How can advertisers ethically engage kids with ads?

On 1 May, EACA joined in the webinar “How to Ethically Engage Kids with Advertising”, which explored solutions to maintain a clean and safe virtual playground for kids.

A US-based survey conducted by Statista in June 2020 found that 62% of 14–17-year-olds spent more than four hours a day on online gaming devices, compared to 32% in the pre-coronavirus period.

From the legislative point of view, in 1998 in the US, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was enacted to protect privacy and limit the data that online sites and apps can collect from children under 13. Nevertheless, enforcement has been limited, and COPPA has failed to ensure that children remained wholly anonymous and untracked.

Covid did, however, provide an incentive for the development of alternative solutions such as mixed in-game ads. The mixed in-game format means that the ads are not clickable but only visible during the game, just like any other object in the game. The result is exposure to ads with the sole purpose of increasing brand awareness and affinity and less likelihood that children make unwanted in-app purchases.

Placing ads on in-game objects can give advertisers more precise control over where and when ads appear.