IAB Issues Ad Verification Guidelines

Coinciding with the rise of online ad verification as a requisite for buyers and sellers, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has released a set of related guidelines and principles. 

Developed in conjunction with the Media Rating Council, the standards were designed to provide a common set of methods and practices for ad verification.

“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.” 

The guidelines cover mobile, email or lead generation campaigns of all types and address a wide range of topics, including ad-serving prevention ( or “ad blocking”), which carries larger implications to buyer and seller because intended ad-serving transactions can be 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. However, ad blocking should only be built into ad-serving systems, so decisions are made pre-serve.

Also of note, 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.

As such, the IAB recommends that 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, according to the IAB. Moreover, it recommends that the industry minimize the use of nested iFrames.

Meanwhile, as geotargeting IP-based processes can vary in quality based on the geotargeting vendor used, the IAB suggests that geotargeting vendors subject their processes to independent auditing, and that natural differences in geotargeting accuracy between vendors be taken into account.

Steve Sullivan, vice president of advertising technology at the IAB, noted that the lack of accountability "created tension between the publishers and marketers.”

Showing the sector’s growing prominence, comScore agreed to buy ad verification company AdXpose for $22 million late last year. Earlier in 2011, meanwhile, DoubleVerify closed a respectable $33 million funding round.



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