UK campaign aims to give consumers greater control over targeted online ads

13/06/2013

UK trade body the IAB has launched a new initiative to drive consumer awareness over targeted online ads, with some of UK’s largest news brands, media owners and advertising tech businesses donating inventory

adchoices.jpg

Designed by Mediacom, the “unzipped” campaign features a zip with statements such as “How do websites know which adverts suit your interests?” and “Find out what goes on behind the ads you see online.” The zip opens to reveal the blue triangular ‘AdChoices’ icon which has been appearing on behavioural ads in the UK and EU markets for over a year.

When the ad is clicked, it links to a landing page explaining the role of online advertising and how privacy can be safeguarded. The landing page also features a short video helping people to understand ‘interest-based’ advertising.

The icon is part of a pan-European self-regulatory initiative – supported by the European Commission and the UK government – to give consumers more transparency and control over targeted online ads. The icon links to information about how data is collected and used to serve these types of ads and ways consumers can control this, including via the Your Online Choices website.

Ed Vaizey MP, UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, says: “I very much support EU-wide industry self-regulation to enhance transparency and consumer choice over online behavioural advertising. I particularly welcome this European advertising campaign – with the UK leading the way - to promote greater awareness of the ad icon which can empower consumers to control their data.”

Nick Stringer, Director of Regulatory Affairs at IAB UK, says: “There are two key points people should be aware about. Firstly, advertising helps to pay for the content and services consumers receive for little or no cost, and interest-based ads are more relevant to the user’s likely interests. Secondly, which many are mistaken about, is that interest-based advertising is based upon the sites previously visited and not on any personal information that identifies the user.

“The research is very clear: once consumers are aware of these points and know they are in control, they are far more open to interest-based ads. Over half a million people a month* now visit the UK Your Online Choices site to find out more.”

The UK campaign will initially run for six to 10 weeks. Some of Britain’s largest news brands, media owners and advertising technology businesses** have donated inventory to support the goal of reaching 30% of all online Britons.

The UK is the first EU country to go live in what will be a pan-European campaign – coordinated by Velvet Rock Communications – followed by Ireland and Germany later in June. Campaigns in other EU countries will start in the autumn.

Stringer concludes: “The ultimate aim of the campaign is that, by giving people better information and more control, they make more informed decisions. It also enables relevant advertising to support innovation on the internet which helps provide the ever-increasing range of online services people rely on so heavily in their daily lives.”

www.youronlinechoices.eu/uk

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