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IAB UK unveils bolstered Gold Standard

IAB UK has today launched the latest version of its Gold Standard, which incorporates new criteria to strengthen end-to-end transparency within the digital advertising supply chain.

IAB UK unveils bolstered Gold Standard
Jon Mew: “Bringing greater transparency to the digital advertising supply chain is a key priority.”

Improving supply chain transparency is an ongoing cross-industry priority and trade bodies including the Advertising Association, ISBA (representing brands) and The IPA (representing agencies) are vocally backing the latest version of the Gold Standard, which adds rigour to the existing framework, says IAB UK.

The overriding aim of the Gold Standard, which first launched in 2017, is to bring together industry initiatives that address challenges in online advertising - including ad fraud, brand safety and ad bombardment. The evolved criteria - which launches today after a period of industry consultation - introduces new requirements focused on improving transparency within digital advertising.

Companies certified under the new criteria must commit to implementing IAB Tech Labs’ Buyers.json and DemandChain Object to help address the challenge of scam ads and bring transparency to programmatic transactions. Tech Labs’ Open Measurement SDK (OMSDK) has also been added, to help facilitate third-party viewability and verification measurement for ads served in web video and app environments. Meanwhile, the new criteria incorporates an upgrade of ads.txt, with certified companies needing to adhere to ads.txt 1.1.

Significantly, says IAB UK, the latest launch broadens the scope of companies that can become Gold Standard certified. Audio, CTV and gaming businesses are now eligible for certification, reflecting the growing diversification of digital channels. This is in addition to display and video advertising, which have been covered by the Gold Standard since it first launched in 2017.

The first IAB UK members to be certified under the new criteria are: Activision Blizzard Media, Auto-Trader, Global, GroupM, Hearst, Index Exchange, Magnite, Meta, Omnicom Media Group, The Guardian and Tik Tok.

Publishers, platforms, ad tech providers and media agencies are all eligible for Gold Standard certification. Advertisers cannot be Gold Standard certified, but can help to improve standards in digital advertising by becoming Gold Standard supporters and encouraging their suppliers to be Gold Standard certified.

Commenting on the launch, IAB UK’s CEO Jon Mew said: “Bringing greater transparency to the digital advertising supply chain is a key priority for our industry and something our members are committed to helping deliver. By incorporating these new steps into the Gold Standard, we’re taking a significant step towards that and it’s brilliant that the first companies to be certified come from across the digital ecosystem. This is further reinforced by the support for the Gold Standard from the AA, ISBA and IPA, and shows that our industry is pulling in the same direction for real, effective change.”

Azma Gohar, Director of Compliance at Index Exchange, commented: “The IAB Gold Standard has provided a framework for transparency in the programmatic supply chain, and ultimately helped achieve greater trust with industry partners. The expanded focus on privacy compliance and buy-side transparency in version 2.1 helps to further build on that. We’re proud to be an early adopter of the Gold Standard 2.1, and to continue our work of making the programmatic supply chain more accountable.”

Stephen Woodford, CEO of the Advertising Association, said: “A key mission of the Advertising Association and its members is to help the industry improve the public’s trust in advertising, across all media. In the digital space, the Gold Standard has been a key part of this since we launched our trust action plan, so we are delighted to see it evolving to incorporate the latest ad fraud prevention tools, expanding its remit to incorporate a more diverse range of digital channels and, above all, taking steps to improve supply chain transparency. I’d encourage all businesses within our industry to get behind and support the Gold Standard, as we collectively work towards improving trust in advertising.”

Steve Chester, ISBA’s Director of Media, added: “The inclusion of advertiser and domain identity to supply chain transparency is a very welcome addition to the IAB Gold Standard brand safety aim, and builds on the excellent advances that sellers.json has already introduced to the market. Transparency in the programmatic supply chain continues to improve through technology innovations like these and cross-industry collaboration and we are fully supportive of the IAB’s continued strengthening and development of the Gold Standard across ad fraud, brand safety and bombardment.”

Nigel Gwilliam, Director of Media Affairs at the IPA, said: “We’re really pleased to see the IAB’s Gold Standard expand its remit to include steps that improve transparency within digital advertising. Building on the foundations of brand safety and addressing ad fraud, a more transparent ecosystem is better for all parts of the industry and we’re especially pleased to see greater commitment to best practice in the form of third-party verification.”

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