Online advertising industry publish behavioural advertising best practice Guideline

Consumer information website launches to educate consumers about online behavioural advertising

A group of leading businesses and industry associations in the online advertising sector, the Australian Digital Advertising Alliance (ADAA), has today published Australia’s first self-regulatory Guideline for companies engaged in third party online behavioural advertising (OBA).

The Australian Guideline for Third Party Online Behavioural Advertising (the Guideline) sets out seven self-regulatory principles designed to promote transparency, consumer awareness and consumer choice in relation to the type of advertising consumers receive and to encourage good practice and accountability in businesses that deploy third party online behavioural advertising.

The ADAA has also developed a consumer information website to educate consumers about online behavioural advertising, allowing them to find answers to the most frequently asked questions, discover how the technology works, and should they wish, how to manage their online advertising preferences with businesses that are signatories of the Guideline.

ADAA spokesperson Paul Fisher said “The best practice Guideline is designed to build confidence and understanding in third party online behavioural advertising and to ensure that in conjunction with existing Australian privacy law, individual choices are safeguarded.  The launch of the Guideline and the information website is a significant development by the industry to provide consumers with user-friendly information about the type of advertising they receive online.

“The development of the Guideline demonstrates the commitment of the online advertising industry to effective, pro-active and consumer-friendly self-regulation.  We believe that if we talk to our consumers and explain what we do, how we do it and the potential value it brings to them we will build the confidence that is so vital in ensuring the continued growth and development of the Australian online advertising industry,” said Fisher.

Successful on-line advertising is fundamental to the accessibility, affordability and dynamism of the internet as it enables consumers to access a range of online services for free or at very low cost. Relevant advertising is beneficial for both consumers and businesses as it allows consumers to receive advertising that reflects their interests and allows businesses to put their message in front of the right people at the right time.

Third Party OBA aims to deliver online advertising that is relevant to a consumer’s likely interests by using cookies to assign an internet enabled device to interest categories based on its browsing history.  Those interests may then be detected at unrelated websites and used to present relevant advertising.  Under the Guidelines signatories may not combine Third party OBA data with personal information except where the consumer protections required by Australian privacy law have been met.

The seven self-regulatory principles of the Guideline require businesses to exercise best practice in order to promote transparency and choice by giving consumers clear notice as to which data is collected, how it is collected, what it is used for and the ability to exercise choice over online ads; promote internal good practices in the area of privacy, data security and the handling of sensitive data; promote consumer awareness with the launch of; and promote accountability with the introduction of an easily accessible complaints procedure and on-going monitoring and review of the Guideline.

Signatories to the Guideline that do not already comply with or exceed the seven self-regulatory principles have a six month implementation period to meet the required obligation.  The list of founding members and current signatories can be read in full below and The Guideline can be found online at


Click here to learn more about ADAA

Click here to download a copy of the Best Practice Guideline

Click here to view a summary of the Guideline

Click here to read some ADAA supporting statements