Why Guidelines for Online Behavioural Advertising are a good idea

The Canadian Privacy Commissioner last week released guidelines for Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA_. The guidelines are not “laws” or “regulations”, but a framework of how the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada expects companies to comply with the federal privacy legislation (the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and how will approach a given set of circumstances, in the event that a complaint is lodged. At Media Experts, we support these guidelines as they provide marketers with the tools to develop best practices for using Online Behavioral Advertising.

The full guidelines published by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner are available here.

Online Behavioural Advertising is used to target consumers who have demonstrated desired interests on large networks and portals (i.e. a consumer is interested in cars because they visited four auto websites, or four pages of auto content within a week_. It can also be used to target consumers who have recently visited your website and are favorably predisposed to your marketing messages.

Media Experts and its customers have been very sensitive to consumer privacy concerns and always take steps to work only with reputable publishers and networks accountable for the data they use. Our people also work proactively with associations such as IAB Canada and ACA to develop best practices and to ensure the business requirements of successful digital marketing are not neglected.

You can check out the current IAB Canada plan of action here.

So, what’s changed? In the new guidelines, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada states PIPEDA applies to  OBA data because, in their view, it would generally be considered “personal information”. The guideline states that consent is required for the collection and use of data for OBA purposes, and that an opt-out form of consent would be permissable under PIPEDA in these circumstances.

Data Collection

In order to provide consumers with the opportunity to give meaningful consent by opt-ing out of data collection, there will be a multi-media education campaign supported by various industry groups (IAB Canada, ACA, and others_. Consumers will be able to visit a single location to opt-in or opt-out of OBA for all legitimate Canadian data management platforms and publishers.

Data Usage

At time of data usage, when the actual OBA targeted ad is displayed, there will be a clickable icon layered on top of the ad that will indicate to consumers the ad was placed based on OBA collected data. The consumer will be able to click on the icon and learn more about OBA and have the opportunity to opt-out from future OBA data collection or usage.

The release last week by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of OBA Guidelines serves to raise awareness of consumer privacy and presents a great opportunity to review your company’s privacy policy, both in terms of online and offline data, to ensure it is relevant and up to date.

OBA continues to play an important role in Media Expert’s media planning. Our primary goals in developing best practices, through our active collaboration with IAB Canada committees, will continue to be the protection of the privacy of Canadian consumers and the growth of digital media marketing.