The Guidelines for the Conduct of Ad Verification consist of a common set of methods and practices for conducting ad verification services. Ad verification is a service that offers technology to ensure that ads appear on intended sites and reach the targeted audience. A source of guidance to any company engaged in ad verification, the focus of this document is on transparent and consistent practices of ad verification. While these guidelines address a wide range of important topics such as ad blocking, nested iFrames, and IP-based geo-targeting processes, detailed technical specifications are out of scope for this document.
Why Develop Guidelines for the Conduct of Ad Verification?
Inconsistent practices for performing ad verification produces discrepancies between ad measurement reports and ad verification reports. A lack of transparency in ad verification methods complicates discrepancy resolution and can foster mistrust in the industry. The need to establish guidelines for proper conduct of ad verification was in response to these concerns on both the buy- and sell-side of the industry. Consistent and transparent conduct of ad verification is critical for increasing trust in the industry and fostering continued growth of digital advertising.
About the Development of this Document
The Guidelines for the Conduct of Ad Verification originated from a project led by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and facilitated by the Media Rating Council (MRC). In addition, participation was elicited from a large group of industry organizations including: ad verification vendors, publishers, ad servers, ad networks, agencies, and others.
Who Should Use this Document?
This document provides criteria for an independent third party audit process whereby the practices and disclosures of verification vendors themselves can be validated. Publishers can refer to the document to assist in vendor certification processes as well use guidelines in their contractual Terms and Conditions. In addition, this document provides guidance to companies engaged in ad verification (both buy-side and sell-side) to ensure a common understanding of existing practices in campaign assessments. Finally, this document can serve an educational function for a general reader interested in learning more about ad verification services and key issues involved in their practice.
While this document establishes guidelines for common ad verification practices across the industry, it does not provide any legally binding terms between parties nor does it supersede any existing agreements between those parties. It also does not establish a relationship between the parties or even constitute an agreement between them. It is merely a point of reference. Organizations may choose to incorporate this document into official terms and conditions or other legally binding agreements, but this document remains a point of reference for the industry.
Adoption & Moving Forward
Among the goals of this project was the goal to reduce the chaos that has surrounded ad verification practice since its inception and to improve the amount of trust between industry organizations engaged in ad verification. However, only with adoption of the guidelines outlined in this document can the industry achieve these results.
Every effort was made to ensure the collaborative involvement of industry stakeholders in this matter. With affected parties writing the guidelines, every angle raised was analyzed and accounted for. However, as the industry evolves, ad verification is likely to evolve with it.
As with all IAB initiatives, the IAB will work continuously with MRC and industry organizations to ensure the guidelines set forth in this document remain relevant and support the free exchange of online advertising business. In other words, this document is a living document and your feedback is welcome.
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