As the FTC and IAB iterate over consumer privacy legislation, and the industry concern continues to swell, we are recognizing that the basis of the issue lies in general misperceptions and lack of consumer education around targeted advertising. As an industry we have acknowledged this fact, yet educating consumers and industry outsiders remains a challenge. AudienceScience, along with many other companies, are collaborating with the NAI on consumer outreach. It’s no small task and it’s easy to understand why many companies just don’t know where to start, how best to communicate the message, or how to distribute the message to the consumers we aim to protect.
It is a critical time in our industry and responsible companies must take action. First and foremost, companies must examine the resources they have available to communicate and educate. If you have research at your disposal, use it in your message. If you have graphics and creative, leverage it to create something both compelling and easy to understand. I’ll say it again because it bears repeating. Make it easy to understand. Consider your audience and don’t use jargon or reference stats that are not mainstream measurements. If it looks like Sanskrit and needs translation, your efforts will be wasted. Use basic terms and references that are universal and relatable.
If you don’t know where to begin or what outlets and channels are effective, partner up with someone who does. The NAI and IAB are great organizations to get involved with, whether it be with their initiatives or finding resources and likeminded companies to mount your own initiative. If you strike out on your own, I highly recommend aligning your messaging with the standards they have set.
We at AudienceScience have launched an effort to speak to consumers about targeting in language and channels that are clear and comprehensible. Our consumer education video, http://www.audiencescience.com/consumer/education.asp , takes audience targeting down to the basic facts, with entertaining and informative graphics and animation, providing consumers a step-by-step look at how the targeting process works, and also the precautions that are in place to protect their privacy. Feel free to pass it on; we’re happy to help education efforts across the board.
Ultimately, do what works best for your company and speaks to its strengths and expertise. Just do something. It’s one thing to advocate self-regulation, its another to prove our ability to do so by taking action. Even if the minimum you can do is just getting involved with industry organizations like the NAI and IAB to help with their consumer outreach, the action you take will only benefit the industry as a whole and your company in the end.