The rapid evolution of digital media has created new opportunities and avenues for advertising and marketing. Fuelled by the proliferation of devices to access digital media, this has led to the exponential growth of digital advertising.
Digital media growth is estimated at 4.5 trillion online ads served annually with digital media spend at 48% growth in 2010. An increasing portion of advertising stems from businesses employing Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) to tailor advertising for Internet users. Though an innovative resource, OBA raises concern with regards to consumer privacy and data protection. Such implications are important considerations for responsible communications.
The ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising seeks to address these issues in the 2011 Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice, with an entirely new chapter on digital interactive media. It includes the first globally applicable rules for OBA. The Code provides ethical guidelines to protect consumers and encourages businesses to achieve socially responsible standards.
The Code has integrated rules that apply to marketing communications using digital interactive media throughout the guidelines. There is also an entirely updated section dealing with issues specific to digital interactive media techniques and platforms. Code self-regulation on use of digital interactive media includes:
As of 2011, the Code addresses responsibility in the use of online behavioural targeting in the delivery of advertising.
Definition: OBA refers to the practice of collecting information about a user’s online activity over time, on a particular device and across different, unrelated websites, in order to deliver advertisements tailored to that user’s interests and preferences.
Code guidance on use of OBA by website operators or third parties on a non-affiliated website includes:
In addition to the guidance offered in the Code, The ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising brings experts together to consider new issues raised by digital marketing techniques or platforms to help inform and advise policy makers on global business perspectives and recommendations. The Working Group on Digital Media developed a Resource Guide for Self-Regulation of Online Behavioural Advertising which is a useful companion piece to help companies and trade associations self-regulation online behavioural advertising (OBA) using the global principles published in the Code.