Americans prefer that the ads they see on their mobile devices be relevant to their interests, but they want tools that provide transparency and control over how that relevancy is delivered.
Those are the key takeaways from a recent Zogby Analytics survey of Americans’ attitudes toward mobile advertising and privacy. Commissioned by the Digital Advertising Alliance in advance of the public launch of AppChoices – a new mobile app that will give companies a standardized way of providing consumers enhanced transparency and control over cross-app data – the study confirms that Americans’ comfort with ad relevancy and responsible data collection is directly tied to their ability to control their online experience.
Of those who expressed an opinion, Americans said they preferred that mobile ads be relevant to their interests by a margin of nearly five to one, and of those who downloaded apps, 58 percent said they preferred free, ad-supported apps over pay-to-download apps or apps supported by in-app purchases.
While those findings show a strong bias toward free mobile content supported by relevant advertising, the flip side of that coin is that Americans overwhelmingly want tools that provide transparency and control over ad-related data collection and interest-based advertising.
More than 66 percent of respondents said they wanted protections and controls on their mobile devices that are similar to what is currently available on desktops and laptops. And more than 71 percent said that tools that provide them with transparency and choice should be available “whenever and however I access the Internet.”
DAA currently provides tools that perform those functions in the desktop and laptop environment and will extend them to mobile in the coming months.
Americans also have clear ideas about how transparency and choice should work on their mobile devices. More than 66 percent said that mobile tools should identify the names of the companies that provide them relevant ads.
DAA has worked to include those core functions in its AppChoices tool, which will become available for free download in app stores later this year. Like DAA’s web-based tools, AppChoices allows users to set their preferences at any time by clicking on the blue, triangular DAA icon. Also like the web-based tool, AppChoices gives users fine-toothed control over their relevant advertising preferences, allowing them to choose which companies collect data for interest-based offers.
AppChoices will be followed by a new DAA tool designed specifically for use in mobile optimized web browsers, ensuring that users have access to DAA protections however they go online using their mobile devices. In 2015, DAA will announce an effective date for the accountability framework that will underpin the new mobile tools.
Additional findings of the poll of 1,015 U.S. Adults included:
• Only 8 percent of Americans said they would download all of their free apps again if they were required to pay for them.
• 46 percent said they wouldn’t download any of their free apps again if they were forced to pay.
• Nearly 60 percent said they’d feel more favorably toward companies or brands if their ads featured an icon that offered transparency into advertising practices, and provided the ability to opt-out.
Lou Mastria is the executive director of the Digital Advertising Alliance.
Edited by Maurice Nagle