Latest research shows potential of self-regulation in online advertising industry

EU consumer chief welcomes new online advertising initiative aimed at giving consumers greater transparency and control over online advertising.

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

03 Mar 2016

A senior EU official has welcomed efforts by the online advertising sector to establish more trust and transparency with consumers.

The European Commission's Despina Spanou said such measures were necessary because the majority of people felt "uncomfortable" about businesses using information about their online activity to tailor advertising towards them.

Spanou, the director for consumer affairs in the Commission's justice and consumers directorate, was speaking at a summit in Brussels on Tuesday organised by the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA).


She pointed to data, not yet publicly released, that reveals only 15 per cent of EU consumers felt they had "complete control" when exposed to online advertising.

However, the same survey found that 71 per cent of respondents said there was no alternative to providing personal information as this was an "inevitable part of modern life."

More than 80 per cent of consumers surveyed had been online and 62 per cent had made purchasers via the internet.

Additionally, parents wanted stricter regulation because they said they had found it hard to control their child's online activities.

"These are interesting findings and show, among other things, that while people may have concerns about online marketing they realise that such advertising is now a reality," said Spanou.

In terms of striving for more trust, Spanou said that EU legislation had an important role to play and could be a force for good for the industry, she told a 150-strong audience.

In a keynote address, Spanou also highlighted the European Commission's better regulation package which seeks to acknowledge the role self and co-regulation can play.

Earlier at the summit, EDAA unveiled a new self-regulatory code of conduct aimed specifically at the growing mobile devices market.

Spanou said, "Self-regulation is not always successful but it has great potential. We welcome business initiatives that seek to ensure the compliance of traders with existing rules. The EDAA can assist its members in this task."

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