The AdRoll team just landed back in San Francisco, after having spent the weekend in Austin, TX at the annual SXSW Interactive Festival. While SXSW Music is one of the largest music festivals in the country, SXSW Interactive, which happens at the same time, is focused on emerging technology. It’s become a significant idea sharing event for creative technologists and a breeding ground for new ideas in the tech space.

One of the major themes at this year’s event was privacy. It’s not surprising, given the frenzy of location-based apps, like Highlight and Glancee, that debuted at the event. However, this year, the panels and discussions around the topic were refreshingly progressive. During the festival, AdRoll’s president, Adam Berke, spoke with The Social Media Club (pictured above) about privacy concerns in the retargeting space.

Many of the panels we attended also explored consumer concerns and ethical questions around data collection and privacy standards. Because of these concerns, consumers often lump web analysts in the same group as spammers, hackers and data thieves. The truth is that many companies, like AdRoll, are working to improve the consumer experience online, by using web data to deliver digital experiences that are relevant, engaging and useful. Restricting access to this data would result in irrelevant online advertising, poor customer experiences, decreased web sales… the list goes on.

Online advertising is definitely here to stay. Without it, the web would be a much more expensive and restricted place to surf. At AdRoll, we’ll keep working to make it a more beneficial and positive experience for advertisers and consumers alike.