Seven Step Ad Tech Guide from DMA and ISBA

May 2020

The DMA and ISBA guide for marketers and advertisers to help navigate through the complexity of handling personal data in Ad Tech.

This guide was written in response to the ICO’s Ad Tech Update which looked into how data was used in auction style Real Time Bidding.

The ICO had identified a number of concerns relating to the protection of the rights of data subjects through the use of Real Time Bidding (RTB) in the programmatic delivery of digital advertising.

As background for the uninitiated, the majority of digital advertising is delivered programmatically (through automation) via a variety of methods including Real Time Bidding (RTB).

RTB is defined as the delivery of programmatic advertising by a real-time auction method. To support this process, there are a myriad of technology solutions (Ad Tech) providers who enable advertisers to identify and target recipients of advertising delivered in real time.

The guide written in collaboration with the DPN and PwC UK, aims to support UK businesses actively engaged in the programmatic delivery of digital advertising to ensure they protect the rights of data subjects.

It is a practical guide to the seven steps participants can take to ensure they adhere to the legal requirements and demonstrate their understanding of the regulator’s concerns. The DMA and ISBA were able to consult with ICO during the development of the guide.

It’s designed as a reference with clearly defined sections allowing readers to read the whole document or dip in as the need arises. Where suppliers are mentioned these are noted as examples and are not recommendations.

This guidance is divided into seven clear steps:

1. Education and Understanding – a comprehensive introduction to cookies and programmatic advertising with a detailed glossary of terms.

2. Special Category Data – the ICO highlighted the importance of treating special category data with care and this section steps you through its definition and usage.

3. Understanding the Data Journey – a key challenge is being able to track how data is captured and who processes it. This section explains how to complete a Record of Processing Activities as well as introducing the IAB’s Transparency and Consent Framework.

4. Conduct a DPIA (Data Protection Impact Assessment) – the ICO noted the limited use of DPIAs in Ad Tech. This section sets out to explain what it is, when to use it as well as some pointers to what questions to ask.

5. Audit the Supply Chain – the ICO highlighted that you cannot rely on contracts to provide assurance around the use of personal data. This section provides audit check lists and questions you need answered when auditing suppliers.

6. Measure Advertising Effectiveness – the ICO have queried whether it’s necessary to use all the data collected through Ad Tech platforms. This section provides links to reference materials for improving insights into advertising effectiveness to allow for a proportionate approach to using personal data.

7. Alternatives to Third Party Cookies – what does a post third-party cookie world look like? This section provides some suggestions about alternative methods of targeting including the adoption of contextual targeting. It also provides references to some industry initiatives which are exploring different ways of targeting in a less intrusive manner.

See the full 7 Step Ad Tech Guide