Entering 2019, DAA is Self-Regulation that is Responsible, Reasonable and Right for Today

January 23, 2019

2018 marked many milestones in the Digital Advertising Alliance program as we begin a pivotal year ahead in digital advertising.

Image - 2018 Points Ahead to 2019

The year ahead will certainly be one where the digital ecosystem is scrutinized closely -- as U.S. policymakers, both state and federal, look to regulate digital advertising in some form. In doing so, the Digital Advertising Alliance Self-Regulatory Program will be offered as an example of how consumer privacy protections can be successfully paired with industry innovation in the private sector.

We welcome this attention. In less than 10 years, we’ve built a program involving hundreds of companies and thousands of brands that continues to deliver powerful social and economic benefits. Consumers are afforded unparalleled transparency and choice regarding data collection for interest-based advertising – more than 1 trillion times per month globally at Internet and mobile scale through the ubiquitous YourAdChoices icon.

Concurrently, the amazing array of content, conveniences and services provided to consumers – financed by advertising and responsible data collection – has built a Digital Economy that continues to innovate, domestically and globally. U.S. consumers place tremendous value on these benefits, assigning a value of nearly $1200 a year for the free content and services they consume – content they say they might otherwise go without.

As policy makers examine digital marketing, it is paramount that these benefits be recognized and protected. While DAA does not itself lobby – we leave that to our trade association founders – we very much mean to be a living, working example of industry self-regulation at its best, even in an environment where co-regulation could emerge.

In 2018, we accomplished numerous milestones - -on policy, on operations, on communications -- that reflect the dynamism and effectiveness that is DAA self-regulation. As we begin this New Year, it’s worth cataloguing a few of the past year’s highlights:

On Policy…

  • We expanded the scope of DAA Principles for transparency and accountability to extend to digital and mobile express advocacy ads. We also devised – in rapid time – creative guidance for the use of a new Political Ad icon, modeled after our YourAdChoices icon, a concept that has garnered early support by the Maryland Board of Elections. We also launched an interactive Web site which companies can use as a resource where voters can look up registered political advertisers in state and federal sites and databases.
  • The FTC even cited DAA research in its own comments to the NTIA regarding competition in the digital economy. In those comments, the FTC made the point that a blanket opt in approach to digital advertising would endanger the ad-subsidized funding model of the internet.
  • DAA seeks to inform policy makers, explaining how our program serves as a successful self-regulatory model. In Summer 2018, we took this message directly to the Conference of Western Attorneys General at its annual meeting, as well as supporting our trade association founders in their own government communications. In New York, we also met with Senate staff members from both sides of the aisle with help from IAB – providing a briefing on the consumer privacy protections we afford in our field. In Washington, we provided additional briefings with contacts from the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce.
  • Our DAA Summit18 – our sixth annual event of DAA participants – included an address from United Kingdom Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, as well as one of the FTC’s chief global affairs liaisons.

Other accomplishments included...

  • We filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on the efficacy of self-regulation of interest-based advertising in mobile and digital platforms.
  • The DAA offers a model framework for self-regulation for other jurisdictions globally. During 2018, the YourAdChoices icon and program expanded to Argentina, a first in Latin America. U.S. icon licensees can now license the YourAdChoices icon for interest-based ads appearing in that country using the DAA site.
  • In the United States, our own WebChoices tool is newly available in Spanish as well as English, just like AppChoices and YourAdChoices.com before it. So, now, the full suite of YourAdChoices tools is available en Español for marketers who are looking to grow in this important market.

In operations and communications…

  • Two dozen new companies and their brands formally joined the DAA program – either as YourAdChoices icon licensees, and/or as participants in our WebChoices or AppChoices consumer control tools or both.
  • Syndicated columnist Kim Komando, who appears in hundreds of media outlets, described use of DAA choice tools as “easy peasy” in providing instructions to readers about interest-based advertising and how to use our controls.
  • In offline communications, DAA secured consumer educations articles in both English and Spanish that appeared in more than 6,000 community newspapers and web sites.
  • Our DAA Summit18 program also featured participation of nextGen privacy leaders – young practitioners in our field who represent continuity in data stewardship in our businesses and organizations. Complementing their presence was Summit programming dedicated to social aims, organized with the support of 4As.
  • We participated in more than 30 industry conferences and events, among them the first Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada Summit and the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance Summit 2018. In 2019, we are participating at other new events, including MediaPost’s Marketing Politics Conference and knect 365’s Marketing Analytics & Data Science Conference.
  • Our DAA Enforcement in Action 3.0 casebook was published. To date, our two independent Accountability Partners have recorded more than 95 compliance actions, and released six annual reports investigating consumer complaints related to our complaint-reporting mechanisms. Nearly all enforcement actions are solved with companies cooperatively.

These activities happen as a direct result of the investment made by industry participants – brands, publishers, agencies, and ad tech companies – in the DAA program. With critical months ahead, we fully expect 2019 to be our most successful year yet. Effective self-regulation is responsible, reasonable, right for today – and always.

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