Online Advertising’s Five Biggest Headaches

The UK branch of IAB, perhaps because it has been working all along and finally has reached consensus on what it wants to say, picked the end of August to release its IAB Believes campaign, a week long challenge to the industry to fix five of its biggest problems. If you are in the industry both inside and out of the UK, you’ve already been wrestling with these challenges, but I don’t think we can discuss them often enough if we are to make sure online advertising — and with it free content — continues to exist.

Brand Safety: “Around a dozen major brands were left red-faced earlier this year when their ads were discovered on unsavory sites devoted to pedophilia, incest, bestiality and racism. If there’s one thing  sure to dent your brand reputation, that’s probably it.This story in The Sun attracted attention to the ongoing problem of brand safety online, while household brand names were blasted for not taking more control of where their ads – and, of course, their money – ended up.” So IAB will be driving brand safety standards.

Viewability: “The aim is that the entire marketplace – agencies, advertisers and publishers alike – will benefit from improved quality, accountability and effectiveness when it comes to their digital campaigns.More broadly, it heralds a new era in delivery measurement for the advertising industry. Moving to viewable impressions offers the valuable prospect of guaranteed impact for advertisers. It means that digital media represents a more exciting prospect than ever before. Hear a word of caution, however: This is about the ad being in-view so it has an opportunity to be seen.” And then it’s up to the creative.

Ad Fraud: “We are committed to ensuring that the significant investment brands make in digital advertising is effective and reaches the right audience. Working with our industry partners, we will issue practical advice, and accredit technology solutions to stamp out fraud in the supply chain.” This is also being worked on by the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) in the US.

Ad Blockers: “Our goal is to help make all forms of digital advertising more effective, efficient and relevant to people¹s interests. We want to help brands reach their audience and to provide revenue to publishers so they can continue to make their content, services and applications widely available … We believe ad blocking undermines this approach.” It will be interesting to see if IAB can convince consumers to turn off ad blockers.

Privacy. IAB has no choice but to advocate for better privacy, as consumers have already voted on this. “Together with our industry partners across Europe and beyond, we are working to ensure advertising businesses give citizens greater transparency and control over the information that is collected and used to make advertising more relevant and effective.”

These are indeed the top issues for marketers in the coming year.  We’ve been watching them loom on the horizon for a while, and as a result we have built a private platform for buyers to log in, buy our unique formats,  and see them served by us to our premium publisher network — without corruption in the supply chain and with complete transparency.