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AdChoices is a self-regulatory program for online interest-based advertising that exists in the United States, Canada and across Europe. The program calls for advertising companies to establish and enforce responsible privacy practices for interest-based advertising, aimed to give consumers enhanced transparency and control. Companies adhere to a set of principles[1][2][3] that are enforced by accountability programs.[4][5][6]

"Interest-based advertising" (also known as "online behavioural advertising" or "behavioral targeting") selectively displays ads based on browsing history, primarily using cookies, to users most likely to identify with and respond to the ad's specific content. The AdChoices icon is shown automatically by companies part of the self-regulatory program, and is meant to indicate to consumers when interest-based advertising data is being collected or used. By clicking on the icon (which is usually found in the top right corner of an online advertisement), a consumer can learn more about the ad or a website's collection practices, and be provided with the ability to opt-out of such targeting.

Although it is possible to opt out of interest-based advertising through the AdChoices program(s),[7][8][9][10] opting out does not block advertisements nor prevent tracking of web browsing history by use of other ways (e.g. Flash cookies). The US and Canadian AdChoices programs require that participating companies not use Flash cookies or similar locally shared objects for online interest-based advertising purposes.[11]



In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission began looking into internet advertising platforms and suggested that the industry develop guidelines for self-regulation. The American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) joined together to form the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising. The alliance managing the program was called the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). The DAA's AdChoices program was launched in October 2010.[12] The program calls for companies to follow responsible privacy principles for internet-based advertising. Compliance with the DAA Principles is independently enforced for all companies in digital advertising by the Digital Advertising Accountability Program (DAAP) of the BBB National Programs and the accountability division of the Association of National Advertisers.[13]

In July 2013, additional principles were launched by the DAA to address interest-based data collected from smartphones and tablets.[14][15] To give consumers a choice mechanism for that environment, in February 2015, the DAA officially launched AppChoices,[16][17] an opt-out app for mobile devices.

In September 2013, the Canadian version of the AdChoices program was launched by the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada (DAAC), composed of a similar set of marketing and communications trade associations[18] as in the US, to address the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC)'s guidelines for online behavioural advertising.[19] The AdChoices program can be implemented in a manner consistent with existing Canadian privacy laws and the OPC's guidelines for online interest-based advertising.



The AdChoices self-regulatory programs have over 200 participants.[20][21][22] Participants include AOL,[23] AT&T, Bloomberg, Comcast, Conde Nast, Dow Jones, Facebook,[24] General Motors, Google Inc.,[25][26] Microsoft,[27] Procter & Gamble,[28] Taboola, Yahoo!,[29] and many others.[30]

Lists of Canadian and European program participants are found on their official websites.[21][22]



A study conducted by Parks Associates and discussed in AdAge found that three years after the introduction of the AdChoices icon, most consumers were unaware of it, and in fact, awareness had grown only from 5% in 2011 to 6% in 2013.[31] According to a TRUSTe survey from 2015: "However, research also showed that awareness of the AdChoices icon, part of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) Self-Regulatory Program for OBA [online behavioral ads, or interest-based ads] jumped to 37% – a significant increase from 21% the previous year. This program provides users with more control over their online ad experience with the option to opt-out of personal targeting."[32] Furthermore, in 10 of 13 European countries surveyed by TRUSTe and the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance in December 2015, at least 1 in 4 consumers who are aware of the icon say they have clicked on it.[33]


  1. ^ "The DAA AdChoices Principles". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  2. ^ "The DAAC AdChoices Principles". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  3. ^ "The EDAA AdChoices Principles". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  4. ^ "Enforcement of the Principles". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  5. ^ "Enforcement of the Canadian AdChoices Principles". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  6. ^ "Enforcement of the European AdChoices Principles". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "US Opt-Out Tool". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  8. ^ "Canadian Opt-Out Tool". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  9. ^ "UK Opt-Out Tool". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  10. ^ "Other EU Opt-Out Tools". Available once country is selected. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  11. ^ "Does the consumer opt-out page give me choices about the use of Flash cookies for online interest-based advertising?". Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  12. ^ "DAA Celebrates its First Anniversary". Oct 25, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "YourAdChoices.com | Consumer Assistance | WebChoices, AppChoices and YourAdChoices". youradchoices.com. Retrieved 2022-02-28.
  14. ^ "Application of Self-Regulatory Principles to the Mobile Environment" (PDF). Archived from the original on December 19, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  15. ^ Bachman, Katy (April 11, 2013). "Want to Opt Out of Targeted Mobile Ads? There's an App for That. Meets forthcoming DAA mobile privacy standards". Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  16. ^ "AppChoices". Oct 25, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  17. ^ "About the launch of AppChoices". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  18. ^ "About the DAAC". Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  19. ^ "Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's Guidelines on Privacy and Online Behavioural Advertising". June 1, 2015.
  20. ^ "Companies using the AdChoices icon in the US". Your AdChoices - how interest based advertising finds you. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Companies using the AdChoices icon in Canada". Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Companies using the AdChoices icon in Europe". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  23. ^ "Ad Choices: Why Did I Get This Ad?". AOL. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  24. ^ "How can I adjust how ads are targeted to me based on my activity off of Facebook?". Facebook. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  25. ^ "About Google Ads". Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  26. ^ Parker, Pamela (March 22, 2011). "Goodbye "Ads By Google" & Hello "AdChoices" As Google's Backs Industry Label Effort". Search Engine Land. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  27. ^ "About Our Ads". Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  28. ^ "About Interest-Based Advertising". Procter & Gamble. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  29. ^ "Why This Ad?". Yahoo!. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  30. ^ "Companies Using the Your AdChoices Icon". Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  31. ^ Kaye, Kate (January 29, 2014). "Study: Consumers Don't Know What AdChoices Privacy Icon Is. After Three Years Just 6% Awareness Of the Industry's Opt-Out Program". AdAge. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  32. ^ "68% of US Smartphone Users Concerned About Having Their Activity Tracked for Use in Targeted Ads = February 20, 2015".
  33. ^ "New Research Shows Growing Awareness of the OBA Icon, and Understanding of this EU Industry Initiative to Give Control Over Targeted Advertising Choices = December 16, 2015".