Behavioral advertising refers to the use of information to predict the types of products or services of greatest interest to a particular consumer. Online behavioral advertising takes two forms. “First party” behavioral advertising refers to situations in which a website uses information that it obtains when interacting with a visitor. “Third party” behavioral advertising refers to situations in which a company permits others to place tracking cookies on the computers of people who visit the site, so that those individuals can be monitored across a behavioral advertising network.
Two self-regulatory associations – the Network Advertising Initiative (“NAI”) and the Digital Advertising Alliance (“DAA”) – have created standards for companies engaged in third party online behavioral advertising, as well as promoted mechanisms for consumers to opt-out of being tracked. In addition to the self-regulatory effort, on January 1, 2014, a California statute went into effect that could be interpreted as requiring websites to notify consumers if they permit third party behavioral advertising. The following provides a snapshot of information concerning behavioral advertising.
Number of state statutes that may require companies to disclose the use of third party behavioral advertising.
Number of companies that are members of NAI.
Number of companies that are members of DAA.
Number of references on FTC’s website to “behavioral advertising”
The number of tracking cookies placed by the top 5 retailers on their websites.
What to think about when evaluating your organization’s online behavioral advertising practices:
1. Cal Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 22575(b)(5)-(7); Del. Code 1204C
2. Companies listed on http://www.networkadvertising.org/participating-networks as of May 2016.
3. Companies listed on http://www.aboutads.info/participating as of May 2016.
4. Based upon Google search restricted to FTC.gov conducted in May 2016.
5. Top 5 eCommerce retailers as identified by the National Retail Federation in May of 2016. Quantity of cookies identified by Ghostery on retailer home page on May 6, 2016.