The Dreaded Ten Letter Word: Behavioral – Following the Principles. Part 2 of 2.

Last week I broke down cookies and what advertisers do with them.  This week we’ll dive into how all of this will get regulated and what it means for consumers and advertising agencies.

Okay, so back to what I was talking about before: regulation.  John Kerry and John McCain have come together (really) to draft a Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights that would limit what advertising companies could track and how they could use the information.  The 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) feels that having this law could potentially limit technological advancement of e-commerce and limit the industry.  I tend to agree.  We have no idea the capability of targeting that will be available in the future – if we are forced to maintain the status quo or break a law, we’ll remain right where we at.

Which is why the 4A’s, in conjunction with a bunch of other advertising associations, has come together and formed the Digital Advertising Alliance.  They will attempt to enforce self-regulation on the industry and provide principles that anyone who advertises must follow or face consequences.  Some of this self-regulation is about informing consumers about what we know about them, but also about security and accountability. 


The reason I know about all of this is because the 4A’s just held a webinar a couple of weeks ago, and again last week, on what the advertising industry needs to do to comply with the self-regulation.  And I thought sharing this information would be useful to consumers (just doing my part) as well as other advertising professionals who do any behavioral targeting at all (if I have to do it because I know about it, now you have to do it to because you know about it).

What this Means for Consumers

What you’ll start seeing in the top right corner of banner ads will be a little icon that once you roll over or click on it either a little screen will roll down into the ad or a pop-up window will want to come up.  If you haven’t enabled your pop-up blocker, what you will see is some language to the effect of “hi-ya! We served you an ad and if you want to know why, we’d like to tell you.  Click here to see what we know about you.  Or if you want to know about the network we used to serve you the ad and the technology used to track you, click here, too.”  Or something friendly like that.

If you are curious to see what we’ve collected and click, you’ll be surprised at how accurate they can get.  On that page, you’re actually going to be allowed to remove information, change any inaccurate information, or even give us more information!  (Or you can opt out completely, but I didn’t tell you that nor do I recommend it.)  How awesome is that?!?

My boss was shopping for a watch on his laptop and after the webinar he saw another watch ad and it had the icon on it.  When he clicked through he found out the network knew he was interested in soccer, travel, he was male, and that he was watch shopping.  Since he had just bought a watch a couple of weeks ago, he unchecked that box so that he won’t get any more ads for it.   Easy.

What This Means for Ad Agencies

We’re still learning the how to’s ourselves, but if you didn’t get to see the presentation, click here for a copy of it.

What I did find out is that no matter what, we need to comply.  There are a few ways to do it and I like one way more than the other two.  No matter which option you choose, you’ll have to pay money in order to license the use of the icon (still haven’t figured out if it’s better to buy it as a license for all clients or to have each client buy their own so they can take it with them).  The first is that the DAA has approved three vendors to overlay and serve the little icon and drop down window or pop-up window, depending on your preference.  They charge a separate CPM on top of our normal ad serving CPMs.  The second option is to have the network or publisher you’re using serve behavioral targeted ads.  I think that gets cumbersome because we could be using a few different networks at one time and it would get messy trying to comply with all of them and their different requirements for materials.  The last is that if your ad agency has their own ad serving technology, you can serve it however you want, you just have to make sure you comply with everything required.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me a note.  I’ve also hot-linked a few things in this post and added them to the links on the right.

Happy surfing!

2 thoughts on “The Dreaded Ten Letter Word: Behavioral – Following the Principles. Part 2 of 2.”

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