Perceptions of Techniques Used to Personalize Messages Across Media in Real Time

Claire M. Segijn, Iris Van Ooijen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The amount of online messages that are personalized based on people's characteristics and interests is growing. Due to technological advancements, it has become possible to personalize messages across media in real time. However, little is known about people's perceptions of these different personalization techniques, while this can have important implications for message effectiveness and the privacy debate. A survey with U.S. adults (N = 1,008) showed that in the context of real-time personalization, all personalization techniques are seen as unacceptable and they are all associated with perceptions of surveillance. This applies to all generations, but younger generations are more likely to accept and to perceive less surveillance than older generations. Furthermore, we found that, of all predictors, perceived surveillance and attitudes toward personalization were the strongest predictors of acceptance of all personalization techniques. The results advance theory by differentiating between personalization techniques and introducing privacy cynicism and mobile device dependency as factors that positively relate to acceptance of personalization techniques. Practically, the results contribute to the debate on consumer agency related to people's personal data and inform media literacy programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • mobile device dependency
  • personal data
  • personalization
  • privacy
  • privacy cynicism
  • synced advertising


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