Web users could become more comfortable with online behavioral advertising if they believe ad companies adhere to the industry's
self-regulatory principles, according to a study commissioned by the trade group Digital Advertising Alliance.
For the study, researchers asked around 1,000 U.S. adults how their feelings
about behavioral targeting would be affected if ad companies followed a code that, among other requirements, ensured that people could opt out of having their information “collected and used to
make ads more relevant based on [their] Web surfing.”
Nearly one in three respondents -- 31% -- said such a mandate would make them “much” more comfortable with
interest-based advertising, while 30% said it would make them “somewhat” more comfortable.
DAA self-regulatory principles require ad networks to let users opt out of having their
data collected and used for purposes of online behavioral advertising. But the principles allow companies to continue gathering data for some purposes -- including market research
and product development -- even if people opt out.
The survey also revealed that a slight majority of of U.S. adults (51%) say they would be more likely to click on an ad with an
icon that tells users about “ad-related information collection” and lets people opt out. One in four respondents say that an icon would have no effect on their willingness
to click on an ad.
When asked whether the relevancy and usefulness of ads has changed in the last decade, more than one in three respondents -- 35% -- saw no change. Almost the
same proportion -- 32% -- said that ads had improved in relevance and usefulness.