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NAI Releases New Cross-Device Guidance

The NAI is pleased to announce our newly finalized Guidance for NAI Members: Cross-Device Linking (Guidance).  The Guidance was formally released to the NAI membership on May 22, 2017 and goes into effect on June 19, 2017 after a brief implementation period.

What to Know Now

The Guidance formally brings the linking of devices for ad targeting purposes under the scope of the NAI’s compliance and enforcement efforts. It applies the principles of the NAI Codes, including the NAI’s well-known high standards for notice and choice to the linking of devices in the digital advertising space. The NAI Cross-Device Guidance is consistent with the cross-device requirements of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA).

How Cross-Device Advertising Works

To make advertising more effective, Internet advertisers try to present consumers with ads that are relevant and useful.  In order to accomplish this, third parties like NAI member advertising technology companies and digital advertisers collect information across some of the sites consumers visit and apps they use.  [It is important to remember that the information collected is not personally identifiable, such as a name or social security number.  Rather, the information typically includes inferences about consumer interests and demographics.]  Then, the collected information is linked to a consumer’s browser or mobile device so that the best, most interesting ads can be served.

This system, developed over the past twenty years, is keeping pace with today’s digital environment.  Consumers are increasingly accessing the Internet through many different browsers and applications across many different devices.  When people use smartphones, laptops, and tablets, third-party digital advertising companies like NAI members may try to link those devices or browsers in order to better serve targeted ads

For example, an advertiser may seek to display an ad campaign for a product on a user’s laptop browser and again in the same user’s smartphone application. Similarly, an advertiser may be able to attribute a purchase made on a laptop to an ad initially seen on a smartphone as a measure of the effectiveness of an ad campaign.

Self-Regulation’s Role

While technology changes, the NAI’s commitment to strong self-regulation remains steadfast.  The new Guidance spells out that the Codes now apply to members who are engaged in cross-device linking for digital advertising.  With the Guidance in place, consumers can expect the same high level of respect for privacy that has come to be synonymous with membership in the NAI.  In complying with the Guidance, NAI members will provide clear notice of cross-device activity and respect consumer choices.

What to Watch for

Look for a member webinar to be scheduled in the coming weeks to discuss the Guidance. NAI staff will also be available via email or telephone to answer questions or address concerns from NAI members.

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