Data Usage & Control

Executive Summary

Advertising is a vital component of online media.  Advertising, and more specifically interactive advertising, funds content creation and distribution and allows for a richer media experience for the consumer.  How is interactive advertising able to provide relevant ads and tailored content?   Data.   Data, information about online events or user activity, has created new opportunities and corresponding challenges.

Although consumer data has been collected offline for decades by catalog companies, direct marketers and other advertisers to create targeted advertising, information about online user activity is a relatively new and very promising resource. As the value of collecting, aggregating and analyzing data has become more broadly realized and the technology used to collect data has become more sophisticated, new questions have arisen in the industry.  Who may collect data, how data can be used, how to compensate for the transfer of data and how to continue to protect consumer privacy are among the most pressing industry issues. 

Consumer concerns regarding data collection are considered paramount by the interactive advertising industry.  Although the interactive advertising industry is resolutely committed to consumer protection, consumer protection is not the focus of this document.  For detailed information regarding consumer privacy, please see the IAB Privacy Principles, OBA Privacy Principles and the IAB’s “Privacy Matters” campaign. 

It is the aim of this document to address and help resolve the contractual and competitive challenges that surround data usage and collection within the interactive advertising industry.

In 2009 the IAB assembled industry leaders from branded publisher sites, ad networks and data companies to create the Data Usage and Control Taskforce (“Data Taskforce”). The Data Taskforce has the following objectives:

  • Create a comprehensive lexicon of interactive advertising data definitions  
  • Outline the mechanics of interactive advertising and data collection and identify the parties currently participating in the industry
  • Establish the point of view for the selling community – the publishers, advertising networks and others who sell interactive advertising - regarding usage, control and valuation of data
  • Communicate this point of view throughout the advertising ecosystem, which includes advertisers, agencies, data aggregators, publishers and advertising networks
  • Establish a set of industry best practices for data usage and control

The ultimate goal of the Data Taskforce is to define the data landscape as it exists today and to recommend industry best practices to guide the collection and use of data by all parties in the marketplace, consistent with the laws and regulations and the self-regulatory standards that apply. The Data Taskforce believes adoption of these best practices will greatly reduce the uncertainty and confusion that currently exist and will help educate the marketplace on acceptable corporate behavior.