IAB 'Leans' Into Ad Block Solution, Says 'We Messed Up'

In an effort to get out in front of the rapid adoption of ad blocking technologies -- and more importantly, behaviors -- the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s “Tech Lab” this morning issued a set of principles intended to “guide the next phases” of technical standards for the digital advertising supply chain.

“We messed up,” IAB Senior Vice President-Technology and Ad Operations Scott Cunningham concedes -- not once, but twice -- in a post announcing the new principles, dubbed LEAN, an acronym that stands for “light, encrypted, ad choice supported, non-invasive ads.”

Cunningham, who also serves as general manager of the lab, implied the mess was due to the rush to build the early Internet’s technical infrastructure without anticipating the impact the current state of intrusive advertising clutter would have on the “user experience” and said the principles are intended to correct that imbalance going forward.

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Citing the “rise of ad blocking” explicitly, Cunningham implied the principles are still formative and invited “all parties for public comment” before ratifying them. He added that, “‘LEAN ads’ do not replace the current advertising standards,” but are intended to direct the industry toward “an alternative set of standards that provide choice for marketers, content providers, and consumers.”

As for an explicit description of the actual principles, well, they were kind of lean too. Here’s how Cunningham describes them:

“Among the many areas of concentration, we must also address frequency capping on retargeting in ad tech and make sure a user is targeted appropriately before, but never after they make a purchase. If we are so good at reach and scale, we can be just as good, if not better, at moderation.  Additionally, we must address volume of ads per page as well as continue on the path to viewability. The dependencies here are critical to an optimized user experience.”
4 comments about "IAB 'Leans' Into Ad Block Solution, Says 'We Messed Up'".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 15, 2015 at 10:21 a.m.

    It seems to me that the items mentioned in the last paragraph are the ones that should be getting the most attention----immediately---not later.

  2. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, October 15, 2015 at 11:12 a.m.

    It seems to me that appropriately targeting a user after they make a purchase should be an important part of the marketing function. Post-purchase advertising is a chance to build a long-term relationship and also to confirm the brand choice. The data exists to evolve messaging to post-purchase relationship, as long as marketers are willing to put in the effort.

    Too often I see the word "scale" being used to define the mass shoveling of messages without applying decision phases. Think about scaling down instead of scaling up, and your advertising might actually be more relevant. This also applies to publishers.

  3. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, October 15, 2015 at 1:50 p.m.

    And if the user makes the purchase offline without leaving a discernable trail after browsing online to reach the buying decision, how effective will a "retarget=no" be? Won't we still target product category related ads to those who view a lot on the item?

  4. Brian Nakamoto from Tightrope Interactive, Inc., October 15, 2015 at 7:11 p.m.

    It seems like IAB is trying to catch up to Eyeo's AcceptableAds.org. The latter provides some incentive to follow its guidelines because "acceptable ads" can be whitelisted by adblockers utilizing Adblock Plus' feed.

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