top of page

Bespoke Behavioural Advertising (BBA): using behavioral data to customize advertising.

Forecasts predict that by 2026 a quarter of the population will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse or virtual or augmented environments.

This projection requires the consideration of several challenges and opportunities that will influence the design of the metaverse and VR and AR environments. Business leaders, CEOs, project managers, and DEI managers have a strong need to get inspired by new questions, concepts, and findings from scientific research.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, personalized advertising has become ubiquitous. One type of personalized advertising that has gained traction in recent times is the Bespoke Behavioural Advertising (BBA) approach.

BBA is a terminology and approach developed at the University of Cambridge that utilizes behavioral and biological data to customize advertising and content in digital immersive environments, such as virtual and augmented reality.

While BBA has the potential to provide a more engaging and relevant experience for users, it also raises concerns about data governance and safety.

What is Bespoke Behavioural Advertising (BBA)?

BBA is a type of personalized advertising that uses behavioral and biological data to create a unique and customized experience for users. BBA could support businesses to create personalized advertisements and offer users services and products to answer their future needs.

This type of advertising goes beyond traditional demographic targeting and instead targets users based on their behaviors, interests, and even physiological responses.

The Bespoke Behavioral Advertising (BBA) strategy predicts to be more effective than what is in place with current web cookies.

For example, if a user is browsing a virtual reality environment for running shoes, BBA technology can analyze their behavior and serve them advertisements for running apparel or accessories.

This technology can also track a user’s physiological responses, such as changes in heart rate or skin conductance, or eye blinking, to determine their emotional response to specific content and serve them advertisements that align with their emotional state.

One of the primary concerns with BBA is data governance.

Behavioral and biological data are often sensitive and personal, and there is a risk that this data can be mishandled or even abused.

BBA requires the collection and analysis of vast amounts of data, and this data must be managed and protected appropriately to ensure users’ privacy and security.

Another concern is the potential for BBA to manipulate users’ emotions and behaviors.

If BBA technology can analyze users’ emotional responses to content, there is a risk that it could be used to manipulate users’ emotions to sell products or push certain agendas.

Lastly, BBA technology has the potential to create addictive behaviors. By analyzing users’ behaviors and responses, BBA technology can optimize content and advertising to keep users engaged and coming back for more.

This can lead to addictive behaviors and even harm users’ mental health.

Given these concerns, there is a need for appropriate regulation and ethical considerations when it comes to BBA. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been enacted to protect individuals’ privacy and regulate the collection and use of personal data.

The GDPR requires organizations to obtain explicit consent from users before collecting and processing their personal data, and it also provides individuals with the right to access and control their data.

In addition to regulation, ethical considerations are also necessary.

At the Metavethics Institute, a think-tank spun out from the University of Cambridge devoted to providing organizations with the right tools to sustainably tackle ethical and integrity challenges affecting digital, virtual, and immersive environments, studies on the effectiveness and ethical and integrity implications of using Bespoke Behavioral Advertising (BBA) advertising in virtual, augmented or mixed reality environments are carried on.

First discoveries shine the light on the aspect that to guarantee a human-centric Bespoke Behavioral Advertising (BBA) strategy there is a need to further create a universally agreed code of conduct helping to manage privacy, ethics, and integrity across different virtual and immersive environments and raise awareness across the community by persuading businesses to develop informative tools based on shared principles.

To address these concerns, it is essential to establish strong data governance frameworks that protect user privacy and security. This includes implementing robust data protection measures, such as encryption, access controls, and data minimization strategies, as well as establishing clear guidelines and policies around the collection, use, and sharing of personal data.

In conclusion, while BBA has the potential to provide a more engaging and relevant experience for users, it also raises concerns about data governance and safety. Behavioral and biological data are sensitive and personal, and there is a risk that they can be mishandled or abused. BBA technology also raises concerns about algorithmic bias, emotional manipulation, and the potential for addictive behaviors.

Given these concerns, at the Metavethics Institute, we are eager to partner with organizations to support with assessment strategies of the ethical and integrity appropriateness of their advertisement and content development strategies.

Do you want to become a Metavethicist?


bottom of page