The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is implementing a raft of new rules concerning online behavioural advertising (OBA) in an attempt to tighten control over the segment and to protect consumer interests, according to a report by the regulator’s website.
The regulations, which took effect yesterday, are intended to ensure that advertising networks, who deal with ads based on consumers’ habits and preferences which have been identified by online searches, are telling the public that they were targeted in this way.
OBA is a type of targeted advertising and includes gathering data from web browsers with the aim of tracking what kind of websites consumers tend to visit and are happy to see. This information is then used by marketers to devise their online commercials so that the likelihood of these ads being opened by this particular computer user is as high as possible.
One of the options for informing consumers about the way data is collected is placing an icon in the corner of the commercial, ASA said. Brands are also required to give consumers the opportunity to regulate targeted ads flow by allowing them to opt out of receiving unsolicited messages.
ASA’s CEO, Guy Parker, believes that the new rules will result in stricter control over OBA and will shed light on the way that advertisers collect information to make their marketing messages more relevant to the targeted audience.
Internet users who have suspicions about the transparency of OBA practices of a particular brand can feel free to approach the ASA. Consumers who keep receiving such ads even after choosing not to can rely on the authority to act on their behalf, the watchdog said.