Mozilla has a long history of innovating with how users interact with content: tabs, add-ons, live bookmarks, the Awesome bar – these and many more innovations have helped the Web to dominate desktop computing for the last decade. Six months ago we launched Directory Tiles in Firefox, and have had great success with commercial partnerships and in aiding awareness for content important to the project, including Mozilla advocacy campaigns in support of net neutrality and the Mozilla Manifesto.
Today, I’m pleased to announce Suggested Tiles – our latest innovation and complement to Directory Tiles, as we work to create a more powerful and personalized Web experience for our users. I discussed the Mozilla mission in the context of digital advertising earlier this year. Suggested Tiles represents an important step for us to improve the state of digital advertising for the Web, and to deliver greater user agency.
Much of today’s digital advertising utilizes data harvested through a user’s browsing habits to target ads. However, many consumers are increasingly weary of how their data is being collected and shared in the advertising ecosystem without transparency and consent – and complex opt-outs or unreadable privacy policies exacerbate this. Many users even block advertisements altogether. This situation is bad for users, bad for advertisers and bad for the Web.
With Suggested Tiles, we want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting users’ privacy and giving them control over their data. And to bring influence to bear on the whole industry, we know we will need to deliver a highly effective advertising product.
We believe users should be able easily to understand what content is promoted, who it is from and why they are seeing it. It is the user who owns the profile: only a Firefox user can edit their own browsing history. And for users who do not want to see Suggested Tiles, opting out only takes two clicks from the New Tab page, without having to read a lot of instructions. To deliver Suggested Tiles we do not retain or share personal data, nor are we using cookies. If you want to learn more about how Suggested Tiles protect a user’s data, we produced this infographic, and the Mozilla policy team have described the details of how our data principles translate to the data policy for Suggested Tiles.
Suggested Tiles are controlled by the user, respect their privacy and are not directed towards a captive audience. As different as this sounds, we believe that this makes Tiles a better experience for users and for advertisers.
Suggested Tiles will help advertisers and content owners connect with millions of Firefox users, and do so at a time when the user is receptive to hearing from them, making it a much more valuable connection. By delivering content experiences based on the user’s recent and most frequent browsing, we know when content will have high relevance. And because we are delivering this content early in a browsing session – rather than mixed in with the user’s activity – we know they are more likely to engage with it. We already have some very satisfied partners for Directory Tiles, and I am confident that Suggested Tiles will deliver even higher levels of engagement.
For partners who are interested in getting involved with the Suggested Tiles initiative, we have a site where you can learn more and register your interest: http://content.mozilla.org.
So what happens next? Suggested Tiles will be going to Beta soon and then live later in the summer. Initially, users will first see “Affiliate” Tiles advertisements for other Mozilla causes and Firefox products before Suggested Tiles from our content partners appear. Note that we’ll be rolling out the product in phases starting first with Firefox users in the US.
If you have any questions about how Suggested Tiles will work, need more information or want to explore a potential partnership with us, please visit content.mozilla.org.
This is still one of our early steps towards our goal of improving the state of digital advertising for the Web – delivering greater transparency for advertisers, better, more relevant content experiences and, above all, greater control for Firefox users.