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Why Educating Consumers is Essential to the Future of Online Advertising

Ever try to explain online advertising to someone? How about Interest-based Advertising “IBA?” We have, and it isn’t easy. That’s because it is a really complex topic, and there’s a lot of inaccurate or misleading information out there.

That is why the NAI believes it is critical to try to help consumers understand IBA, the role it plays on the Internet, the real privacy impacts/threats and the choices every consumer has about whether or not to participate.

We wish to empower the consumer and help them make meaningful choices by providing current information and tools that are easy to understand and use. We not only make it easy for consumers to understand internet-based advertising, but we provide a framework to help businesses honor consumer preferences and act responsibly. Every NAI member company is required to provide consumers with notice and choice, which include opt-out options and comprehensive disclosures on their own websites. 

This summer, we embarked upon an ongoing education campaign where our members were invited to help drive consumer traffic to our recently revamped educational resources on the NAI site. Over the summer alone we saw a significant increase in traffic to our website. 

This translates into a broader consumer understanding that Interest-Based Advertising:

  • Keeps content and services free
  • Provides content and ads that are better matched to their interests
  • Results in fewer intrusive or annoying ads
  • Helps businesses better serve them

And most importantly, The NAI helps consumers understand that they have choices for controlling the collection and use of information about their web browsing activities for IBA purposes.

For NAI members, it’s essential that consumers are informed of these benefits – benefits they enjoy and have come to expect. It builds trust and provides much needed transparency around what is often a very confusing topic. Educating consumers and providing them with meaningful choices allows online advertising companies to continue innovating and thriving. In short, the future of online advertising depends on everyone’s commitment to consumer education.

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