Evidon, which powers the Digital Advertising Alliance’s OBA self-regulatory program, announced that 500,000 browsers have opted out of behavioral targeting via the Ad Choices icon (which feels like it has been renamed about 50 times in the last year).
Oh, but it gets more complicated — those are not “user opt outs” but “company opt outs.” For example, if a browser hits an advertiser’s opt-out page on Evidon that has 10 ad tech companies listed total, if all are opted out, that counts as 10 opt-outs, even though it’s just one browser.
So it’s not 500,000 users opting out of behavioral targeting, but 500,000 different opt-outs by company, made by a number of users likely far less than 500,000. Evidon didn’t share in its press release the number of unique users that opted out in some fashion.
The company 2.3 million interactions (clicks) recorded over 50 billion impressions served through the company’s InForm assurance platform. A little math tells us — dividing the number of interactions by impressions served — that the rate of clicks to impressions is 0.0046%. Whoa, did we call it opt-out fever? We meant “some interest.”
With a reported 52% share of the privacy-icon serving market — TRUSTe and DoubleVerify are also approved icon providers — Evidon claims to serve as high as 500 million impressions daily to 80 million uniques. Multiplying daily impressions by 0.0046% suggests 23,000 daily interactions with the icon.
However, Evidon’s data doesn’t make clear whether interactions or interest in the icon is headed up or down. The PrivacyChoice guys took a look at traffic statistics for AboutAds.info over on Compete, where it shows a little more than 45,000 uniques for June, which was interestingly down from 60,000 in May. Up until that month, however, the visits had been spiraling up; the site witnessed around 35,000 uniques in April.
If we apply “shiny object” theory — initial interest followed rapidly by apathy — it would suggest that as the Ad Choice icon increasingly shows, people curious enough to click on the icon will decrease as the majority of U.S. Internet users understand how they’re being tracked and targeted. It also hypothesizes that most people clicking on the icon will already have opting-out on the agenda.
But it’s not clear where we are in the deployment/ack of the icon. Also, that’s just a theory; people may click on the Ad Choices icon wondering why the hell they were targeted to receive that. I’m thinking about a certain shoe retailer — I’m really confused why you keep targeting ads for Teva sandals at me. Look, I went to I went to one Phish concert… I was in college and very confused….