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10 Steps to Effective Data Stewardship Outlined in New IAB Best Practices Guide

IAB Data Council Provides Foundation for Ongoing Expansion of Digital Advertising Through Quality Data Management

PALM DESERT, CA (February 11, 2014) — Although ethical and efficient data flow is critical to the growth and development of the digital advertising industry, the collection, management, use, storage, and disposal of data over time has become difficult to carry out effectively, in part because of the explosion in recent years of the sheer quantity of information. To meet these challenges, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and its Data Council have compiled a new best practices document, titled “Handle with Care: 10 Steps to Good Data Stewardship,” which was released today at the 2014 IAB Leadership Meeting: “Marketing 2020: The Digital Agenda” at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, CA.

The document lays out a series of 10 steps that, if followed, provide a solid foundation for data flow and a jumping-off point for future discussion of data supervision.

  • Make your data policies transparent – Tell your customers exactly how you will use their data through clear disclosures and contracts, and then make sure you stick to them.
  • Ensure and regularly verify data quality – Routinely check data to make sure it meets or exceeds the quality requirements for its intended use while repairing, augmenting, or rejecting data that does not meet those standards.
  • Guarantee data security – Implement firewalls, encryption, audit logs, and passwords to keep all data safe from unauthorized use or corruption. Extra precautions should be taken with more sensitive data, such as users’ personally identifiable information.
  • Provide data protection – Implement appropriate backup systems, data replication, and other measures to make sure that data is not lost or accidentally deleted.
  • Use the right tools – Companies and organizations should use commercial data management solutions, while consumers should customize their browsers’ privacy settings and search for other appropriate tools online.
  • Define a reasonable period for the retention of data – Clearly communicate to your users how long data will be retained to your users. Data often becomes inaccurate in a relatively short period of time, and many companies keep it on hand for longer than needed. Also, it is imperative that companies stay in compliance with laws and regulations regarding privacy.
  • Employ appropriate tagging implementation, maintenance, and other procedures – Make sure that all data is tagged with the proper level of sensitivity, or access permissions by the correct company, group or organization.
  • Make the value proposition for online behavioral advertising clear and explicit – Interactive advertising lowers the cost and increases the effectiveness of messaging for advertisers and marketers while providing clients with information on products and services they are likely to enjoy at a better price point.
  • Market your data and its power to help you reach specific audience segments, but do not exaggerate – When pitching your services to companies, make sure you are just as transparent as in your disclosures to consumers. If your capabilities are limited, make sure you say so.
  • Place non-proprietary data in the public domain – If information in your possession offers a public good, and is not of a proprietary nature, enlist the services of a government, nonprofit, or other organization or website to maintain this data for public access.

“By following these 10 steps, marketers, ad networks, and every other link in the chain can drastically improve data stewardship,” said Patrick Dolan, EVP & COO, IAB and head of the IAB Data Council. “If all the necessary stakeholders can commit to these best practices, we’ll be able to establish the type of top-grade, highly principled data stream that will fuel the digital marketing industry’s rapid momentum. While there will be many more conversations to come, this report is a major step in the right direction on this issue.”

“Digital publishers are embracing the power and potential of interactive advertising. It’s important for our industry to continue to adopt data practices that inspire trust and confidence in consumers as well as advertisers,” said James Deaker, Vice President of Revenue Management, Privacy and Policy, Yahoo and co-Chair for the IAB Data Council. “The IAB Data Council helps provide guidance for companies to build solid data stewardship programs that can continue to evolve with the growth of the marketplace.”

To download “Handle with Care: 10 Steps to Good Data Stewardship,” please visit

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 600 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]

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