All Articles Marketing Digital Technology Do interest-based ads present a privacy problem?

Do interest-based ads present a privacy problem?

DAAP issues warning to interest-based advertisers.

3 min read

Digital TechnologyMarketing

interest-based ads


A cookieless future is on the horizon for advertisers and interest-based ads are bubbling up as an alternative way to target ads. The Digital Advertising Accountability Program, the data privacy watchdog for BBB National Programs, has  issued a warning to advertisers that in some instances they are required to obtain active opt-in consent from consumers after serving a notice of interest-based advertising. 

Simply assuming a consumer has consented because they have read a notice of interest-based advertising and continue to use services or products isn’t enough – a consumer has to have taken an action to provide consent. 

“The Accountability Program has noticed companies mistaking their provision of a notice combined with their customers’ subsequent continued use of their products or services as being tantamount to consent,” the warning states, noting “such reliance on the passive, continued use of a product or service just because it occurs subsequent in time to the delivery of clear, meaningful, and prominent notice is not sufficient to obtain consent under the DAA Principles.”

DAAP states that enforcement related to the compliance warning will come into effect in January next year. 

Data privacy and a cookieless future

Data privacy has been a particularly hot topic recently as Google’s sunsetting of third-party cookies in 2024 will leave advertisers seeking alternative ways to target ads. 

One of the alternatives in development by Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative is Topics, an interest-based advertising solution for web browsers that provides more transparency and control for consumers, said Google’s Ben Galbraith to Digiday

How can marketers adapt?

Keeping a close eye on this evolution of interest-based marketing is one key way for advertisers to adjust to the demise of cookies, an article from McKinsey states. Other strategies McKinsey recommends are:

  • Using consumer touchpoints to collect first-party data
  • Leveraging second-party data through partnerships
  • Experimenting with contextual advertising

A recent Loyalty Research Center study found marketers are making an average five changes to their tech stack to adapt to a cookie-free future and prioritizing first-party data collection, contextual advertising and boosting investment in social media and search. 

Google’s Topics and interest-based advertising is one avenue also explored by The Association of National Advertisers’ Lisa Shosteck, who provides a wealth of data privacy guidelines and resources for marketers.

“It’s quite the challenge — how do you address privacy concerns while providing consumers with personalized and relevant marketing offers? The core of this resides in building brand and consumer trust,” Shosteck advises. 

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