On 15 November 2022, the EDAA held its annual Summit, themed “From choices to voices: Transparency in action”.
This was an especially meaningful theme for us. It tells of our aspirations to put the consumer voice at the heart of our efforts; to move further from static consumer choices to a more dynamic, interactive, inclusive, and action-oriented model. I’m pleased to say the event was a huge success, with over 110 diverse stakeholders coming together in London and engaging on core issues spanning data privacy, ethics, and responsibility in digital advertising.
We also took this opportunity to celebrate EDAA’s 10th anniversary in the picturesque Royal Horseguards Hotel, where we welcomed speakers from around the world, who contributed to insightful keynotes and conversations on the past, present, and future of online advertising.
Regulators, digital advertising companies, trade associations, research agencies, recognised authors, and many more representatives, all contributed diverse and often controversial opinions to the debates.
For this blog, I’d like to focus on what I personally took away as the five key themes emanating from the discussions, from which a series of learnings can be drawn:
- The EDAA is gearing up for the Digital Services Act (DSA).
Over the past year, the DSA has applied further pressure on the digital advertising ecosystem, as it requires (cf. Art. 26, Rec. 52, …) enhanced consumer-facing transparency on ads that are being displayed. The EDAA endeavours to turn this challenge into opportunities that deliver value for all stakeholders, responding to the provisions of this new regulation by delivering transparency in a way that companies can address consistently in a harmonised manner and that can improve the end consumer’s digital advertising experience. It is important to adopt an industry-wide approach to respond to the challenges of the DSA, and this collaborative structure has always been a centrepiece of EDAA’s practices and offering.
- Regulatory changes call for global cooperation.
In the UK, new regulatory developments, such as the Online Safety Bill, are now under discussion. The EU and the UK have distinct approaches towards data privacy and other current key issues that concern the digital sphere. Will these regimes compete or collaborate – and what is in the best interest of concerned stakeholders? We heard wide-ranging views at the Summit but one thing was clear: such differences call for a deeper collaboration in order to succeed and be effective.
Outside the European continent as well, and specifically in Argentina, Canada and the US, self-regulation is busy adapting to new changes and regulations. Although there are jurisdictional differences and challenges specific to our global partners, we are always pleased to cooperate, engage, and learn from the wider DAA network and beyond, with the aim to make self-regulation increasingly effective across the globe. We are thrilled that our Summit was chosen by our global DAA partners to reveal the imminent expansion of the ‘AdChoices’ Programme in India!
- Transparency and control are priorities for savvy consumers.
The EDAA Summit revealed the extraordinary, first-of-its-kind consumer research in the shape of direct and deliberative conversations with consumers about their expectations and wishes of digital advertising, and how important it is to give people real, meaningful and informed choice over what ads they’re shown. Consumers demand more transparency and information on how their data is used and want to learn more about how the system works, and they would want to have more control over their data shared online. In fact, almost 80% of consumers would like to have the option to turn on and off data-driven advertising. They call for more control over their preferences and choice on whom to give or revoke permission. A bold approach through potentially transformative research insights, the EDAA looks forward to working across the industry over the coming months to bring forth critical improvements called for by the very consumers the advertising industry aims to serve.
- Collaboration around a principles-based approach will win the day.
The EDAA is ideally positioned to address the concerns of consumers and meet their needs, as it has been doing over the past 10 years, and serves the whole digital advertising ecosystem, being the only organisation that brings together all actors from the industry around the same table. Robert Madelin (former Director General of DG Connect who led the EU Multi-Stakeholder Round Table process that led to the creation of the EDAA in line with regulators’ expectations) commented 10-years-on: “The key to success [for the EDAA] will be to go on doing it in the manner that you have done it so far”. As the Digital Services Act, but also the technology innovation are challenging the ecosystem, with the joint effort of the whole industry and focusing on consumers’ experience and user expectations, we will continue to succeed with our purpose of delivering more transparency, choice and control to consumers in an ever changing and evolving context.
- EDAA’s experience and credibility to guide you for the next decade.
In the past decade we have been able to achieve so much thanks to the steadfast commitment and support from the industry and our partners. Since 2012, hundreds of companies have signed to the EDAA Self-Regulatory Programme, over half a trillion AdChoices Icons have been delivered on ads and youronlinechoices.eu has received over 218 million visits since its creation. We are proud of these accomplishments, and we look forward to the next 10 years of activity.
It has been a pleasure to welcome so many people and celebrate such an important milestone and we can’t wait to update you further about our progress. If you’d like to get more actively involved with our work around ad transparency, choices and controls, and/or market and consumer education, don’t hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to everyone who joined! The pictures and videos of the EDAA Summit 2022 are available on the event website.
Federica Detomas, Communications Coordinator – EDAA