Reliance on targeted political ads has skyrocketed in recent years, leading to negative reactions in media and society. Nonetheless, only few studies investigate user privacy concerns and their role in user acceptance decisions in the context of online political targeting. To fill this gap, in this study we explore the magnitude of privacy concerns towards targeted political ads compared to “tradi-tional” targeting in the product context. Surprisingly, we find no notable differences in privacy concerns between these use purposes. In the next step, user preferences over ad types are elicited with the help of a discrete choice experiment in the mobile app adoption context. Among others, our findings from simulations on the basis of a mixed logit model cautiously suggest that while targeted political advertising is perceived as somewhat less desirable by respondents, its presence does not consequentially deter users from choosing such an app, with user preferences being high-ly volatile. Together, these results contribute to a better understanding of users’ privacy concerns and preferences in the context of targeted political advertising online.


This work has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF) under grant no. 16DII116 (“Deutsches Internet-Institut”).