Blog piece written by Bianca Siracusa
After having graduated university this summer, I decided to move to Brussels in search for work opportunities in the field of communications and European Affairs. Little did I know I would find myself taking the opportunity to work with EDAA, or the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance, delving into the realm of digital advertising. As someone who is well versed in communications, the opportunity seemed natural to accept, even more so as the world of digital advertising was new to me. And while the industry was new to me, being well versed in communications meant I felt comfortable with and intrigued by the opportunity to bridge data privacy with digital advertising, two areas of immense growth and great importance.
Upon reflection of my experience with EDAA thus far, it has been extremely eye opening to be on the other end of the digital advertising spectrum. No longer am I just an online consumer, instead I have taken on the learning curve to better understand firsthand the European and global industry approaches to digital privacy and data protection and contribute to the field. And while I consider myself a reasonably well-informed consumer, my work with EDAA has shown me that constant innovation is a driving force behind the digital advertising industry, and there is so much more to learn. With this in mind, it is heartening to see that consumer awareness concerning digital privacy and data protection rights is on the rise. As an example, the EDAA’s 2019 activity report highlighted that users of the AdChoices icon had a better understanding of, and were more receptive towards OBA, with 45% stating they held a good understanding of data use, as opposed to only 29% of those users who had not interacted with the AdChoices icon. This raising awareness can also be seen through EDAA’s consumer choice website www.youronlinechoices.eu and just how many individuals use the platform to voice their questions regarding the use of data in digital advertising. While this is an overwhelmingly positive sign that consumers are involved and invested in the matter of digital advertising, the European Industry Self-Regulatory Programme administered by the EDAA is a continuous work in progress, adapting to business innovations and changing user behaviours and expectations, always with the aim to help reduce the consumer trust gap. Overall, it has proven to me to be a valuable initiative to educate and inform consumers and open a multi-stakeholder dialogue with all those we aim to serve.
While I have always been interested in data protection and digital privacy, joining EDAA, and immersing myself into the world of digital advertising, has ignited and developed a deeper interest. To be able to see what goes on behind the scenes and to be able to hear consumers’ voices has only encouraged me to learn as much as I can in the hopes that I can put the knowledge to good use and help others who are navigating the at times complex world of digital advertising.
What would be my key piece of advice to internet users? If you feel yourself at a loss or confused at a first glance, check out EDAA’s new educational resource – and in particular its animation film – for a quick and clear overview of what EDAA has to offer and to understand how you can manage your own online advertising experience.