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Positive impact on consumer trust in brands and increased AdChoices Icon recognition among findings of latest research


03 Mar 2021


Innovation & Enterprise

Brussels, 03 March 2021 - Recently commissioned by the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) and conducted by Ipsos MORI, the 2021 European Advertising Consumer Research Report captures an overview of respondents’ attitudes and awareness of the European Self-Regulatory Programme for Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) - or Data-Driven Advertising - in ten European markets.

Results show that end-user awareness of - and engagement with - the AdChoices Icon, which provides users with transparency on tailored digital advertising, continue to rise; the positive impact the Icon has on consumer attitudes towards brands and websites whose ads showcase the Icon also sees marked improvement. The EDAA Self- Regulatory Programme can have a positive effect on attitudes too, with favourability towards OBA rising in all countries surveyed when the Icon is displayed.

“This research outlines how important consumer-centric industry-driven initiatives are. Building consumer trust through transparent information and empowering them with concrete and actionable choices builds confidence and is the way forward. Trust is a cardinal requirement for a thriving online advertising ecosystem.”

Angela Mills Wade, EPC Executive Director & EDAA Chair

“As we know people are increasingly worried about what data is held on them and how it is used. The increased recognition and understanding of the AdChoices icon and the positive impact this has on the trust in brands, websites and the digital advertising ecosystem can only help to mitigate concerns people have in a digital context. This is a positive and welcome movement for both people and advertisers alike”

Peter Cooper, Research Director at Ipsos MORI – Observer

You can access the full report here.

Summary of Key Findings

Awareness of the AdChoices Icon continues to grow whether accompanied by the explanatory text "AdChoices" or not.

  • One in two users in Great Britain and Ireland recognise the Icon. The percentage of respondents who recognised the Icon in the remaining eight markets ranges from 22 percentage points in Italy to 42 points in Romania. In Great Britain awareness of the Icon with the AdMarker rose from 13 percentage points in 2012 to 50 percentage points in 2020;
  • All ten markets have recorded an increase in recognition from 2016, with Romania, Germany, and Sweden reporting hikes of over 20 percentage points.
  • Engagement with the AdChoices Icon shows growth in all surveyed markets.
  • In six of the surveyed markets, one in two consumers who recognised the Icon clicked on it. In the remaining four, engagement rates ranged between 39 and 44 percentage points; in terms of growth from 2016, Germany leads with a 25 percentage points increase, followed by Sweden (+19 points) and Belgium (+17 points).

The impact of the AdChoices Icon is a key metric for the European Self-Regulatory Programme and the progress recorded in 2020 is particularly encouraging.

  • For brands that display the Icon on their ads, consumer trust increases, with around half or more of respondents in Italy, Romania, and Spain reporting increased trust. For the remaining seven countries, the percentage of respondents who confirm that seeing the Icon on an ad increases their trust in the brand ranges from 31 percentage points in Sweden, to 44 percentage points in Poland;
  • As far as trust in websites goes, those that bear the AdChoices Icon benefit from improved trust from over 50% of Italian respondents and over 40% of those in Spain, Romania, Poland, and Great Britain;
  • The increased trust in the overall transparency of the online advertising ecosystem comes through as a clear benefit from the Icon. The most significant increase on trust generated by the Icon was recorded in Italy (60%), followed by Romania (51 %), and Spain (50%);
  • Lastly, Online Behavioural Advertising as a whole benefits from increased trust generated by the AdChoices Icon. In five out of the ten countries surveyed, nearly 50% of respondents stated that their trust in OBA is boosted by the presence of the Icon. In the remaining countries, this ranges from 34% of respondents in Sweden to 40% of those in Romania.

User behaviour remains complex.

  • 40% of all respondents frequently accept default website ad settings;
  • Ad blockers remain popular: 30% of respondents declare they “always” or “frequently” use an ad blocker;
  • 26% of respondents “always” or “frequently” block cookies when browsing, while 42% do this “rarely” or “never”.


Interviews were carried out by Ipsos MORI on their online i:Omnibus service from 30/11/2020 to 14/12/2020 on behalf of EDAA using a quota sample of adults who are members of Ipsos’ European Online Panel. For each country, quotas were set according to age, gender and region. See full methodology in the report here.