IAB Tech Lab Tackles Changes To Browser Ad Targeting

Well-documented changes to browser-based ad targeting across a swath of companies like Apple, Mozilla and Google prompted the IAB Tech Lab DigiTrust ID Working Group to sharply pivot its focus earlier this year. The group began digging "deeper into shared concerns” by member companies related to ad targeting through web browsers such as Safari, Firefox and Chrome. 

The DigiTrust ID Working Group, now talking publicly about its focus, formed a smaller unit consisting of privacy attorneys and technology influencers to determine how to address these changes and the next steps to take, said Jordan Mitchell, senior vice president and operations for the IAB Tech Lab.

“There’s general consensus on how to address the changes that these browser companies made and continue to make,” Mitchell said. “We recognize that consumer trust must be at the center of everything.”

IAB Tech Lab, which develops technical standards for the advertising industry, created the DigiTrust ID Working Group in August 2018, with the first meeting following in September.

The focus began with creating specifications around the return on investment for the standardized identifier used in ad targeting, along with ways that companies can adopt the technology as the industry changes.

Between 250 and 300 employees from a variety of brands, publishers and ad-tech companies will collaborate on building standards. The change in focus began early in 2019.

“It’s pretty clear what browsers have been doing during the last several years because of the limitations of HTTP and the proliferation of JavaScript on the pages that consumers visit and the ill effects,” Jordan said.

The types of changes to which Mitchell refers points to a similar group, Identity Standards, which the IAB Tech Lab created in 2017. The group developed workarounds for Apple’s Intelligent Tracker Prevention, which reduced the value of advertising impressions that serve up on mobile and desktop in Safari.

“We don’t work with the browsers today, but that would be a wonderful next step,” he said. “We realize consumer trust must be at the center of everything we do.”

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