TrustArc Blog

Self-Regulation Meets Video Advertising at OMMA Global

October 10, 2011

Jalal Nasir
Director of Product Management | TRUSTe

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the OMMA Global Event held in NYC with Jason Shulman, VP of Ad Sales at Almost 150 people attended the session, with representatives from all sides of the ad ecosystem, including agencies, publishers and intermediaries.

The focus of our discussion was two-fold:

1)   AdChoices/self-regulation evolution
2)   AdChoices experience extension to other mediums, specifically video advertising.

It was an extremely engaged audience, and below I’ve included some highlights of our discussion:

1. Self-Regulatory/AdChoices evolution

In the past couple of months various pundits have claimed that this self-regulatory initiative won’t work or that its adoption rate will be too slow, relegating it to a “lipstick on the privacy pig” effort. Others called it a great first step toward addressing the consumer privacy equation and pointed to its growth as a success metric (3% on all display ads back in May versus 11% last month).

While the debate continues, the team at TRUSTe ventured out to find the opinions of the people that matter the most in this space: consumers.

I shared the results of a behavioral advertising research survey that TRUSTe conducted in Q2 of this year with the audience. The goal of this survey was to find out:

Simply put, we wanted to do a gap analysis between consumer’s perception of OBA and actual OBA practices.

The most important point that I shared with the audience relates to consumer awareness: if consumers don’t understand a particular advertising concept, they will assume the worst.

Since cookie tracking and online data collection are not necessarily visible to the naked eye (in the browser), consumers expect that their personally identifiable information (PII) is compromised in the process.

While those in the advertising community know that’s not true in most cases, consumers don’t, and this uncertainty contributes to their discomfort with behavioral advertising as a concept.

How much can education and awareness help? A lot, we found. In our survey favorability toward behavioral advertising increased 100 percent among consumers when we provided assurances that OBA did not compromise their PII.

Although the AdChoices/self-regulatory initiative is a great first step in facilitating transparency and control in the web ecosystem, the ad industry needs to do much more to educate consumers and make their practices more transparent.

2) Extending Self-Regulation Beyond Banner Advertising

Video advertising is one of the fastest growing segments of the online advertising space, as Jason noted in his presentation. Budgets are being increasingly allocated towards OBA video spend and impressions have grown nearly 72% in the first six months of this year:

Although the AdChoices movement has picked up decent traction in the banner advertising world, scant attention and technical innovation has gone into the task of extending the AdChoices functionality to the video ads space.

Seeing this gap, TRUSTe teamed up with this past August to launch the industry’s first solution to power the AdChoices experience for in-stream video ads.

In-stream video ad implementations, unlike banner ads, pose unique challenges associated with javascript integration. TRUSTe has engineered a technology framework, however, that makes video ad integration a seamless experience.  TRUSTe’s video solution enables marketers and networks to serve OBA notice/choice via the AdChoices icon experience, which can run at anytime as well as anywhere in the in-stream video ad (including the standard top right location). The implementation provides the same level of control over brand messaging, user interaction and analytics as the banner ads solution.

TRUSTe technology also provides customizations specific to the in-stream video advertising experience, including pausing the ad if the icon is interacted with and resuming the ad when the AdChoices enhanced notice is collapsed.

Here are some screenshots I shared in the presentation:

Also, TRUSTe is the first technology solution provider to offer the AdChoices experience in a VPAID and VAST compliant video environment.

Overall, OMMA global was a great event and I want to thank Jason Shulman (and the team) and the OMMA Global team for letting us share our findings.