How our industry approaches standards for digital advertising

April 28, 2017

Since industry standards are essential for our programmatic advertising industry, we’re pleased to welcome additional perspective from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

by Alanna Gombert, General Manager, IAB Tech Lab

The programmatic advertising industry has been hard at work coming up with global digital technical ad standards for all companies to follow. Viewability, digital measurement across devices and media, and sorting through new complexities introduced by technology have been priorities. As an industry, we have made progress establishing standards in taxonomy, ad formats, and creative guidelines but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.

Where do we start?

As we work through the issues one by one, it is clear that to move the conversation forward we need to separate business negotiations away from technical standards.

To do this, there should be a framework through which companies, both large and small, can enter into the digital ad ecosystem whether via real-time bidding (RTB), direct buys, video, mobile, etc.—and be able to measure all of it in an easy fashion and not have these entry points be negotiation points. The mantra of “equal access for all” is palpable.

As an industry we are looking to democratize the technology framework of the advertising ecosystem so that everyone has a voice into the standards that will govern our industry. Our efforts have been successful thus far, including establishing the following standards:

  • Video Player-Ad Interface Definition (VPAID) establishes a common interface between video players and ad units

  • Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) gives consistent instructions to your video player on how to handle an ad

  • Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definition (MRAID) is a common API for mobile rich media ads that will run in mobile apps

  • Open Real-Time Bidding (OpenRTB) allows an individual ad impression to be put up for bid in real time

There are a number of different initiatives helping to resolve industry challenges around fraud and brand safety including the The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG). Specific outcomes from these partnerships include work around eliminating fraudulent digital advertising traffic, combating malware, fight ad-supported Internet piracy, and promoting brand safety.

We are also working through the open source measurement SDK to provide one “transport” framework for companies to use to implement their private libraries while committing to a more seamless SDK implementation for the greater good of our industry.

Collaboration from all partners in our landscape is critical to our success in the next evolution of digital advertising. New technologies, data limitations (especially in the mobile space), and the rapid “digitalization” of many aspects of our lives behooves us to come together to create a framework from which to launch a safe and effective digital advertising supply chain.

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