EDAA wins prestigious European Research Awards for unravelling consumer attitudes and behaviour

EDAA wins prestigious European Research Awards for unravelling consumer attitudes and behaviour

‘Your Online Choices: Your Voice, Your Choice’ highlighted the necessity for the digital advertising industry to adopt a consumer-centric approach.

EDAA was thrilled to be able to demonstrate its leadership in the advertising community once again, whilst being recognised for its ground-breaking consumer-centric research when it was crowned as the 2023 winner of the Research Award in the Consumers Attitudes and Behaviour category at IAB Interact.

The EDAA launched the innovative consumer engagement study Your Online Voices: Your Voice, Your Choice in collaboration with the independent people participation and strategy agency Clever Together, with the overarching objective to understand consumers’ perceptions, expectations and changing needs in relation to digital advertising. For the first time, via this new method of engagement, consumers were empowered and given a real and meaningful voice in the role of digital advertising. This first-of-its-kind research at such scale, covered genuine consumer feelings, from hopes to fears and expectations and everything in between, and gleaned over 25,000 data points from active consumer conversations across five European markets (the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, and Latvia). The Award was received by Martina Gerli, Project Coordinator, on behalf of the EDAA and Clever Together teams.

The announcement of EDAA as the winner of the Research Awards 2023 serves as a resounding confirmation of the crucial role that actively listening to consumers plays in shaping the future of online advertising. The ‘Your Online Voices’ research reflects our deep commitment to understanding and meeting the needs of European consumers.

This Award not only recognises the outstanding impact of EDAA’s research but also reinforces the importance of consumer-centric approaches within the digital advertising industry. It serves as a reminder that responsible practices and trust-building initiatives are essential for sustainable growth in our ever-evolving ecosystem.

Building DSA-forward solutions

Armed with this direct consumer insight, EDAA is currently developing solutions for the challenges that lie ahead and contributing to a more inclusive, transparent, and consumer-driven online advertising landscape. By leveraging the insights gained from our research, we aim to facilitate stronger connections between the industry and consumers, fostering an environment where consumer needs and expectations are valued and respected.

In fact, the longstanding experience of the EDAA and the new programme developments currently in the pipeline, geared towards addressing the heightened online advertising transparency requirements of the Digital Services Act, prove that EDAA is ready to raise the bar once again. The recognition received at IAB Interact acknowledges EDAA’s work as a cross-industry and consumer-facing organisation, that strives for more responsible and standardised practices across the industry ecosystem. 

Alongside marketing trends and analyses, the event turned the spotlight on EU policy developments and the issue of trust and responsibility between industry and regulators. When asked about their preferred contact avenues to discuss DSA Art. 26 implementation, the three regulators on stage (a representative from the European Commission, a representative from the Spanish DPA and the newly appointed Digital Services Coordinator from France) called for multistakeholder dialogue and industry involvement in self- and co-regulation through soft law instruments, such as voluntary standards and codes of conduct. Above and beyond these really useful regulatory insights, we need to layer on top the considerable technical and legal complexities connected to DSA Art. 26 implementation.

Strong recognition for EDAA’s approach to industry best-practice

The positive recognition of self-regulatory standards coming from regulators is nothing new. MEP Eva Maydell at the EDAA Summit in 2021 commended EDAA for the work we have done on advertising choices and finding the balance between consumers and industry. Guido Scorza of the Garante at the same event commented on the significant scope for self-regulation to play a vital role within the context of the new DSA.

The crucial role of self-regulatory initiatives, and among them the EDAA Programme on Data-Driven Advertising and its “Trust Seal”, was highlighted by several other speakers at IAB Interact, notably representatives from Google and Virtual Minds. This continued the strong support and traction we see right across the digital advertising industry for our best practice principles and guidance when it comes to interest-based ads.

Along with the many participants that are seeking ways to demonstrate their responsible business practices, the EDAA offers simple, intuitive and discreet means for consumers to take charge of their online advertising preferences. It is our participants that help drive our work forward on a day-to-day basis, with these companies leading the charge for a more responsible and sustainable digital advertising ecosystem.

Effective communication within the industry and a harmonised approach towards regulatory requirements will be essential in earning the trust of regulators and consumers alike, while ensuring viable implementation solutions and a consistent transparency experience online.

As the digital advertising industry continues to evolve, the importance of responsibility and trust cannot be overstated. EDAA’s Research Award serves as a sign for the industry to actively listen, adapt, and prioritise the interest of consumers. Embracing this new era of responsibility and trust will enable us to collectively shape a brighter future for online advertising, built on the foundation of consumer empowerment and meaningful engagement.

The research

In March 2022, EDAA launched an innovative consumer engagement study in collaboration with the independent people participation and strategy agency Clever Together, with the overarching objective to understand consumers’ perceptions, expectations and changing needs in relation to digital advertising. For the first time, consumers were given a direct channel to the industry through which to voice their ideas and experiences with data-driven advertising. The engagement was undertaken with the intention to inform the evolution of industry-wide, pan-
European standards and best practice, at the intersect of data ethics and digital advertising, across all European markets.

With over 1100 people actively participating from five European markets (the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Latvia) and over 25,000 data points gathered, the study provided some valuable insights on European consumers’ expectations, needs and ideas.

Key results from the study:

  • European consumers feel overwhelmed by the amount of ads they see and data collected about them, worried about having their data misused to manipulate them, and irritated by intrusive ads and their lack of control.
  • Levels of trust in online advertising are low and driven by consumers’ level of familiarity with advertising actors.
  • Despite over 50% of consumers indicating they do not seek additional information (contradicting existing research), consumers (80%) want meaningful control over targeting and privacy.
  • Consumers want better-quality ads, including greater transparency on how their data is used, whom to trust, and what other controls are available.

About our partner Clever Together

Clever Together works to put people’s expertise and lived experiences at the heart of decision-making and has two core business units that develop and deploy unique insights, methods and people participation technologies to ensure people have voice and leaders act with more wisdom. The Clever Together Conversations team creates psychologically safe digital and physical spaces, where the voices of people, en-masse, are brought to the centre of change, understanding and decision-making. The Clever Together Thought Partners team works with leaders to take personal responsibility as they seek to enable meaningful positive humane change, by making sense of and navigating complexity.