The biggest challenge in mobile marketing may not be what the technology can do, but how the benefits of data-driven ads affect the privacy of the consumers they target.

Much has been said about the "creepy" factor of compiling information about your kids, location, financing and health. At the same time, studies show 70 percent of consumers prefer to see ads that align with their personal interest. 

Lou Mastria, executive director of the Digital Advertising Alliance, has been at the eye of the privacy hurricane for years while working in public affairs, government and the ad industry. He also holds a masters degree in public policy. In his current role, he reflects his industry-backed group's push for self-regulation of advertising practices. He's had plenty of success.

Setting Benchmarks


Under his leadership, the group has released principles to establish best practices and has won praise from government regulatory agencies like the Federal Trade Commission.

We spoke with Mastria at his group's second annual summit in San Francisco, asking him about DAA's mission, its own efforts to police the industry and its role in educating consumers about their right to opt out of digital ads.

Murphy: How old is the DAA, what's your main mission and how do you differ from other groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau?

Mastria: Our main mission is to provide a self-regulatory answer for balancing the needs of consumer privacy with the need to ad-fund the Internet. We have to balance that every single day. IAB, DMA [Direct Marketing Association] and others actually sit on our board, but they're really trade associations. We're a self-regulatory body.

Companies don't just join somehow the DAA, they certify to be part of the DAA. They actually have to abide by the principles of the DAA code, which includes transparency, control -- there are seven principles they have to abide by -- including the policing of their actions. Importantly, while we do have companies that participate with DAA in this way, we also take the position that we police the entire ecosystem. Whether you're a participant or not, it doesn't matter. If you're doing interest-based advertising, we're looking to see if you're compliant or not.

Murphy: If they're not members and not compliant, what do you do?