Thursday, November 3, 2011
IAB Releases Ad Verification Conduct Guidelines

Public Comment Period Opens for a Common Set of Tactics and Principles to Create a Transparent, Accountable and Equitable Evaluation of Campaigns

NEW YORK, NY (November 3, 2011) — The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today released its “Guidelines for the Conduct of Ad Verification” for public comment. 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 their agency partners about the coordination, execution and accuracy of interactive advertising campaigns.

“The volume of advertising impressions served at any given moment is enormous, and this volume makes it difficult for agencies to verify and measure the success of campaigns,” said Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Digital Supply Chain Solutions, IAB. “The new technologies that cycle regularly through the industry complicate the verification process further, adding urgency to the need to develop a set of common, uniform guidelines that apply equally to all stakeholders in the ad verification process. These new guidelines will help agencies, publishers and their customers collaboratively create an environment of greater transparency and accountability in their campaign assessments.”

The recommended principles, which offer information and standards to verification vendors, as well as buy and sell-side users of verification services, address a wide range of important topics, including:

  • Ad-serving prevention (“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 to prevent fraud. Ad blocking should be built into ad serving systems, so decisions are made pre-serve.
  • Nested iFrames are often recognized as legitimate technology, but the limited visibility around what is served into these iFrames can cause ad serving issues to go undetected. For that reason, ad verification vendors should have procedures to classify and report the extent to which 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 use of nested iFrames is minimized.
  • Geo-targeting IP-based processes can vary in quality based on the geo-targeting vendor used. Geo-targeting vendors, therefore, should be encouraged to subject their processes to independent auditing.

“MRC was pleased to participate in the process of developing these guidelines for conducting ad verification,” said George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the Media Rating Council. “Ad verification services who comply with these guidelines will help to enhance industry confidence that online ads are being run according to the terms agreed to between buyers and sellers, which benefits the entire online advertising ecosystem.”

The deadline for public comment is December 2, 2011. Once the public comment period closes, the IAB Ad Ops Council will meet to evaluate comments, make any needed changes to the draft Guidelines, and release a final version. Comments are being accepted by email by Ramona Gonzales, IAB lead on Ad Verification, at [email protected].

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

For more information about the IAB Ad Ops Council and its members, please visit www.iab.net/ad_ops_council.

Ad verification and other key topics will be spotlighted at the upcoming IAB Advertising Operations Summit on November 7, 2011 in New York City. For more information and to register, please visit: www.iab.net/adops/overview.

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]