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What is AdChoices and How Does it Affect Advertisers and Consumers?

What is AdChoices and How Does it Affect Advertisers and Consumers?

Concerns about data privacy, the standard of advertising and consumer targeting are consistently important issues in the digital space.

But one way the advertising industry is trying to address these concerns head on is through AdChoices, as we explore in this blog.

What is AdChoices?

AdChoices is a self-regulatory program for online, internet-based advertising in the United States, Canada and Europe, that is designed to protect internet users’ privacy and give them control over their internet usage data.

It all started back in 2009 when the Federal Trade Commission tasked advertisers with developing a set of industry regulation principles to

empower internet users to manage their own data and have more control over the ads they are shown.”

Advertisers were offered the opportunity to define the terms and standards themselves, leading to the AdChoices program that we know today.

How does it work?

In order to comply with these regulations, advertisers are legally obligated to show an AdChoice icon when they are targeting a user based on cookie behaviour.

The icon is small and unobtrusive, and if a user scrolls over it a link labelled “AdChoices” appears.

When a user clicks the icon (usually found in the top right corner of an online advertisement), they can then learn more about the ad or a website's data collection practices, and be provided with the ability to opt-out of such targeting.

How does AdChoices affect advertisers and consumers?

For advertisers, AdChoices sets an industry standard and benchmark to help ensure the best ads are served.

Importantly too, AdChoices helps improve communication with the consumer. Consumer involvement is crucial in helping to build trust between advertiser and viewer. As eMarketer states,

“In order to boost internet users’ level of comfort with and trust in personalized ads, the industry must continue to increase transparency and inform consumers of their control options.”

For consumers, AdChoices offers greater control, privacy and above all transparency. Being able to see what data a company has and how they’re using it means that they’re no longer in the dark, and can if desired change how their data is used.

In championing transparency and sharing knowledge in this way, advertisers and crucially, consumers, will help shape the advertising industry society wants.


To learn more about the advertising sector, take a look at our resources section below.

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Posted by Ellie Hubble

Ellie is a Content Manager and spends her time reading, writing and getting excited about all things UX, digital and technology.