Danilo Labovic
EU Managing Director | TRUSTe

These new rules mean that as of today (4 February) ads presented to UK consumers based on browsing history data (Online Behavioural Advertising OBA), will have to include information within (or near the ad) explaining to consumers that they have been targeted using OBA and provide a way to opt out. These rules are consistent with the existing IAB Europe Self-Regulatory Framework for OBA, but from now on consumer complaints and enforcement will be handled by the UK Advertising Standards Agency.

The TRUSTe 2012 UK Consumer Data Privacy Study showed that 79% of consumers are aware of OBA and 53% of consumers do not like it. However, the research also showed that good privacy practices make a difference – 51% of consumers are more inclined to click on an advertisement that gives them the option to opt out of online behavioural advertising and 55% are more likely to continue to visit websites from publishers and advertisers that give them the option to opt-out.

One of the easiest ways to give consumers the transparency and choice they want, and comply with the new rules, is through a product such as TRUSTed Ads EU.  TRUSTed Ads is the leading, global self-regulatory platform for OBA compliance that enables businesses to seamlessly provide notice and choice within targeted ads through the AdChoices icon.  Consumers that click on the icon can then follow the link to “Set Your Ad Preferences”, and opt out of behaviourally targeted advertising through the TRUSTe-powered or IAB-powered Preference Manager.

Numerous European companies including Adconion; MediaMind; Value Click and Gumtree – have already standardised on the TRUSTed Ads platform collectively serving billions of monthly impressions in Europe each month. TRUSTed Ads EU is authorised as a Provisionally Approved Icon Provider for the European Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA).

These new rules are good news for UK consumers as they will be given greater transparency and control over the targeted ads they receive and, for the online advertising industry, it is a chance to show that self-regulation is a viable option in the EU.

But what’s really new here? Well the main difference is that the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is well-known to consumers and an active enforcer – as their Chief Executive Guy Parker said today: “We’ll be there to make sure that the ad networks stick to the rules.”

If businesses are not compliant with the guidelines as of today, the ASA’s enforcement sanctions could involve remedial action; a formal investigation, leading to the adjudication being published on the ASA website or bringing a company’s continued non-compliance to the attention of a third-party’s potential clients and partners. Further sanctions apply if the third-party is also a signatory to the EDAA mechanism.

So if your business wants to avoid:

  • costly investigations
  • negative media coverage
  • loss of public trust

Then, whether you are a third-party ad network, advertiser, agency or publisher, you need to think about your strategy for providing transparency, notice and choice on OBA to UK consumers. TRUSTe can help.