IAB UK runs ‘transparency initiative’ to help brands assess suppliers


IAB UK, the trade body for the online advertising industry, has launched of the ‘Transparency FAQS’, a tool to help aid advertiser understanding of the value they derive from companies within the digital advertising value chain.


The so-called ‘tech tax’ is something that continues to raise questions across industry, however it can be difficult for advertisers to understand the roles of different companies in the chain and unpick their contribution. As a result, the bundling of every company between buyer and seller as a ‘tax’ is misleading and does not help the advertiser to gain a true understanding of the value and return on investment from their advertising budget.

To help address this challenge, IAB members from different parts of the industry worked together to produce 20 common questions that can be asked of digital advertising businesses. The aim is to equip brands and agencies with the right questions to ask in order to help them understand more about the companies’ business models and provide an indication of their attitude towards transparency.

The questions cover three main areas - Pricing, Placement and Data Usage and include questions from ‘What is your business model and how do you make money’ to ‘What brand safety measures do you use’ and ‘Under GDPR, what legal basis are you providing your services under’?

The results are displayed within the Members’ Area of the IAB website, as well as on a dedicated landing page: www.iabuk.com/transparency.

Commenting on the Transparency FAQ, ISBA Director General, Phil Smith, said “ISBA welcomes the IAB’s new Transparency FAQs initiative. In a complex media environment, voluntary disclosure of this sort will help advertisers make comparisons and understand the differences between ad tech providers.”

Nigel Gwilliam, Director of Media Affairs, IPA, also praised the initiative “The IPA supports initiatives that increase clarity in the advertising market and as such welcomes the IAB’s new Transparency FAQs as they help agencies understand the role of companies in the ad tech space.”

Tim Elkington, Chief Digital Officer, IAB UK, concluded “The Transparency FAQs is a voluntary initiative that we hope ad tech companies will embrace as they will help buyers understand the landscape more easily. 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. The initiative was born out of the IAB Leadership Summit in 2018 and we’ll continue to develop our work in this space at the forthcoming 2019 IAB UK Leadership Summit in March.

The companies included in the Transparency FAQ at launch include: Exponential, Inskin, Integral Ad Science, Iotec, MC&C Media, OpenX, Rezonence, Rubicon Project, Teads and Unruly.

IAB UK are encouraging all of their members to take part.

The questions covered within the Transparency FAQ are as follows:

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 UGC 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 3rd 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 3rd 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?


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