25 June 2019
People love free apps. Unfortunately, to keep apps free, different types of in-app advertising are usually included in free apps.
These advertisements can include everything from 30-second videos a user must watch every so often while using the app, a banner bar located somewhere on the main page of the app that a user can click if interested in the product or advert, or other forms of in-app advertising.
Advertising platforms are platforms where app developers can become publishers and publish ads to their apps via the platform.
For example, an app developer will sign up to use a platform, such as AdMob. The developer will then integrate the AdMob SDK into an app. AdMob will then serve ads within the developer's app to end users/consumers who download and use the app.
There are a number of different advertising platforms available. Some of the most common, popular and successful platforms include the following:
Updates to your legal agreement should let users know that you may serve interest-based ads within your app through a third-party platform, and you should give them the option to opt out of your behavioral marketing practices with each individual platform you use.
When you participate in interest-based advertising, you're collecting and using information about a user in order to custom-tailor and show ads, which legally must be disclosed, and users must be given an option to opt out of having their information tracked/used.
This is because ad platforms tend to collect non-personally-identifying information when showing ads, such as the operating system used on your device, the device model, and type, what language the device uses, and the date and time the advertisement was shown.
The required updates to the legal agreement usually include language that explains the use of interest-based advertising through the third-party platform, as well as including a method for users to opt out.
This type of disclosure helps to make sure the platform itself is protected from privacy infringement issues as a third-party to your app.
Here are some examples of how advertising platforms require publishers to update their Privacy Policies when using the platforms:
AdMob is Google's platform for advertising, monetizing, and promoting mobile apps. It allows developers to utilize in-app advertising and provides insight into aspects of the use of the app by incorporating Google Analytics into the platform.
The "Behavioral Policies" section of the AdMob Policies includes a section on "Interest-based advertising" that makes it clear that interest-based ads may be shown when using AdMob, and that apps that use this platform may need to be update their privacy policies to reflect the use of this interest-based advertising:
Flurry is Yahoo's mobile advertising monetization platform that aims to improve marketing through mobile app advertising. A Flurry Analytics component helps developers analyze and measure app activity so as to monetize the app most effectively with this data.
You must let your users know that you are using this tracking technology as part of the Flurry platform.
InMobi acts like a global matching service for mobile advertisers and mobile ad publishers all around the world. It works to bring ads and apps together that serve and attract relevant and similar users and markets. InMobi uses retargeting advertising practices to deliver custom-tailored ads to app-users.
The "Advertiser Terms" of InMobi require that all participants in the InMobi service, such as agencies, advertisers, and media companies, "post on their respective Web sites their privacy policies and adhere to their privacy policies, which will abide by applicable laws."
Because InMobi uses retargeting advertising, this must legally be disclosed in the Privacy Policies of apps that use the InMobi platform, and app users must be given a way to opt-out of these practices:
MoPub is Twitter's mobile publishing platform for apps, and is the world's largest mobile ad exchange. This platform is used to promote and monetize apps all over the world and in all industries.
The Terms of Service of MoPub includes a section titled "Other Obligations" that outlines a number of obligations placed on developers who use MoPub as an advertising platform.
AppLovin is known for giving consumers a lot of power when it comes to managing their privacy preferences and unique in-app ad experiences. This helps consumers feel confident about their privacy and makes opting out and adjusting privacy preferences so easy.
It continues and calls for a User (the app developer) to obtain explicit consent from the User's end-users (the users of the developer's app), and provide them with an easy to use method for opting out of the data collection practices.
This is very clear and informative guidance for developers who are advertising with the AppLovin platform.