By Lou Mastria
February 2015 was a milestone month for the Digital Advertising Alliance. Last month, we announced public availability of two new tools for smartphone and tablet users in the U.S.: (1) Consumer Choice Page for Mobile Web – a mobile-optimized version of our long-standing “desktop” Consumer Choice Page, and (2) AppChoices, our first mobile application enabling transparency and choice for cross-app data collection and interest-based advertising in app environments.
Together, they represent a “Promises Made, Promises Kept” moment for DAA – a commitment we had made to stakeholders. It has been a disciplined and deliberate journey which first resulted in the release of our Mobile Guidance to companies on how to adhere to DAA Principles for multi-site (and multi-app) data collection for applicable DAA business purposes, principally interest-based ads. Next we developed creative specifications for placement of the DAA Icon in mobile interest-based ads. Then in launching AppChoices and Consumer Choice Page for Mobile Web, DAA delivered to consumers both transparency and controls on the various screens they use to interact with relevant content made possible by responsible data collection. These options also give participating companies an easy path to meet their transparency and control obligations within DAA Principles.
Suffice it to say, with the DAA Icon now served globally more than 1 trillion times per month, we’re enabling consumer recognition about data collection at Web (and now app) scale.
With the double launch of our mobile choice tools in February, we continue to prove the effectiveness of nimble industry-wide self-regulation: we have more than 120 companies on our Consumer Choice Page today, enabling responsible data collection and use opt-out options that extend to thousands of brands and their online interest-based ads. For mobile apps, DAA has launched AppChoices with 18 early adopters, representing a cross-section of mobile ad tech, applications and ad networks, and extending to myriad iOS and Android compatible mobile devices. Three online app store – Google PlayTM, Apple App StoreSM, and Amazon Store – will enable AppChoices mobile user downloads.
“Industry wide” is what DAA is about: all DAA consumer choice tools – desktop and mobile – scale for those companies that participate in these tools, and for their many clients and customers that these participating companies represent in the advertising ecosystem. As for AppChoices, admittedly we’re just getting started. We exepect for participation to grow over time (as the still-emerging in-app market matures) in much the same way our Consumer Choice Page participation has grown since its launch in 2010, in what was then already a more mature market. The total number of companies collecting and using cross-app data (AppChoices) may or may not match those doing so across Web sites (Consumer Choice Page), but the beauty of self-regulation is that it keeps pace with innovations, trends and marketplace practices.
Suffice to say, our work continues to educate businesses about the DAA Principles, the DAA Icon, our desktop and mobile choice tools, and self-regulation’s role in enabling unprecedented privacy controls for consumers, while enabling innovation. Our independent enforcement partners – the Council of Better Business Bureaus and Direct Marketing Association – will soon set an effective date for our Mobile Guidance, too, in the United States.
February indeed was a milestone month – and I deeply thank all the companies and technology providers who have helped us achieve great steps forward. Still, the breadth, and depth, of self-regulation in our field is dynamic, and the journey is constant, if for no other reason than to keep pace with consumers and how they engage with brands and more relevant content online.