IAB launches transparency FAQs to improve online ad buying

Move aims to mitigate so-called 'tech tax'.

The Internet Advertising Bureau UK has launched "transparency FAQs" to help brands that may suffer from a lack of knowledge about online advertising.

The move is aimed at tackling the so-called "tech tax" in which advertisers are disadvantaged by not understanding what each company does within the digital ads ecosystem.

IAB members helped produce 20 common questions that brands can ask digital ads businesses, covering the three main areas of pricing, placement and data usage. 

The trade body is hoping that advertisers will use the questions to shop around and compare the answers that companies give them.

Some of the questions are framed around being GDPR compliant, such as: "What other third-party data partners require consent for your business to deliver its service?"

However, others are aimed at tackling ad fraud, such as: "Do you have a policy in place for ad misplacement?"

The full list of questions are:

  1. What is your business model and how do you make money?
  2. Can you outline the full details of the agreement on a booking form/contract?
  3. Will you share who your trading partners are?
  4. Do you own the inventory you sell?
  5. If you don’t own your own inventory, then how do you access inventory and which platforms do you use?
  6. Do you specify your media placements and positions?
  7. What insights do you provide back to advertisers?
  8. Does the inventory you own or access include user-generated content?
  9. What brand-safety measures do you use?
  10. Which industry standards have you been certified against?
  11. Do you have a policy in place for ad misplacement?
  12. Are you happy to share your optimisation tactics?
  13. Under GDPR, what legal basis are you providing your services under?
  14. If consent is the mechanism, then can you prove how you obtained it?
  15. Are you using the IAB Framework?
  16. What other third-party data partners require consent for your business to deliver its service?
  17. What do you do with data you obtain from advertisers’ campaigns or data tags?
  18. Are advertisers permitted to appoint their own third-party partners for verification and measurement?
  19. Will you provide a link to your privacy and data policies?
  20. Will you share how you build audience, contextual and targeting segments? 

The move has been endorsed by ISBA and the IPA. 

Tim Elkington, chief digital officer at the IAB, said of the questions: ""They’re not a silver bullet or cure for issues around transparency, but we think they’re a useful step forward.

"The answers to the FAQs will enable buyers to compare the policies and attitudes of ad tech companies in the same way that you might use the John Lewis site to compare vacuum cleaners before making a purchase."

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