Google and Facebook commit to ‘gold standard’ to clean up digital advertising

The digital giants have committed themselves to the IAB’s new ‘Gold Standard’ initiative, which looks to “raise the standards” and address ad fraud and brand safety in online advertising.

Google and Facebook have committed themselves to a new initiative by the IAB to address common digital advertising woes such as ad fraud and brand safety.

The ‘Gold Standard’ programme, which launches today (18 October), sees 23 IAB UK board members, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, promise to take three key actions to improve digital advertising:

  1. Reduce ad fraud by implementing the ‘ads.txt’ initiative on all sites carrying ads. This means publishers and distributors are forced to declare who is authorised to sell their inventory, thereby improving transparency for programmatic buyers.
  2. Improve the digital advertising experience for consumers by adhering to the LEAN principles, the Coalition for Better Advertising standards and never using the 12 “bad” ads. In short, ads have to be light, encrypted and non-invasive.
  3. Increase brand safety by working with UK body JICWEBS, which benchmarks best practice for online trading, with a view to become certified or maintain certification.

Initially, the Gold Standard has these three fundamental aims, but could be expanded in future and the IAB will look to encourage its members to tackle other issues such as audience measurement and viewability.

The deadline for implementing the three initiatives will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Brand safety has been high on advertisers’ list of priorities this year since P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard issued a rallying cry to the industry to clean up the “murky” media supply system. Meanwhile, YouTube’s brand safety scandal, which saw advertising placed next to extremist or pornographic content, also led advertisers to pull back – with some brands still refusing to advertise on the platform.

“Everyone agrees that digital advertising standards need to improve to keep this industry sustainable and thriving. The IAB Gold Standard is a practical measure that demonstrates media owner commitment to making this happen,” said the IAB’s chief digital officer Tim Elkington.

“Media owners need to send a clear signal to advertisers and agencies that they take their responsibilities seriously to offer the best environment possible so that brands can confidently use digital advertising.”

The full 23 board member signatories are AppNexus, Bauer Media, ESI Media, Facebook, Google, Guardian Media Group, GroundTruth, Immediate Media, Mail Brands, Microsoft, News UK, Oath, Quantcast, RadiumOne, Teads, Telegraph Media Group, TripAdvisor, Trinity Mirror Solutions, Twitter, Vevo, Viant, Videology and Weve.

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