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IAB Europe releases behavioural advertising framework

Categories: Advertising, Internet
IAB Europe releases behavioural advertising framework. Photo: Alain Heureux, president, IAB Europe

IAB Europe releases behavioural advertising framework. Photo: Alain Heureux, president, IAB Europe

Google, Microsoft, AOL, Guardian News & Media and The Irish Times are among the companies that have signed up to a new cross-European self-regulatory framework for online behavioural advertising (OBA) that will see ads that target users based on previous internet activity being identified by a special icon.

Developed by IAB Europe, the framework aims to improve transparency and consumer control when ads are delivered using OBA.

By June 2012, all OBA-based display advertisements on the websites that have signed up to the framework will have an icon indicating that behavioural advertising is being used. If users click on the icon, which is currently being trialled in the UK, they’ll be directed to a company site with more information and they'll have the ability to turn off OBA ads. They will also have the option of going to a new pan-European website,, which provides further information on OBA in the relevant language and a tool to manage data preferences, including turning off OBA with just a few clicks.

According to IAB Europe, the major practical achievement of the framework is that it provides full transparency and control to users without limiting their browsing experience.

“Online advertising techniques require the trust of consumers. The OBA framework will introduce cross-industry self-regulation for behavioural advertising across Europe, backed up by a compliant and enforcement mechanism,” said Alain Heureux, president, IAB Europe. “This initiative is the culmination of 18 months planning and collaboration with European organisations representing advertisers, agencies, publishers and advertising standards.”

“The agreed measures focus on providing consumers with meaningful control over their information, while providing them with easy to understand information to exercise control in an informed way,” said Stephan Noller, chairman, Policy Committee, IAB Europe and CEO of

“The challenge is to self-regulate in a manner that squares the circle of more user control without slowing-down internet browsing,” said Kimon Zorbas, vice president, IAB Europe. “Any disruption of the surfing activity would negatively impact the value of the services users receive, which has been estimated in a McKinsey report to be €100bn in 2010 for Europe and the US and is expected to grow to EUR 190 by 2015. We are looking forward to focusing on unleashing Europe’s potential to fund content and services with the support of policy makers in Europe."

IAB Europe said that as the obligations of the framework are only binding to signatory companies, it will be complemented by the European Advertising Standards Alliance’s (EASA) Best Practice Recommendations, also released today. According to IAB Europe, these recommendations are designed to “ensure that the entire advertising ecosystem adheres to rules that together guarantee that the value chain delivers the objective of enhanced control and consumer choice”.

The companies that have signed up the OBA framework are: 24/7 Real Media, Adconion Media Group, AdGenie, Adnetik, AOL, ARBO Interactive, Audience Science, BBC Worldwide, BlueKai, Cognitive Match, CPX Interactive, Crimtan, Criteo, datvantage, Financial Times, Google, Guardian News & Media, Hi-Media, Independent Digital, Lotame, Media6degrees, Microsoft,, Orange, PRISA, Profero, Sanoma, Specific Media, Struq, tectonic, The Irish Times, Tribal Fusion, Telegraph Media Group, United Internet Media, ValueClick Media, Vibrant Media, Weborama, Yahoo and Yell.  

A copy of the framework and FAQs is available

Categories: Advertising, Internet

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