Tuesday, February 14, 2012
IAB Releases Guidelines for the Conduct of Ad Verification

Common Methodologies for the Evaluation of Campaigns Will Promote Growth, Consistency and Greater Transparency in the Interactive Advertising Buying and Selling Process

NEW YORK, NY (February 14, 2012) — The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today released the final version of “Guidelines for the Conduct of Ad Verification.” This advanced framework, developed in conjunction with the Media Rating Council (MRC), will ensure a common set of methods and practices for ad verification, ultimately providing vital assurances to marketers and publishers alike that companies engaged in the verification of interactive advertising campaigns can themselves be audited against a common, transparent standard.

“These guidelines introduce a transparent and auditable approach to ad verification practices in the industry,” said Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Advertising Technology, IAB. “While ad verification in principle is valuable to the digital advertising industry, the lack of accountability created tension between the publishers and marketers. We developed these guidelines to introduce a level of consistency into campaign assessments commensurate the industry's standards for impression measurement.”

The guidelines provide a detailed set of common methods and practices for verification of online advertising, useful to verification vendors and users of verification services (both buyers and sellers). They include mobile, e-mail or lead generation campaigns of all types and address a wide range of topics, including:

  • Ad-serving prevention (“ad blocking”) carries larger implications to the buyer and/or seller because the intended ad serving transaction is interrupted. The guidelines recommend that ad blocking may be used in instances where the relevant domain or page-level URL is already on a blocking list, for competitive separation and fraud prevention. Ad blocking should only be built into ad serving systems, so decisions are made pre-serve.
     
  • Nested iFrames are often recognized as legitimate technology, but because of browser operational/security considerations, there is limited visibility into the legitimacy of iFrames filled with content from outside the parent domain. For that reason, the guidelines recommend ad verification vendors have procedures to classify and report whether advertising served into iFrames from other domains has been appropriately executed. In addition, the general nature of the verification tools used to view iFrame content should be disclosed. Moreover, it is recommended that the industry minimize the use of nested iFrames.
     
  • Geo-targeting IP-based processes can vary in quality based on the geo-targeting vendor used. The guidelines recommend geo-targeting vendors subject their processes to independent auditing and that natural differences in geo targeting accuracy between vendors be taken into account.

“Consistent and transparent conduct of ad verification is vital for deepening confidence in the industry and driving the advancement of digital advertising,” said George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the Media Rating Council. “We believe the issuance of these guidelines represent a major step toward achieving these goals.”

For a copy of the Guidelines for the Conduct of Ad Verification, please visit www.iab.net/ad_verification.

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.iab.net.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
347.683.1859
[email protected]