2022 – A Year to Reinvest in Responsible Customer Engagement with Relevant Advertising Content

January 26, 2022

Big idea: Relevance requires continual reinvestment. DAA is amid just that to keep pace with consumer identifiers, responsible data collection, and new avenues for transparency and control, thanks to your participation. Let's keep it going, all together.

Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) Principles were established more than a decade ago to keep pace with a rapidly changing marketplace -- extending effective meaningful privacy protections to US consumers. In many ways, 2021 marked a watershed year – all of it setting the stage for a 2022 that will keep DAA innovating to protect and advance consumer engagement with responsible brands and publishers of content. None of this is possible without you.

Allow me to provide a brief review/preview:

Accountability | The DAA Principles marked its 10th year of independent accountability in market, “with teeth” as one of our enforcers is fond of saying. We distributed more than 1,000 copies of our Enforcement in Action 4.0 casebook, which highlight instructive cases for ad tech, agencies, advertisers and publishers to follow administered distinct from DAA by BBB National Programs and Association of National Advertisers.  One of our Approved Providers, TrustArc, also brought DAA Principles adherence into its Privacy Impact Assessment tool – helping its stable of clients more easily assess their respective DAA Principles adherence journey.  

Consumers in Control | In 2021, DAA announced expansion of our Choice mechanisms beyond cookies and mobile ad identifiers – bringing user control to token-based identifiers.  This step forward in technology will responsible facilitate data collection and control for new and emerging identifiers. Aided by a cadre of leading companies, the new YourAdChoices tool (with a robust, flexible and futureproof API) is now in market – and ready for integration by all WebChoices and AppChoices participating companies. Why does this matter? DAA is and has always been agnostic on identification technologies deployed for advertising. It is vital to keep pace with the market and provide consumer control – effective and useful to consumers no matter the platform, operating system, and device. As we move to a world of “cookies and beyond”, every player in the relevant ad ecosystem needs to keep pace with such ID methodologies. We encourage to integrate with this new API as your portfolio of identifiers grows.

Figure 1. DAA YourAdChoices Token-Based ID Opt-Out Tool | youradchoices.com/token (mobile view)

In 2022, also in Consumer Control, we will test and roll out a measure of granularity not previously offered – the means to opt-down by shopping categories on the open web – much as we offer consumer control today by individual companies. Yes, consumers will still be able to indicate a choice to opt out by all companies, and by all categories, but our privacy mailbox is full of consumers who ask for advertising opt-outs only for specific content, which may make more sense for their particular lifestyles. We hope to roll this out by mid-year.

We are also looking to expand the choice experience in concert with Consent Management Platforms. Plus, look this year for calls to help finalize DAA guidance on handling Global Privacy Control signals, as well as enabling Transparency and Consumer Control across Connected Devices. As we work with the DAA Board and DAA Participants on these developments, we are also working in lockstep with our sister organizations (Canada, Argentina and Europe) to answer the call to make the DAA program even more easily implemented in multiple jurisdictions. We’re moving with purpose.

Transparency… and Trust | We commissioned research that underscored U.S. consumer recognition and understanding of the “AdChoices” icon to new heights – and the halo “trust” effect it conveys. These findings present opportunities for our community. The “AdChoices” icon was designed as a universal touchpoint to enable transparency and consumer control for data collection in interest-based advertising – and such it is today. U.S. consumers widely recognize this purpose, but also see the icon as a portal to privacy information related to advertising more generally, while also assigning trustworthiness to it. This highlights our collective success in bringing privacy and controls to consumers’ fingertips and allowing brands to engage with consumers on this important topic in real time and anytime. What an amazing accomplishment by the DAA community.

Figure 2. Americans recognize the AdChoices icon and its role as a privacy portal.

This research complements our 2020 study that reports the dollar-value consumers place on ad-financed content and services each and every year. As brands continue to emphasize safety and ethics in this value chain, active participation in the DAA program – and leveraging the use of the AdChoices icon in ads, apps and other digital sites – takes on greater importance.

