September 2011 Archives

Keeping Up With The User-Driven Revolution: Q&A with Anna Bager

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Mobile is a user-driven revolution, says Anna Bager, Vice President & General Manager of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence. That’s why over the last 9 months, Bager has worked hard pushing the industry to catch up. The independently funded and staffed unit inside the IAB has opened for comment In-App Ad Guidelines, Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions, and the Networks & Exchanges Quality Assurance Guidelines: Mobile Addenda. It’s produced vital research and educational materials including the Marketer Perspectives on Mobile Advertising, Mobile Buyer’s Guide, Prevailing Mobile In-Application Advertising Formats, and Mobile Web Advertising Measurement Guidelines with the Mobile Marketing Association. In addition, she has also helped launch Mobile Rising Stars.

There’s still a ways to go, however. Bager talks about what more needs to be done and how the industry can accomplish it.

dmexco_2011_j_0809.jpgWhat do you see as the biggest hurdle or problem to overcome in the mobile marketing space?

Users are way more advanced than the companies are. They expect things to work. They expect companies to have a mobile website. They expect to find the app they’re looking for. They are more proactive, they’re searching. Because of how personal it is consumers expect mobile advertising to come to life as a service rather than as straight advertising. We’re not totally there yet. Really, mobile is a user-driven revolution. Marketers are beginning to come on board. They are starting to include mobile into their marketing strategies, which is really where it has to be. It’s really on the agency side that we need better take up and better understanding. We need agencies to really start innovating and promoting mobile to their clients.

What do agencies need to do differently?

They need to organize themselves better around mobile. Often they have a lack of qualified staff. They are sometimes very siloed and not ready to create truly integrated marketing. They need to try to build competency to help their clients develop mobile strategies. Be braver. Be willing to take a little risk.

What should marketers be doing more of?

They should think about mobile holistically and in the long term. Don’t think about it as an experiment. Mobile should be included in their marketing efforts going forward. Think about it in combination with other campaigns, with TV and print. Think about it as an enhancement of products. Mobile can be a very good tool for brand building even though a lot of people think it’s just direct response. You can create apps or other mobile programs that actually enhance the product itself.

How have you managed the consumer privacy issue?

We take privacy very seriously. We just hired a lobbyist in Washington who is going to focus on this 100 percent. We have also been working with the Digital Advertising Alliance, as well as the other trade organizations, to devise a mobile marketing code of conduct. We also need to educate politicians. They need to understand the mobile industry can create jobs; we can help end users. It’s one of the few areas of the economy that is growing so don’t regulate that away. We commit to behaving in a good way, if you commit to letting us live.

If you could snap your fingers and have one mobile marketing innovation come to life what would it be?

It’s not really about industry innovation, but if we had better data rates, such as flat-fee data packages for consumers, it wouldn’t be so costly for people to receive advertising. That would be super good. It would also be great to have unified metrics for mobile, so it’s easier for marketers to plan their campaigns and understand how they performed. This is something we’re working on a lot, and you’ll hear more about in the near future.

Are you working with the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative?

We’re very involved in that. Cross-platform measurement is a very important issue because mobile is not a standalone. It can be, but it works well as a booster making other forms of media more personal and notable to the user.

The Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence has been active for three quarters of a year. Has anything surprised you?

It’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be. Everybody is so involved. I have great members. They are very helpful. They are very much in the mode to support the industry and not just themselves. I think that things look very good for the future.

About the Author

Willow Duttge

Willow Duttge is a writer/marketing consultant for the IAB. She can be reached through



Privacy advocates and regulators have challenged the ad industry to provide meaningful choice when it comes to the collection and use of behavioral data. In response, industry leaders have come together in support of the enhanced ad notice icon, which leads the user to industry wide disclosure and choice options. Although some still question this approach, it is well positioned to have significant industry adoption as a framework for consumer choice on traditional websites.

PrivacyChoice_Policymaker.jpgThe industry is at an earlier stage when it comes to providing notice and choice on mobile devices. The infrastructure delivering mobile ads isn’t as well developed, and the ecosystem is more complex with carriers, devices and operating systems each playing a role. Nevertheless, given the rapid growth expected for mobile advertising, and the heightened privacy concerns associated with location-aware mobile devices, it is imperative that we also focus on how to deliver meaningful choice in this new environment.

The in-ad use of the enhanced ad notice icon faces some obstacles when applied to ads that appear within mobile apps, a growing segment of online ads. Not only does there tend to be less visible real estate in mobile ads, there’s no easy way (like cookies) to store the preference so that it is accessible across or between different apps and the mobile browser. Companies are working on ways to store tracking preferences at the device-level, but to work this will take a new level of cooperation between advertisers, operating system providers, and app makers—each with their own privacy agenda.

Despite these challenges, meaningful choice may actually become easier for ads in mobile apps because they can provide a different choice framework. Unlike typical websites, every app already has a moment of choice before any data collection begins: the moment of installation. Users typically install new apps through a marketplace (like Apple’s App Store) where they search, browse, and select new apps. Each app has a reference page, which can include links to terms of service and privacy information. Notice-and-choice for tracking, possibly even the icon itself, can be provided at this stage in the process of installing an application.

Is it asking too much of mobile app makers to create appropriately titled links and a privacy policy with the right disclosure? In fact, privacy policies are already required of websites under the laws of many states. Even though a minority of apps have a published privacy policy, that can change as privacy disclosure becomes easier and more automated. For example, we recently launched PrivacyChoice Policymaker, a 10-minute guided policy generator for mobile apps. It provides robust first-party privacy policy for the app’s own data collection, but also automatically adds the right disclosure for ad-company tracking. This disclosure includes company-specific opt-outs when available, and can link to any Do Not Track approach that may emerge.

Over time, privacy choices will be embedded more elegantly into mobile apps and operating systems. But as a starting point, every app should have a privacy policy and apps with ads should include robust notice-and-choice for third-party tracking. Ad delivery companies are in the best position to make this happen directly with their publisher clients. If app developers can be asked to take this relatively painless step, choice may even come sooner—and be more meaningful—in mobile apps than it has been so far on the Internet.

About the Author

sp_brock_jim.jpgJim Brock

Jim Brock is Founder and CEO of PrivacyChoice. You can follow him on Twitter @privacychoice.

Continue the discussion on this IAB Ad Ops blog series on Twitter by adding #MeaningfulChoice to your tweets.