Majority of Smartphone Users Concerned About Tracking, But Increasing Opt-Out Awareness Could Boost Trust

Smartphone users don’t like the idea of being served targeted ads on their smartphones – at least, for now. New survey results from Ipsos on behalf of TRUSTe show that 68% of US smartphone users are concerned about the possibility of having their activity tracked to serve them targeted ads.

Study after study has shown that smart device users, as well as the majority of people connected to the Internet in some way, don’t like being tracked without their knowledge or consent, and have concerns about privacy. But this could change in the near future.

This survey also showed that an increasing number of people are aware of the AdChoices icon, which is part of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA). Now, 37% of people are aware of this icon – a notable increase from 21% in the previous year. It’s very possible that as more consumers become aware of the AdChoices icon and realize that ads with this symbol let them opt-out of tracking, that consumer trust in ads will increase. This also underscores the importance for advertisers to be transparent and allow user control and consent when it comes to sharing information.

The survey also showed that one in three (33%) said the information available on AdChoices, along with the OBA opt-out option, would make them feel more positive about the concept of targeted ads. TRUSTed Ads gives consumers more control over their online ad experience by allowing them to opt-out of targeted ads via the DAA AdChoices icon.

See the full press release here. And join TRUSTe, the DAA and the Better Business Bureau for our upcoming webinar on March 9th – 2015 Compliance for Desktop & Mobile Advertising.

Sizmek Earns EDAA Trust Seal


Congrats to Sizmek! Today it was announced that Sizmek, the open ad management company, has earned the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) Trust Seal. The seal indicates Sizmek’s compliance with the EU Self-Regulatory Programme for Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA).

The EDAA Trust Seal enables advertisers and agencies to identify the advertising partners that uphold the leading industry standard when delivering advertisements based on consumers’ inferred interests.

EDAA’s seal was launched on July 15, 2013. That same day TRUSTe was announced as a certification provider of that seal. TRUSTe was the first organization approved by the EDAA to serve both the OBA icon and issue the EDAA Trust Seal. Today, that seal is offered under TRUSTed Ads – EDAA Compliance Programs.

The main purpose of the EDAA is to license the use of the OBA icon to companies involved in online behavioral advertising across Europe. TRUSTe’s role as an EDAA-approved certification provider is to independently assess company compliance with the European Principles on OBA and issue the EDAA Trust Seal to companies that can demonstrate they meet the standards required.

The European Principles on OBA are actively enforced by national self-regulatory organizations (SROs) across Europe based on the consumer complaints they receive.

According to research commissioned in 2014 by TRUSTe and the EDAA, 26% of British consumers have seen the OBA icon – twice as many compared to 2012.

You can read more about Sizmek’s EDAA Trust Seal here.

BBB to Enforce Compliance with OBA Practices in Native Ads


According to Lexology, native advertising is “expected to grow from $7.9 billion in spending this year to $21 billion by 2018.” When using other forms of interest-based advertising, companies are strongly encouraged to abide by the self-regulatory Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA) principles that issue compliance guidelines, and champion transparency and consumer control. Now, native advertising is being added to the list of advertising tactics that the BBB says should comply as well. Native advertising is the best way for websites to bring in revenue, so it’s essential companies comply with best practices and regulations, as this type of advertising will only continue to grow.

Beginning in January, the Better Business Bureau will be enforcing rules requiring privacy disclosures for native ads. The BBB stated last month that interest-based native ads will be required to follow the self-regulatory guidelines of the OBA principles and in addition, native ads will require a privacy disclosure. The BBB enforces the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Principles for OBA. The DAA is a non-profit group that works with businesses, public policy groups and public officials to create best practices for advertising.


CBBB Data Collection Compliance Effort — What You Need To Know

Recently, the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) announced that they are stepping up their enforcement efforts to ensure businesses adhere to the Digital Advertising Association (DAA) Self-Regulatory Principles (see examples). The CBBB is reviewing websites that allow 3rd parties to collect data for OBA purposes for compliance with the enhanced notice requirements. Companies who may be in violation of the Principles have been notified by the CBBB. Industry associations, like the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), are taking note of the CBBB’s announcement.

The CBBB along with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), administers the Online Interest-Based Advertising (OBA) Accountability Program (Accountability Program) on behalf of the DAA.  In order to comply with the self-regulatory program, an “enhanced” notice — in the form of a separate link — must be on every page where ad networks or other third parties collect information for OBA purposes.  More specifically,

  • That link must be clear, conspicuous, separate from the privacy policy and labeled as “Why did I get this ad,” “AdChoices” or “Interest-Based Ads”. This link must lead to a mechanism where consumers can opt-out of OBA.  Example:
  • The “enhanced notice” link takes consumers to information explaining the OBA collection practices and provides access to a consumer choice opt-out option.

Internet-based ads or Ad Choices – how does it work from TRUSTe.

If your company collects information for OBA purposes, review your organization’s data practices to determine if compliance with the DAA Self Regulatory requirements is necessary.  TRUSTe can offer your company a privacy risk assessment and support with our privacy technology including TRUSTed Ads, our comprehensive OBA compliance control solution, and TRUSTed Website Monitoring, our advanced website tracker detection and management tool.