Vote... for Political Ad Transparency | The DAA Political Ad icon has been in market since its introduction in 2018. For Election-cycle 2022, we are going to add some meaningful “umph” to the program that will enable political campaigns using the icon to garner rich reporting of ad delivery by election district, to implement ad registry capabilities (particularly as several states add such requirements), as well as to enable voter survey functionality alongside the current disclosure requirements. Let’s call it transparency-plus that can enable campaigns, and their agency and ad tech partners, the ability to derive greater transparency two ways – one for the voter, and one for the candidate/campaign.

“The Digital Advertising Alliance’s Political Ads program offers a self-regulatory approach to increase transparency and accountability in digital political advertising. Such programs could work in tandem with legislative regulation,” reported the National Conference of State Legislatures this past year. Again, stay tuned!

Supporting Nation Privacy Legislation| DAA is an active participant in the Privacy for America coalition. The goal remains: a pragmatic, Principles-based approach to privacy regulation in the United States – with one federal standard over all. Congress may not have acted in 2021 – but Americans strongly want federal privacy legislation. We support this outcome – but it must be a policy that protects advertising innovation, advertising-financed content, competition, entrepreneurship and enterprise in conjunction with responsible data collection and privacy safeguards. These goals are mutually inclusive.  We believe there is bipartisan support here – imagine if privacy could unite a nation, constructively? Call myself an optimist, but we’re actually working toward that.

Meanwhile, the states are busy… California, Virginia, Colorado, who’s next? Our trade association founders and counsel at Venable are hard at work managing the emerging patchwork. It’s incumbent on us to educate and engage state policymakers across the country. We – all together now -- are doing our utmost best to protect both consumers and the advertising ecosystem as these state policies are debated, enacted and promulgated. DAA was in many of those jurisdictions in 2021 – Washington, Minnesota, Florida, California, among others – to help inform policy makers the complementary role self-regulation can play today and alongside future government policy tomorrow.

Not all policy is set in government circles. We’ve also been addressing technology companies that are making such decisions that affect the delivery of relevant advertising. DAA acts as a convener for the Public Policy working group for Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media which serves as an initiative for privacy-preserving principles, standards and infrastructure for addressable communication between consumers and businesses.

Figure 3. DAA Summit 22 – Registration is Now Open.

All Together Now…at our Summit (May 3-4-5 in Los Angeles) | We are well underway planning our return to an in-person Summit event (registration open) – our one gathering of DAA participants a year – for the first time since 2019. We will be back together exchanging ideas, updating on compliance, hearing from policy and business leaders, and networking within the DAA-only community with candor, curiosity and care. We are returning to a previous Summit-site favorite – Marina del Rey in Silicon Beach (LA) – where nearly the entire program will be “fresh air, open air” to help enhance attendee safety. The Program Advisory Committee is hard at work now to help us pull an always-engaging program, and you can talk to Chet Dalzell to explore opportunities for sponsorship, too. Yes, it will be great to SEE you.

Our 2021 Summit was all-virtual out of necessity – but we still succeeded in advancing a program that underscored data for good amid a pandemic, small- and medium-business enterprise and the importance of consumer discovery in digital media, the connected consumer, and the necessity for data ethics – among other topics. We were also grateful to hear perspectives from Capitol Hill – Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Syd Terry, Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Chairwoman, House Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee. Our 2022 program will be equally substantial, more so with your presence.

Marketplace Engagement – Virtually and More | I want to use this opportunity to thank all our participants and supporters, our Approved Providers (TrustArc and Crownpeak), our enforcers (BBBNP and ANA) and all our founding trades. Throughout the pandemic, and continuing through much flux in ad tech, your “roll up the sleeves” and “get under the hood” attitude and activity has helped DAA remain vibrant, nimble, deliberate and efficient. We’ve zoomed our way through the past two years, as we future proof DAA Principles for the next generation of responsible brand and consumer engagement. I’m hopeful this post gives you a sense of the excitement our team wholeheartedly has in the important, profound work we do – thanks directly to your continued participation.

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