On the Go: Europeans Gather Momentum in Global & Mobile Effort to Advance Interest-Based Advertising

November 6, 2013

Fresh off the recent announcement of the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada taking shape with its self-regulation efforts on behalf of interest-based advertising (IBA), our colleagues in Europe held a multi-day workshop on IBA recently under the aegis of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (in which the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance or EDAA participates) and was joined by Advertising Standards Canada, which will enforce the DAAC’s Principles for IBA).  During the event, discussions took place among Self-Regulatory Organizations right across the European Union and European Economic Area about interest-based advertising, IBA in mobile environments, and accountability mechanisms for enforcing Self-Regulatory Principles within these jurisdictions. The Advertising Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs), which will provide independent complaint handling and enforcement across Europe, were eager to learn more about IBA and how to handle complaints and measure compliance. SRO representatives from other nations – USA, Mexico and Colombia, for example – also were present.

We, the U.S.-based Digital Advertising Alliance, were fortunate to participate in the exchange, alongside one of our enforcement partners, the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB). In fact, the Europeans were very curious about our experiences to date, particularly as we’ve announced this past summer the initial industry education phase of our Mobile Guidance.

At this juncture, we are undertaking a robust effort state-side, ahead of us, with Webinars to educate our participants on how to adapt our Principles to various mobile platforms and the three categories of data of which our Mobile Guidance addresses:  cross-app data, precise location data and personal directory data.

We also are moving forward with the development of an industry-wide consumer mobile choice platform.

Europeans also have their own consumer choice interface for interest-based ads: https://youronlinechoices.eu/ (and Canadians as well: https://youradchoices.ca/en/tools )

Each of these regions of the world – with hopefully more to come in 2014 – is carrying self-regulation for consumer privacy protection very seriously, while enabling more relevance in digital marketing that interest-based ads deliver to consumers and brands globally. Having colleagues in-country who operate independent self-reg programs helps to boost the credibility of the DAA effort, writ large, as well as creating a common Principles-based approach to transparency and control (and enforcement) on the Web and in mobile for many of our multi-national participants.

And I bring up enforcement in particular, because the best self-regulation in the world needs an impartial accountability mechanism, a place to go where Net and Mobile Users (consumers) can take complaints and get them resolved. In the U.S., we have CBBB and the Direct Marketing Association taking inquiries directly – who investigate and enforce our Principles so there is industry adherence across the board (whether or not, companies or organizations are DAA Participants or otherwise). 

While in Europe, Genie Barton, Vice President and Director, Online Interest-Based Accountability Program and Mobile Marketing Initiatives, Council of Better Business Bureaus, provided EASA workshop participants with a brief overview of CBBB’s 26 enforcement actions announced to date and how the Accountability Program monitors industry and reinvestigates possible compliance issues. She also discussed how industry monitoring, investigation and reporting may take shape once our Mobile Guidance, stateside, moves from its implementation phase to enforcement phase. (In all its ongoing accountability efforts, CBBB – and DMA for that matter – operate completely independent from DAA, and we rely on this independence as a self-regulation necessity and hallmark.)

Genie shared with me her own thoughts on the conference:

“It was wonderful to meet other self-regulatory compliance organizations from such a variety of countries, all trying to understand how to best fulfill their new responsibilities to ensure compliance with the European Principles on OBA [online behavioral advertising, or interest-based ads] in their respective jurisdictions. It was a ‘world-wind’ conference, in which we spoke in four workshop sessions within two days. The SROs were eager to learn about the U.S. experience and share their own. This vibrant exchange of information demonstrated that those of us who form the global self-regulatory community can learn a great deal from one another. An exciting take-away from the conference was the formation of a working group comprised of a number of the largest SROs that are members of EASA—from the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, and Canada, with the U.S. as a key facilitator — which will work together to ensure that there is a common understanding of the requirements for compliance with the Principles across all jurisdictions.  Rather than facing a multitude of interpretations of the Principles in different countries, we hope that this working group will be able to smooth out and minimize differences in enforcement across all countries that have adopted IBA self-regulation.”

We welcome EDAA’s and EASA’s continued efforts on behalf of interest-based ads. After all, brand marketing is increasingly global and mobile – crossing borders and screens – just as consumers and business users do, too. Relevant marketing fuels customer engagement in this borderless, multi-screen world.

We thank our European colleagues for including DAA and its Accountability Partner in its recent workshops.

Back to Top