Key Points

  • COPPA is privacy law that dictates when and how web publishers, including both mobile app and desktop publishers, can collect data from children younger than 13 years old.
  • That means your digital advertising strategy may have to rely on different inputs to determine which targeted ads to show to child audiences.
  • Without a dedicated and specific COPPA website advertising solution, your advertising revenue may be limited.

Maybe you've got a great idea for a website geared toward kids. Maybe you're finding that your content is appealing to an audience of young children. Or maybe you've had the unsettling realization that your website is subject to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

In any of those cases, you're probably wondering: How is COPPA going to affect the ads on my website?

It's a great question, and the simplest answer is this: COPPA is going to completely change your digital advertising strategy. There's much more you need to know, of course, and we dive into each key point below. Keep reading.

Looking for a COPPA-safe advertising solution for your website? We've built the best one in the industry. Contact Playwire to find out more.

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Children's Online Privacy Protection Act: Guidelines for Advertising According to COPPA Laws

In Most Cases, You Can't Collect Kids' Data

If you've been doing digital advertising for a while, you already know: Data is how you make your inventory valuable to publishers.

The problem? COPPA says you can't collect the personal data of children who are younger than 13. That is, you can't collect it unless you obtain parental consent in an extremely specific and careful way.

Getting that kind of opt-in from parents is going to be a huge challenge unless you naturally have a lot of value to offer parents for giving up their kids' online privacy (and they actually understand that value).

So, in most cases, children's publishers have little to know user data to leverage when it comes to building high-value audience segments brands want to target. That affects not just your CPMs, but also your use of tools like data management platforms (DMPs).

But You Can Leverage Aggregated Anonymous Metrics

Here's the big "however" to the above point: You absolutely can (and probably should) leverage aggregated anonymous metrics about your kids audience. It's completely allowed under COPPA, and it's a great way to add value when you're trying to get more big brand buys.

Here are some of the metrics you can collect anonymously and aggregate without violating COPPA:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Engagements
  • Video completions
  • Time on site

You don't have to get parental consent to collect and aggregate these metrics, and you can use them to add more value to your inventory for advertisers. If you're already subject to COPPA, buyers can be reasonably certain that they will be reaching the very basic demographic of "kids under 13."

From there, you can sweeten the pot. Not only do you reach a COPPA-covered audience, but your audience completes videos at an extremely high rate - and so on.

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COPPA Resource Center

The Complete COPPA Resource Center

Programmatic Advertising Becomes a Challenge

For most website publishers, programmatic advertising is the lifeblood of their revenue strategy. It's designed to scale with any amount of traffic. And, with the addition of header bidding, it virtually guarantees high CPMs.

But children's web publishers have a big problem with programmatic: It's largely automated, meaning no one is making sure the ads and practices involved are all COPPA-compliant. 

When the average COPPA violation fine levied by the Federal Trade Commission is around $400,000, that becomes a big deal really, really quickly.

So, what should you do? Do you have to give up on programmatic advertising completely?

Not at all, but you do have to do it differently. You have to add a human touch - someone who can manually approve creative and make sure no COPPA violations are entering the programmatic ecosystem or otherwise being used in an inappropriate way. 

IO Buys May Be Ideal

COPPA doesn't rule out programmatic advertising for websites with young audiences, but it does make it more difficult. That may make direct sales even more attractive for kids' publishers.

Most publishers can't completely support themselves on insertion order (IO) buys alone, but they can certainly supplement their programmatic revenue with direct sales. 

Why would you want to do that? Because direct buys tend to be a lot more lucrative. And, from a COPPA perspective, you're in control. There's no real risk of a COPPA violation when you're in charge of every part of the IO buy.

COPPA Doesn't Have to Tank Your Ad Revenue

Many children's web publishers feel a pit in their stomachs when they start learning about how COPPA regulations can affect the ads they can run on their websites. We get it, but we're here to tell you that you can do this. 

You absolutely can build a targeted advertising strategy that keeps you in perfect COPPA compliance and maintains the revenue you need for your business to thrive. We're not saying it's easy, but we know it's possible.

How do we know? Because we've done it for countless publishers. We've built a comprehensive platform that supports programmatic advertising, direct sales, and yield maximization in a perfectly COPPA-compliant bubble.

Ready to stop worrying about all of this? We're ready to make that happen for you. Contact Playwire today.

COPPA Compliance Training for Publishers

COPPA Compliance Training for Publishers