Consumer privacy is always a hot topic and rightfully so, particularly when it comes to advertising. Pessimistic attitudes about customised ads based upon previous browsing information are caused by a gap in basic knowledge about how it all works and what benefits it brings to all; alarmist news stories fuel negative consumer perceptions. However, consumer views are not as negative as frequently portrayed. Consumers actually want a more customised web with content available at little or no cost, as the Consumers and online privacy 2012 research carried out by the IAB and ValueClick showed.
Over half of consumers are happy to see online advertising because they’re aware that it is how web content remains free; 55% of consumers prefer to see ads relevant to their interests. Rather than have an Internet awash with ads that are meaningless to them, consumers just want greater visibility into and control over the ads they see online. This is why the IAB provides educational resources like our video How online behavioural advertising works and the site, Your online choices. But our industry still has more work to do on the transparency front.
This is why the advertising industry is implementing the EU self-regulatory initiative for behavioural advertising, with an icon in or around ads at the centre of the programme. This will be backed by a consumer campaign in 2013. And it’s why IAB UK has launched more resources to help businesses get up to speed. When responsible businesses participate in this initiative, the digital advertising industry as a whole can better meet consumer needs for greater transparency and help build brand relationships that are grounded in trust.
A consumer’s evaluation of a brand’s trustworthiness can start with a single display ad. Businesses who want to start conversations with consumers on the right foot should use the AdChoices icon and take part in the EU self-regulatory initiative for behavioural advertising to give them greater transparency and control.