Digital Advertising Alliance Reveals Roadmap

Lou-MastriaMobile advertising and the need to further educate consumers about its services were key issues at the Digital Advertising Alliance’s first summit, held this week in Washington, DC. The DAA has planned to introduce a set of mobile advertising guidelines for several months and will do so soon, according to Managing Director Lou Mastria.

“Mobile is going to be big for us,” Mastria said. “There was always a plan to provide guidelines on mobile [advertising], and we will roll it out as soon as everything is worked out.” The challenges in developing mobile advertising guidelines include addressing the diverse ways ads are delivered on mobile devices (Android operating systems, for example, allow for cookies that would let users opt out of targeted advertising, whereas iOS devices don’t allow cookies), as well as the various screen sizes of mobile devices.

“I think secretly, many of us had hoped we could just insert the word ‘mobile’ into our existing guidelines, but it’s much more complicated than that,” said Mike Signorelli, counsel to the DAA, during a panel discussion at the summit.

Among other areas, the DAA’s mobile guidelines will address cross-app data collection, the amount of time consumer data should be held and the use of location data. There will be  “heightened safeguards” governing the use of smartphone users’ geolocation data, Signorelli maintained.

The DAA’s mobile guidelines will complement the mobile guidelines that the Network Advertising Initiative (a partner of the DAA) unveiled last month, according to Marc Groman, executive director and general counsel at the NAI.

In addition, the DAA also plans to launch another campaign educating consumers about the blue icon that is central to its AdChoices program. Launched in December 2010, the AdChoices program consists of a blue icon that appears on participating websites, alerting consumers that data is being collected about them. Consumers can click on the icon to opt out of receiving those targeted ads.

Since the program was introduced, the DAA claims that the AdChoices icon has been served in more than one trillion ad impressions in one month, and about two million visitors have used the opt-out tool. Still, few consumers are aware of the icon’s purpose. Carnegie Mellon polled 1,500 adults last year and found that 45% of participants thought the icon indicated a sale for ad space. The study also found that respondents were hesitant to click on the icon; more than half believed that clicking on it would trigger an ad. Similarly, Truste, a privacy services provider and member of the DAA, found that public awareness for the icon was at 5% in 2011 and 14% last year. It will be releasing an updated report later this summer.

“We still get questions on what’s that icon so we still have a way to go in consumer education,” commented Ho Shin, general counsel at Millennial Media. “This is also about educating legislators,” said John Montgomery, COO of North America at GroupM. “When you explain what we do and how we use the data we collect there’s an a-ha moment, so while we’re proud of what we’ve achieved, we have to put our foot on the gas now.”

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