IAB to Conduct Outreach on Behavioral Targeting Ads

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, in conjunction with the ad network trade group Network Advertising Initiative, has announced a new initiative aimed at increasing consumer awareness surrounding behavioral targeting: telling people up front exactly why they are receiving a particular Web ad.

More specifically, the two groups are advocating for publishers and ad networks to run notices alongside banner ads in the form of text links that enable users to find out more information on where that ad came from—and even opt out of receiving similar behavior-based ads in the future. The initiative is being called CLEAR Ad Notice, which stands for “Control Links for Education and Advertising Responsibly.”

To facilitate this effort, the IAB and NAI have released a set of technical standards that advertisers, networks and publishers can utilize to serve a common clickable icon that appears within or next to online ads. Advertisers or publishers can opt to have that icon drive users to a separate Web page or an interstitial that provides a detailed explanation on why a given ad has been served in that case.
 
The hope is that this sort of icon will soon become commonplace in the online media landscape—dramatically increasing transparency—and in turn, consumer awareness about how online advertising works.

The concept of a universal explanatory icon was first born out the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, a document released last summer by a coalition of the marketing world’s top trade groups, including the IAB, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers, Direct Marketing Association, Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Council for Better Business Bureaus.

All of these groups have a common interest- to get out in front of any potential regulation by the U.S. Government.