The IAB UK is committed to tackling five major industry issues: brand safety, ad viewability, ad fraud, ad blocking and user privacy.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in the U.K. has been releasing one statement per day this week to clarify its position on five major industry issues: brand safety, ad viewability, ad fraud, ad blocking and user privacy.

The five statements, dubbed "IAB Believes," are "campaignable thinking" in response to ongoing problems in the transforming digital marketing industry, according to Guy Phillipson, chief executive officer (CEO) of the IAB UK.

"Digital marketing in the U.K. is a very mature industry that comes with many challenges. The IAB regularly speaks to marketing directors and chief marketing officers about their pain points at work," Phillipson explains. "When we were looking at the challenges they were facing, we figured that we could put all of the issues together into one place."

Among the five major challenges, brand safety is the biggest one for advertisers, according to Phillipson.

"Brands are concerned that their ads appear next to content that is inappropriate for the brand," he says. "This issue is becoming even more complicated today, due to the rise of programmatic and the sophisticated nature of online advertising."

In order to reduce the risk of display advertising misplacement, the IAB UK helped the Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) release Good Practice Principles. Meanwhile, the organization uses DTSG's platform for the U.K. digital advertising industry to help tackle infringing copyright by enabling the use of Infringing Website List. This initiative has largely enhanced brand safety, reducing copyright-infringing websites by 73 percent, according to Phillipson.

Ad viewability is the second biggest concern for advertisers. As a result, the IAB UK will collaborate this year, with the Media Rating Council and accredited (Read more...) partners, on viewability standards.

"We are starting off by tackling display advertising. Once we're satisfied with that, we will move to video and mobile," Phillipson explains. "By the end of the year, we should have a consistent viewability standard for video."

The IAB UK is also committed to tackling ad fraud, ad blocking and user privacy. For ad fraud, the organization will first come up with common definitions and standards of what constitutes fraud. After that, the organization will provide a traffic taxonomy document helping the industry understand different types of traffic. Then, it will develop an accreditation of fraud detection companies and later, create a set of anti-fraud good practice principles.

In terms of ad blocking, industry research shows that there are now 198 million active adblock users around the world and that ad blocking is estimated to cost publishers nearly $22 billion during 2015. The IAB UK will continue educating Web users within the region whose online activities are funded by advertising.

"Public education is key. If the Web had zero ads, most sites would have to charge subscriptions," Phillipson says. "But I think this is a two-way street. Many online users choose to block ads because they find ads irrelevant and annoying."

When focusing on safeguarding user privacy, the IAB UK will give online users greater transparency and control over the information that is collected and used to make advertising more relevant and effective. For example, the organization has been advocating an "AdChoices" program that offers consumers the flexibility to opt out of the interest-based advertising they receive from participating companies. Last year, more than 160 billion AdChoices icons were served across Europe.

However, the IAB UK may need to seek new approaches depending on European data protection reform, according to Phillipson.

"The challenge for Europe is that the legislation proposes to define all data, including cookies and IP addresses, as personal, meaning that we may have to make adjustments to our existing environment," he says. "If that happens, the IAB UK will be front and center, helping the whole industry navigate our increasingly cookie-less world."

The IAB UK's counterparts in the U.S., including the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), applaud "IAB Believes."

"These five challenges definitely apply to the U.S. market, as well, almost one for one, because the digital supply chain is global in nature," says Mike Zaneis, president and CEO of the TAG. "We are glad that the IAB U.K. is addressing these issues in order to provide a better digital environment."

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