EU bodies prep consumer cookie campaign

Marketing and advertising trade bodies are preparing a major pan-European consumer facing advertising campaign to address growing concerns over the use of digital behavioural advertising by brands.

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Organisations including the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA) are working together to roll out the campaign, which will focus on what behavioural advertising pays for, such as journalism and video sites.

It will also attempt to explain how customers can control the use of data online and raise awareness of the behavioural advertising icon, which was has been appearing over many display ads in recent months for users to find out more details about the information that is collected on them and how it is used, as well as ways to manage and control it via the youronlinechoices.eu website.

The online behavioural advertising market is estimated to be worth between £64m and £95m per year in the UK, according to figures from the Office of Fair Trading, which demonstrates why the industry is so keen to ensure consumers understand its benefits.

Stephan Loerke, managing director of the WFA, told Marketing Week the campaign will also be “indispensible” in its efforts to make EU regulators understand the online advertising ecosystem and how it contributes to wider economic growth. Advertising has fuelled about 15% of growth in GDP for major G20 countries over the past decade, according to McKinsey & Company, with online advertising contributing 16% to profitability.

Activity for the forthcoming campaign will largely be online, with member businesses providing in-kind marketing support. The trade bodies are also exploring the use of other media. An agency has not yet been appointed but the launch is planned for the last quarter of this year.

The work on the campaign comes as research from the IAB and Value Click found that 39% of UK consumers who delete their cookies do so without actually knowing what they are deleting.

The youronlinechoices.eu site is also being revamped this month to include new videos to explain how behavioural advertising works, improved information on the types of companies that use behavioural advertising and an improved feedback process to help answer queries. The UK version on the site received 292,000 visits in June, an increase of 43% month on month, which could be due to the EU Privacy Directive being enforceable in the region from late May this year.

Nick Stringer, director of regulatory affairs at the IAB, says it is hoped the consumer campaign and the relaunch of youronlinechoices.eu will help the advertising icon become “as recognisable as the recycling logo”.

“We want people to interact with the logo and start making more informed choices and to do that we have to really get the word out there and explain to people what it does. Our research [with Value Click] found that people want to know more information [about online advertising] and more transparency will help support businesses,” he adds.

Consumer attitudes to online behavioural advertising

Source: IAB and ValueClick

59% of people would rather see a lower number of relevant ads online than a higher number of less relevant ads

62% of people are concerned about online privacy

36% of people want information about who was showing them a particular ad

19% of people do not take any steps to manage their privacy online

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