The Industry Task Force That's Missing A Large Part Of The Industry

This week, Media Daily News reported on an important joint industry task force initiative to discuss and negotiate new standard terms and conditions covering digital advertising buys.

The task force is made up of The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and I am here for it.

I can’t remember how long ago it was that these three industry bodies jointly worked together, but I am glad they’re doing so now. It is very necessary to review and update the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of digital ad industry buys. The last update was done in 2018, and we all know that the industry has seriously evolved since that year.

They will need to address influencer marketing, which has dramatically matured since 2018. From my own experience, it has become one of the most impactful and audience-relevant means of delivering messages to target audiences. The task force may also have to think about how the industry should manage the eventual/potential disappearance of TikTok. Or, if TikTok survives, how its consumer data should be managed going forward.



The bad guys are still very much in the game, and in a way should be admired for their creative innovations to scam well-intentioned marketers. CTV has matured, and so has fraud within it. Frankly, fraud continues to be an issue for all things programmatic. The task force may want to be bold and create T&Cs that state one of the key safety filter providers (like IAS, MOAT or DoubleVerify) should always be included in all programmatic buys. The advertiser and agency can agree which one they like best. But one should always be included just to do the absolute maximum to minimize fraudulent placements.

And then there is the newest challenge for the industry, which is to understand how artificial intelligence, specifically ChatGPT and other creative content AI, will eat an as-yet-unimaginable number of digital advertising jobs, and will deliver content in combination with visuals at the speed of light. It's key how safeguards and transparency for AI will be defined in the new T&Cs.

Finally, brand safety concerns should be at an all-time high due to tech company layoffs and their general movement towards less oversight and a more laissez-faire approach to what is and is not considered offensive or otherwise harmful content. The T&Cs should define minimum safety standards and clear penalties for offenders in all areas of the food chain.

Yes, they will catch flack from the rest of the industry represented in the task force. But if history has taught us anything over the last decade, it is that these companies are not moved by industry pressure. Previous bans and pushback have not resulted in any meaningful change. And that should be  concerning to all of us.

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