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Getting transparent about the AATP - what you need to know


What is the AATP initiative? David: The Advanced Advertising Transparency Programme (AATP) is a set of standards that has been collectively agreed by the online digital advertising industry to cover the new obligations of the Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA is a regulation in EU law to update the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000 regarding illegal content, transparent advertising and disinformation. Upon completion of the programme, participants receive a seal that proves they meet the AATP standards, which is synonymous with being aligned with the relevant ad transparency requirements within the DSA.

How is the AATP different to the EDAA's existing programme (and its Trust Seal)? David: The AATP is specifically geared to answer the requirements of the DSA. The DSA aims to regulate the digital space by applying standardised rules across the EU. Although the DSA is far-reaching, designed to curb illegal and harmful activities online and the spread of disinformation, it also outlines important provisions regarding advertising transparency.

The AATP adds a level of transparency for data driven advertising. As such, it is an extension to the current EDAA Principles.

So the EDAA now runs two programmes? David: Yes; Our clients continue to see core value in the existing EDAA programme on data-driven advertising, so companies can continue with the existing EDAA programme and choose to join the AATP in addition.

The AATP offers an extra layer of transparency, as well as aligning with the DSA's requirements. The new AATP initiative is particularly relevant to online platforms and the intermediaries that support them, so will be useful to a new range of companies that may not have previously used the existing programme.

What are the benefits of signing up to the AATP? David: The benefits are numerous and apply to businesses across the value chain, from Online Platforms as defined in the DSA, to Non-Platform Advertising Services whose role and responsibility is to facilitate compliance.

Businesses signing up to the AATP will:

Gain clarity on the ad transparency requirements of a complex piece of legislation

Adopt a standardised approach to user-facing disclosures

Leverage a common industry-wide technical standard (IAB Tech Lab's OpenRTB DSA Transparency Extension )

Receive 100% tailored support in Programme integration with an EDAA point-of-contact for all implementation queries

Be able to reassure business partners and gain marketing advantage through an independently issued AATP Trust Seal via partners such as ABC

Offer an alternative avenue for complaint resolution through experienced consumer-facing national advertising Self-Regulatory Organisations, such as the ASA

Enhance their reputation as a responsible forward-thinking partner in the online advertising ecosystem

Align with industry, regulatory, and consumer expectations amidst rapidly changing societal expectations

Who supports the AATP? David: The EDAA's AATP is supported by a diverse set of stakeholders and is the result of a broad cross-industry collaboration.

Collaboration includes the buy-side (from Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) to agencies) to the sell-side (from Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) to Publishers) and of course with online platforms being integral to the setup. This is epitomised by EDAA's inclusive governance model of European-level trade associations and national advertising Self-Regulatory Organisations; a solid alliance of actors working together to ensure an innovative, sustainable and responsible sector.

EDAA also established one of the first and largest of-its-kind, award-winning consumer research initiatives. The project - YourOnlineVoices , conducted independently by people-participation agency, CleverTogether - mixed qualitative and quantitative techniques to arrive at critical analysis and recommendations that have helped to inform EDAA's work.

Importantly, EDAA's work on the AATP has been communicated through positive and proactive discussions with key elements of the European Commission.

What type of companies should be engaging with the AATP? David: The DSA applies to all [intermediary] services delivered to consumers and businesses located in the EU, regardless of whether or not the company itself is based in the EU. Consider The Brussels Effect , a term popularised by Anu Bradford, at work -- like it or loathe it, when Brussels regulates, the ripple effects beyond EU borders are substantial.

The AATP applies to several types of companies, namely:

Online Platforms as defined in the DSA.

Non-Platform Advertising Services as defined in EDAA's Activation Guidance.

Ultimately, responsibility under the DSA lies with the Online Platforms. That said, the DSA provides relatively little by way of examples of Online Platforms, and we suggest that any company in doubt as to their classification should conduct internal assessments to determine whether they must comply with the provisions of the DSA.

What are your suggested next steps for companies wanting to engage? David: My first piece of advice is the most critical - act now! The deadlines for DSA enforcement are already in place.

For companies already working with EDAA, the transition is simpler as you already have the right of use to the core assets of the Programme ( AdChoices Icon and/or Consumer Choice Portal ). Our team will guide you through the necessary transition to set-up for application towards the AATP in addition to your current use, and the EDAA offers participation in this separate initiative at no additional charge for existing participants.

For companies already working with ABC, we encourage you to keep in regular contact as the certification programme adapts to cover the new requirements for your subsequent certification terms.

In the meantime, we encourage
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