The advice comes a month before the EU Privacy and Communication Directive comes into force on 26 May after a year-long grace period to prepare for compliance.
Google, which launched a campaign with the Citizens Advice Bureau last year explaining how user data is used in online advertising, has found that giving users “transparency and control” over their data has actually led to them actively providing more information to receive better targeted advertising.
The search giant says that out of every eight people that visits its Ads Preferences Manager, just one will opt out and the other seven will either modify their interests or just view the information.
The Ads Preferences Manager allows consumers to view and edit categories and demographics associated to them by the Google Display Network advertising cookies stored in their browsers, or opt out of the cookies altogether.
A Google spokeswoman says: “The lesson for the industry is that providing clear transparency and choice helps to diffuse fear, uncertainty and doubt.”
Around 80% of brands are thought to have started or completed a cookie audit in order to be compliant with the Directive, according to an ISBA poll, but most have still not implemented consumer-facing consent option on their websites as they weigh up the options.
Nick Stringer, the IAB’s director for regulatory affairs, says to be transparent about user data brands must make sure their communications are meaningful.
“Some websites are just listing all the cookies they collect on users at the moment – but that can mean nothing to the average consumer – instead [brands] should focus on [saying] how collecting user data makes the user experience better.”