Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

CAP is in the process of consulting on changes to its rules on the collection and use of data for marketing. These changes are intended to ensure that its rules cover data protection issues most relevant to marketing, and that they are aligned with the standards introduced by the General Data Protection Regulation (EU 2016/679, the GDPR).   From 25 May 2018 until CAP introduces new rules, the ASA will not administer the existing rules in Section 10 and Appendix 3 of the CAP Code.  CAP encourages members of the public and businesses to find more information about their legal rights and obligations at  This guidance will be updated in due course.

Online behavioural advertising (“OBA”) is a sophisticated form of targeted advertising. Third parties, such as advertising networks, work with websites and advertisers to deliver customised advertising based upon the collection and use of web browsing activity. This includes: pages visited, ads clicked and products purchased or researched. This data, about a user’s web browsing activity, is collected and analysed.

The rules on OBA in Appendix 3 of the CAP Code require advertising networks and other third parties to provide notice to web users in or around an online display advertisement if they are undertaking OBA and provide a means whereby a web user can opt-out of the collection and use of web viewing behaviour data for OBA purposes. The rules ensure that the use of OBA is transparent and that users can exercise control over it. The rules are integral to a pan-European initiative – the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) Best Practice Recommendation and an EU industry Framework. Further information can be found here:

In early 2013, CAP issued a Help Note to guide those using OBA. Key points covered by the Help Note include:

  • Exclusions from the scope of OBA, including: contextual advertising; web analytics; ad reporting or ad delivery; the collections and use of information by website operators on their own websites(s); and the use of OBA in rich media, in-stream videos online or on mobile devices.
  • The CAP rules on OBA.
  • Compliance with the rules.
  • Providing notice about OBA, both on third parties’ own websites and in or around display advertisements.
  • OBA which collects information from all or substantially all websites.
  • OBA targeted at children aged 12 and under, and the prohibition on the creation of interest segments for this age group.
  • The obligation on advertisers to co-operate with the ASA in good faith.

See "Recognising marketing communications: Overview".

Updated 30/12/14

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