Why the icon is more important than ever

August 10th, 2018

I’m sure you recognise this icon:

You can find it on banner ads when you are reading your morning news or getting your daily fix of memes whilst procrastinating online. It’s a nifty little tool – noticeable but not overbearing.

In fact, it’s everywhere you see ads on the web, snuggly tucked away in a top or bottom corner of an ad, and it tells us something important; it tells us that the ad before you was put there by an advertiser that has a sense of responsibility, that you can trust the provenance of the ad, and most importantly, that you, as a consumer, have a measure of control over its delivery.

But who or what is behind this initiative?  And more importantly, what does the icon do for us?


The people behind the icon

Since 2012, the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) has been on a journey to promote self-regulation, responsibility, and best practice in data-driven online advertising.

Working together with a broad range of stakeholders across the online advertising industry, and collaborating with the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) and it’s network of well-established national advertising self-regulatory organisations (SROs), the EDAA has been able to improve the consumer experience, while simultaneously promoting a sustainable and competitive European digital economy that is the foundation of everything we have come to love about the Internet– support for open, rich, and diverse content and innovative services, as well as the power to change our lives for the better.


How it works   

The icon puts meaningful transparency, choice and control right into the hands of all internet users.

Every time you are served an ad from a participating company, you are presented with an icon that empowers you to learn more and make an informed choice about the types of ads you see online.

Do you prefer ads which have been generated to reflect your perceived interests, improving the relevance of your browsing experience? Or do you prefer to see ads which are chosen at random (who knows, you might stumble across an interesting product or service once in a while!)?

Screenshot of YOC interface

The point is – it’s your choice. Just give that nifty little icon a click, and it’ll take you to www.youronlinechoices.eu, where you’ll be able to let advertisers know your preferences. The end result is that, when it comes to advertising, by making some straightforward choices you get the browsing experience you want and expect. If you want less relevant ads to be filtered out and replaced with ads delivered at random or perhaps based on the content of the page you’re viewing, then consider it done.  No if’s, and’s, but’s, or maybe’s– just respect for you and your choices.


Why the icon matters

Advertising is about the consumer, which is why EDAA has always provided a consumer-focused service.  We believe that in digital advertising, transparency, choice, and control are what counts to consumers most, ahead of any other consideration–  transparency about where, when, and why ads are served, as well as what data is used to serve them, the choice to opt in or out of tailored advertising, and control over the delivery of digital ads.

We all have a responsibility to ensure the Internet remains a consumer-friendly environment that allows users to enjoy valuable website content often at little or no cost, and the advertising industry for its part is stepping up to the mark, continuously improving its self-regulatory efforts to foster a trusted consumer relationship build on the pillars of transparency, choice and control.

We believe that only through the cooperation of digital advertisers, self-regulatory bodies, and above all, the consumer, we can foster a healthy online advertising ecosystem where consumer rights are placed at the forefront, and balanced against economic considerations.

The icon remains the principal facilitator of this cooperation, forming an integral part of the digital advertising self-regulatory effort in Europe and beyond.

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