and incorporated into that research agenda. Qualitative research methods could be used, including ethnography and “netnography.”6

The metrics and concepts used by the online industry to measure the impact of advertising campaigns need to be adapted for use in the analysis of health consequences, suggested Montgomery. Industry uses a variety of metrics, both quantitative and qualitative, and measures are built in to monitor and analyze behaviors so information can be generated automatically. For example, companies can target advertising in video games to an individual’s food preferences, and as marketing moves to mobile phones, purchases, locations, and preferences will increasingly be linked. These developments also create opportunities for research aimed at understanding behaviors involving food.

The policy implications are as complex as the research questions, Montgomery added. There is a growing debate in many countries about online privacy and digital marketing. Teens are on the agenda, as when the FTC’s privacy framework identified them as “sensitive users.” Complaints about problematic practices have influenced industry self-regulatory regimes. Changes in the FTC’s rules on children’s privacy will limit the digital tracking of those under age 13. Montgomery emphasized the need to establish comparable safeguards for adolescents, and to develop a broad framework of fair marketing principles to ensure that teens growing up in this digital commercial culture will be able to make effective and conscious choices and understand their rights as consumers.

“Teens are digital natives. They are online all the time. They are using their technologies on a daily 24/7 basis.” —Kathryn Montgomery


Summary of presentation by Jerome D. Williams

From a public health perspective, marketing targeting low-income and minority communities can be pernicious because of its negative effects on health, Williams suggested. Furthermore, research on the effects of targeted


6Netnography is the branch of ethnography that analyzes the free behavior of individuals on the Internet, using online market research techniques to provide useful insights.

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