IAB Updates Quality Guidelines, Changes Include Programmatic Trading

The Interactive Advertising Bureau on Thursday released the latest version of its Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG)—the self-policing framework aimed at insuring the transparency and quality of digital advertising between buyers and sellers--for public comment.

Among changes, the updated guidelines go beyond the initial focus on networks and exchanges to encompass the full scope of programmatic trading including large publishers, demand-side platforms (DSPs), sell-side platforms (SSPs), trading desks, agencies and marketers.

They also provide further detail on obtaining certification through the QAG program, required disclosure and add a new option for being certified by a third party. The document integrates video and mobile advertising into the main body of rules for promoting brand safety.

The new guidelines -- QAG 2.0 -- offer new sections providing an overview of digital advertising transactions, how disclosures by sellers are broken down, and how different formats, including video and mobile, are treated under the quality assurance framework. Disclosure, for instance, is divided into three phases: inventory acquisition, evaluation, and transaction execution.

Generally, transaction details and level of transparency are disclosed before a buy is executed. For programmatic buys, full real-time disclosure requires the seller to provide the complete URL of the original page where an ad displays to the buyer’s system. Other types of data shared under programmatic trading might include auction type, inventory category and whether the CPM floor is manual or dynamic.

For video and mobile advertising, the guidelines outline disclosure according to the technical context, content type, and type of placement for each format. For video, the context, for example, could be digital in-stream video, the content where ads are show might be video, a game, or text, and the placement would indicate the kind of in-stream video, such as ad pods or skippable ads.

In addition to self-certification, QAG 2.0 offers the option of having an independent vendor certify a company (including non-IAB members) under the program. The process is essentially the same for both, involving assigning a compliance officer, attending training, vetting inventory and submitting a compliance checklist.

At the end of the six months, the IAB will publish the initial list of certified companies. To date, the IAB says some 30 entities have been certified, with another 15 committing to do so under the new guidelines. Advertising.com, BrightRoll, Casale Media, Google, Microsoft, and ValueClick are among those already certified.

The deadline for public comment on the guidelines is May 20. 

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3 comments about "IAB Updates Quality Guidelines, Changes Include Programmatic Trading".
  1. Rob Rasko from 614 Group , April 18, 2013 at 3:06 p.m.
    As the leader of this timely effort that is the result of months of hard work, I am confident it will serve a multitude of key stakeholders beyond networks & exchanges. The new guidelines capture input and feedback from industry experts and participants from across the digital advertising ecosystem who recognize the critical need for a program that will uniformly allow for transparency, quality, brand safety and mutual trust. In fact, the industry has been so anxious for a program like this that 50 companies already signed on board to participate in QAG 2.0 before the new guidelines have even been finalized. We look forward to getting comments from the broader digital marketing arena, so we can continue our momentum and progress, and promote further adoption. Any all comment should come to me at rob@iab.net
  2. Domenico Tassone from Viewthrough Measurement Consortium , April 21, 2013 at 9:56 a.m.
    Pretty impressive - looking forward to reviewing.
  3. Rob Rasko from 614 Group , April 21, 2013 at 11:50 a.m.
    Thanks Dominic. Feel free to reach out directly for a deeper dive. Looking forward to your comments.