Mobile has well and truly taken top trend spot over the past few years illustrated by recent figures provided in our mobile web 2014 blog. As a result of this ever evolving trend, three major mobile operators Vodafone, EE and O2 entered into a joint venture with Weve in a bid to change the way businesses engage with users through mobile devices.

Weve has been created to bring m-commerce to life and develop a single point of contact for businesses to reach a large, opted-in user database through mobile messaging and display advertising. After launch in 2013, Weve now has access to a wealth of information on opted-in users ranging from demographical information, likes, interests, phone make, model, browser and operator down to whether the user is a frequent flyer.

Through the use of Weve technology, when browsing, web users are served ads based on their previous online activity. In theory, this should increase the relevance of the ads you do see, however, errors may occur when making a search for a product as a birthday gift for example, which would then be logged as an interest, based on which you would be served ads. The relevance is questionable and in a bid to ensure web users are served relevant ads and provide greater control over the ads they are served, AdChoices was created in 2012 by the European Digital Advertising Alliance (EDDA). Initially created with the end user in mind, it has since proven effective for business who have witnessed long-term benefits.

The AdChoices icon is often referred to as the ‘Advertising Option Icon’ and is located at the top corner of most ads and web banners allowing web users the opportunity to determine whether to receive ads from the business/brand in the future. As of July 2014, based on the success of AdChoices, they will feature on all Weve mobile display ads. Today we discuss both the benefits and drawbacks of this technology from both a user and business perspective.

Benefits of AdChoices

Users: Upon seeing an ad of minimal interest, users are provided the opportunity to click the AdChoices icon directing them to an opt-out page. They then have the ability to view which data, and more importantly, how this data is analysed to serve ads. At this stage, the user also has the ability to access their mobile operators privacy policy clearing any misconceptions of data usage.

Firstly, AdChoices provides users with greater control over the advertising they are exposed to, and if utilised, will continue to receive ads which are interesting, relevant and useful to them. Secondly, this creates a sense of trust as consumers are aware when they opt-out, the business will not be utilising their data illegally and thirdly, it provides a more enjoyable online experience potentially leading to an increase in sales. Finally, and here comes the clever part, as it is linked to the UK’s top mobile operators, advertising preferences are stored even upon device upgrade. Not only does this save the user the rigmarole of re-adding preferences it enhances the overall user experience with the website they are on and the brand they being exposed to through ads.

Business: although businesses may originally be fearful of AdChoices, there is no need to be as it is ultimately in operation to benefit both parties. Firstly, if an ad is served and customers opt-out, although impressions decrease, it results in a higher volume of both interested and relevant consumers being exposed to the ad. Secondly, AdChoices help to provide greater transparency building trust amongst a mobile customer base. Recent statistics also show 67% of consumers feel more positive towards transparent brands whilst 36% are more open to purchasing from them - win, win. Additionally, if a user was to opt-out, the business does not incur the costs involved in serving the ad as there was previously before AdChoices were introduced.

Currently, Weve have access to a growing database of 22 million customers, alongside having 80% of the top 250 FTSE brands under their wing. The launch of AdChoices by Weve is certainly a good move and is a very appealing proposition to potential businesses interested in branching out to mobile advertising.


Although AdChoices is perceived as a win, win for both businesses and consumers, it must be noted that this technology is relatively new and there are a few drawbacks which may initially hamper the effectiveness. The first main drawback is the technology cannot be used if consumers and businesses are unaware of it's availability. As such, consumers are being served irrelevant ads which not only frustrate them but are a waste of advertising / marketing budget. Although the International Advertising Bureau launched a £3 million campaign to generate awareness, it wasn’t through their awareness campaign that I was made aware of it, and I suspect many others are the same. However, as Weve introduced AdChoices to its ads only a week or so ago, awareness is likely to spread further with more users and organisations being made aware of AdChoices - after all, it is here to help both parties.

A few things to consider

Nowadays, more and more web users are concerned with online security threats in light of the heartbleed bug in early 2014. As a result, many users may choose to opt-out of all online display ads hampering the effectiveness of AdChoices (albeit in the short-term). Although many consumers may be interested in your business, by opting out of all online display ads, not only will they miss out on relevant ad exposure, businesses will also miss out on potential conversions. Although the heartbleed bug was relatively short-lived and organisations have implemented stricter online security, web users are still in fear which could ultimately affect display advertising.

With users spending 5.25 hours a day on mobile devices and mobile ad spend expected to increase 96% in 2014 alone, it is expected AdChoices will be extremely beneficial in the long-term for both organisations and web users. We predict usage of the tool will increase over the coming months and look forward to receiving more targeted, relevant and useful ads sent our way!