IAB Site Tagging Best Practices

Since the inception of digital advertising, advances in technology have made it possible for website owners and their partners to collect anonymous data that enables a cleaner experience for visitors and establishes a foundation for selling ad space to advertisers.

Websites are assembled fresh each time they are displayed in a browser. Content, advertisements and other customizations are provided by various partners and are stitched together to form the website viewed by the user. The website ‘calls’ to web servers for these individual bits of content using JavaScript or HTML code. These lines of JavaScript or HTML code are called tags. In the interactive advertising ecosystem, tags are essential because for making calls to various ad servers, as well as for transferring information between parties to help tailor an experience for the user.

While tags can add value to a site, increased tagging may also create technical and operational challenges for the site. Common challenges include: operational strain, unintentional transfer of data, user abandonment, negative impact to customer experience (including performance issues), and increased privacy concerns. These challenges exist in part due to the proliferation of tags in the current digital advertising landscape.

The IAB Site Tagging Best Practice is an educational and procedural reference addressing common challenges for site tag and data management faced by advertisers and publishers. This document provides insight into the rise of site tag usage to meet evolving marketing needs, identifies areas for potential value loss to site owners, and offers prescribed best practices to mitigate these risks.