2015 was a year of many challenges for digital advertising. The industry has been working hard to build a better experience to minimise those users who wish to block ads but who still want access to the many great benefits the advertising funded internet offers. Giving European citizens greater transparency and control over advertising data via the EU programme (as well as in places such as the US and Canada) is a big part of this and lies at the heart of the IAB’s global LEAN initiative (see: www.iab.com/iab-tech-lab-solutions).
The 2015 Activity Report highlights how people continue to be aware of and use the advertising privacy tools available to them, such as via the icon. This is demonstrated by the research the EDAA and TRUSTe conducted across 13 EU markets (see page 12). Among all the adults surveyed, 40% were aware of the icon in Portugal and in Great Britain awareness has doubled from 13% in 2012 to 28% in 2015. The work continues in an ever-changing market and uncertain European regulatory environment.
In December, policy-makers agreed a new EU data protection law, the General Data Protection Regulation, which – when it is applied from 25 May 2018 – will present challenges but also opportunities for data-driven businesses. I hope the programme will play a significant role in promoting good privacy practice in this new climate, encouraging investment in privacy whilst enabling advertising innovation to the benefit of the market and users themselves.