Overview: What does it mean to be OBA compliant?

The DAA (Digital Advertising Alliance) has created self-regulatory guidelines for OBA, or online behavioral advertising. What does that mean exactly? It means that ads that utilize behavioral targeting, remarketing technology or frequency capping must adhere to a few rules that let the consumer know how their data is being used. In order to do this, here are the requirements:

  • Inform consumers about data practices through clear, meaningful and prominent notices
  • Display the Advertising Option Icon
  • Prove disclosure on data collection practices
  • Provide method for users to opt out
  • Provide evidence of compliance

These regulations ultimately help the advertiser provide more transparency to the consumer about how their data is being used. Why might this be important? Well, especially with the onslaught of social media, it has become a growing concern of users that a lot of their data is being shared without their knowledge or permission. In fact, a recent post from TechCrunch tackled the subject of friends on Facebook sharing information about their friends unknowingly (by doing things like connecting their Facebook with their mobile contacts)–even people who are not on Facebook currently.

What types of ads do not have to be OBA compliant?

  • Activities of First Parties (Web site publishers / operators) which are limited to their own sites or affiliated sites over which they exercise direct control.
  • Contextual advertising, which is advertising based on the content of the Web page being visited, a consumer’s current visit to a Web page, or a search query.
  • Ad reporting, the collection or use of information for statistical reporting, Web analytics/analysis and advertising metrics.
  • Ad delivery, the distribution or delivery of online advertisements or advertising-related services using Ad Reporting data and not based on user preferences inferred from information collected over time and across non-affiliated Web sites.

What does “self-regulatory” mean exactly?

It means that sites and advertisers adhere to the requirements at-will. There is an emphasis on educating the consumer on what data is available to sites and advertisers and an ethical responsibility for businesses online to be more transparent with customers. This does not mean, however, that sites can simply get away with not complying. Especially larger sites like Facebook, Yelp, Twitter and more. It is important that these sites retain the trust of the consumers that keep them so popular. For example, you can click on a Facebook ad to label why you don’t want to see it anymore–report it as misleading, offensive or simply uninteresting. This feedback actually helps the advertiser and the site determine which ads are best for you and your demographic.

The upside to cookies

Many consumers might be wary of being behaviorally targeted, but the truth is that it can lead you to a more personalized web experience. By collecting details about your web behavior, advertisers and sites are able to show the consumer more granular ads that will be of interest to them. Eventually, news sites will be this way, too, bringing you news that you care most about. All of this information aggregated about you has an upside, in other words.

Agencies and marketers all have to stay informed about the public’s perception of OBA and its regulations. Instilling trust in the consumer is of heavy importance to continue to obtain their business. When consumer trust is gone, so is brand loyalty and business growth.

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