As the traditional online behavioral advertising industry engages the issues of consumer privacy and data control through new standardized ad icons and opt-out procedures, the best approach for a mobile privacy protection solution remains unclear.
The in-ad AdChoices icons that signal a display unit use behavioral targeting to find that consumers seem unwieldy on diminutive mobile ads. The number of app, banner and operating system platforms on which a reliable opt-out system must ork is daunting -- even in the world of complex demand-side platforms and real-time targeting.
But cross-platform retargeting ad platform Tapad has partnered with Evidon to start looking for a solution.
Evidon is one of the early developers of notification and opt-out systems that comply with the requirements of the Digital Advertising Alliance program, a self-regulatory regimen led by a collation of online and offline advertising and business associations.
Evidon is one of several services that are implementing the increasingly familiar icons on ads that click into explanations of online targeting and consumer out-out options. In this agreement, Tapad will partner with Evidon to develop ways to notify mobile users of the presence of behavioral targeting on an ad and offering opt-out procedures.
Tapad is a multi-screen ad platform that serves retargeting campaigns onto the Web and mobile, as well as connected TVs. Evidon CEO Scott Meyer says this is the first time a mobile retargeter has been ready to implement the icons and opt-out procedures on mobile platforms across multiple screens.
"We see them as a very strategic partner," Meyer tells Online Media Daily. "Getting mobile privacy right requires managing in-app and mobileW eb targeting." This is a serious, layered challenge. "Deployment of our solution to deliver the AdChoices Icon across mobile Web and in-app advertising in the regular ad-trafficking workflow is an essential step."
Recently, Evidon released the Ghostery app for iOS that helps the user browse anonymously on the mobile Web and detect site trackers.
With ad inventory and users moving across iOS and Android operating systems as well as the mobile Web, both targeting and privacy protection become orders of magnitude more involved than they are on the desktop Web. Tapad CEO Are Traasdahl says that ad targeting on mobile traditionally has been contextual, but tracking technologies now allow for re-targeting and behavioral targeting campaigns to get scale.
"Advanced mobile targeting is a very complicated landscape to navigate," he says. But he insists behavioral targeting at scale is occurring. "We process massive amounts of targeting data monthly and have billions and billions of impressions to apply the targeting data against." Tapad says that about half of its inventory now is served on mobile platforms.
The sheer size of the ad banner on mobile screens presents a challenge for placing a usable AdChoices icon. Traasdahl says that the familiar blue icon can fit on a mobile ad unit and can be tapped independently of the ad creative itself in order to click through to information about its targeting.
The policy and legislative debates over digital privacy have largely taken place around the Web in recent years. The DAA was an attempt by the advertising industry to regulate its own online notice and opt-out practices sufficiently to preempt legal or regulatory controls on the ad industry. The mobile wing of the digital world is only beginning to develop approaches for alerting users when behavioral targeting is being used in order to expose them to an ad and to offer standard opt-out procedures.