Businesses and regulators are focusing on cross-device tracking,
ad blocking technologies and ad fraud, with particular attention to
consumer trust, choice and safety issues.
The cross-device guidance issued by the Digital Advertising
Alliance (DAA) explains that consumer choice regarding multi-site
and cross-app data (i) carries over to, or from, linked browsers
and devices where choice is also exercised and (ii) applies to
transfers of such data to non-affiliates from the corresponding
device or browser where choice is exercised. The guidance also
The Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Digital Marketing
Association already have begun to enforce the guidance. Given a
recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) paper finding "very
little explicit disclosure to consumers about cross-device
tracking," marketers can expect continued scrutiny of
cross-device tracking and related advertising activities.
The threat of ad blocking looms ever larger on publishers,
marketers, and agencies, with some researchers predicting that
industry losses could reach $35 billion by 2020. Research suggests
that over 300 million people now block ads on mobile devices, twice
as many as on desktops.
With legal remedies still uncertain, publishers are seeking
practical ways to stem the tide. Approaches include withholding
content or requiring payment from users employing ad blockers,
content that is harder to block and attempting to improve the user
experience by minimizing ads' intrusiveness and increasing
Industry stakeholders disagree on the appropriateness of using
technology to block ad blockers or reinsert blocked ads, and it is
likely there will be more discussion on whether these defensive
technologies ultimately benefit users (by protecting the ad funding
that supports content) or undermine their digital autonomy.
Finally, ad fraud continues to command the attention of the
advertising industry. With ad fraud losses already estimated by the
Association of National Advertisers to exceed $7 billion –
the "Methbot" botnet was estimated to have cost $3-$5
million in daily video ad revenue – there has been increased
activity in combating ad fraud. These efforts included criminal
enforcement targeted at cyber-fraud, two new "Trustworthy
Accountability Group" programs aimed at fraud and malware and
an increased focus on contractual and technological
Industry stakeholders likely will continue to collaborate in key
areas and implement a variety of protections – whether legal,
contractual or technological – alongside law enforcement to
try to keep pace with a continuously evolving threat.
Companies tracking consumers across
devices should confirm they are complying with the DAA's
Marketers, agencies and publishers
have several practical approaches to mitigating the effects of ad
blocking technologies and should carefully consider their positions
regarding the use of defensive technologies to circumvent ad
Marketers should remain up-to-date
and active in confronting ad fraud, as increasingly sophisticated
threats continue to emerge.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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