That Icon That You See? Yeah, You Know Me.

September 29, 2016

Consumers' recognition of the AdChoices Icon -- and understanding of how it gives choice for ads based on their interests -- continues to rise.

One thing I’ve learned from working in the ad industry is that building a brand can be a long and challenging process. The DAA only started that process about six years ago, when the cross-industry program and its AdChoices Icon were first launched, but – happily – we’ve made significant progress since then.

Since our founding, the industry has rallied behind behind ongoing public education initiatives to build awareness of the AdChoices Icon, including a major campaign early in our history. More recently, as the program and its offerings have grown, we’ve updated our educational efforts.  Our newest campaign has secured the support of some of the largest players in the space – including AOL, AppNexus, AT&T, Cox Digital Solutions, Criteo, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Quantcast, RocketFuel, Washington Post Digital, and Xaxis (to date) – all of whom generously have assisted with inventory.

We also have the unique advantage of the broad usage of the Icon itself, as that familiar blue triangle is served more than a trillion times each month to consumers around the world, many of whom are learning about the program through their exposure to and interactions with it. Our new mobile- and user-friendly site also helps explain what the icon means, how consumers benefit, and what control is at their fingertips through the AdChoices Icon.

Over the last few years, there has been increasing evidence that awareness of the Icon has been rising. An annual consumer survey released by TRUSTe in May found that awareness of the AdChoices Icon rose to 42 percent this year, a spectacular doubling from the 21 percent awareness level found in the same survey just two years ago.

Recently, the DAA also commissioned our own internal research to help better understand how consumers perceive the AdChoices Icon and the program behind it. The results of that research are now in, and we wanted to share some of the findings with you.

In a survey* of 1,049 adult consumers conducted in August, we found:

  • More than three in five respondents (61 percent) recognized the AdChoices Icon at least a little, and half (50 percent) said they recognized it a lot or somewhat.
  • When asked what the Icon most likely does, more than half (54 percent) correctly identified its function as giving the user choices about the types of ads they receive.
  • Three in five respondents (61 percent) said that the information presented on a typical interstitial screen from clicking on the icon was very or somewhat useful.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) said it’s very or somewhat easy to understand how to use this type of icon as a way for users to get information and choices about interest-based advertisements.
  • Almost two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) said that seeing the icon would increase their trust in the advertiser on whose ad it appeared either significantly or somewhat.

In short, consumer awareness of the AdChoices Icon is continuing to rise:  the majority of consumers say they understand what it does, believe it provides useful information, and think that it’s easy to understand how to use it.  As I mentioned in my most recent posting, more than 10 million unique visitors have actually exercised choice through the DAA’s choice page. While we’re committed to continuing to educate consumers about the DAA and the AdChoices program, we think these recent findings are a strong testament to how far we’ve come in the first few years of the program.

* Survey conducted via SurveyMonkey from August 27-29, 2016, with a margin of error of +/-4% at a confidence interval of 95%.

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