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Behavioral Advertising: Don’t Fear the Opt-Out

What would happen if advertisers and publishers had to provide enhanced notice, outside of the privacy policy, about behavioral advertising?

How will consumers react? Would there be negative effects for advertisers and publishers?

Consumer Perceptions of Behavioral Advertising Choices

2x times as many consumers clicked through on the icon placed on or near advertisements than on the privacy policy during this time.

We found that consumers clicked through on the TRUSTe icon (this was before the industry “forward i” icon was available) at a higher rate than the privacy policy, reflecting increased placements.

Not Many Consumers Changed their Advertising Preferences

Less than 1/10 of 1% of website visitors completely opted out of advertising networks. Many fewer (0.002%) made any changes to their preferences (for example, opting out of one network but not another).

Our take is that consumers valued the education, trusted the information PCH and TRUSTe delivered, and we’re not so alarmed after all.

55% Consumers found the experience – delivered through the widget – “helpful to making an informed decision.”

What Can Businesses Learn About Consumer Advertising Preferences?

Don’t fear the opt out.

While this was only a limited pilot on one site, we don’t expect that the overall opt-outs will change significantly.

And even if the rate were 10x higher (1%!) the impact on online advertising would be reasonable especially if it comes with increased trust.

That said, we are still at the beginning of a process to deliver better notices and choices to consumers and broad based consumer education is still to come.

The rollout of the advertising industry “forward i” on thousands of web sites in addition to publisher-side notice should quickly provide consumers with a recognizable opportunity to access their choices.

Build trust.

This is also an opportunity for publishers to engage with their visitors to build higher levels of confidence.

The notice experience for publishers and advertisers may well be expanded to provide easy consumer access to other choices, for example, choices for retargeting or other kinds of tracking.

Publisher’s may well deliver opt-in choices for consumers on a variety of practices such as location or specific profiles.

Let’s get moving. TrustArc’s TRUSTed Ad Program for advertisers and publishers, with Approved Provider status from the Digital Advertising Alliance, is ready to help advertisers and publishers deliver enhanced notice and choice.

Our solution is highly customizable for advertisers and publishers to deliver key choices in a user experience consumers will trust.

By taking steps now, everyone will benefit be increased learning, greater consumer trust, and demonstrating self regulation and accountability.

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