New principles initiative launched to stem risk of ad misplacement

By Chris Lee

As NMK reported recently, a third of companies that advertise online have no idea where their ads are placed. Nearly half of all marketing decision makers believe that online advertising is not transparent enough and fear most that their ads may appear next to pornographic content, on hate sites, or illegal music and video sites.

To help address this growing concern, the Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) has launched UK good practice aimed at minimising the risk of display advertising misplacement.

DTSG is a UK group comprising representatives of the entire digital display advertising market, including trade bodies the Association of Online Publishers (AOP), ISBA – the Voice of British Advertisers, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK.

The UK Good Practice Principles

The DTSG says that the UK Good Practice Principles “set new industry-wide standards, including the wide use of Content Verification (CV) tools and appropriate / inappropriate schedules, to inject greater transparency into the digital display advertising market, as well as provide marketers with more control to help ensure that their advertising is far less likely to be associated with inappropriate or illegal content that could jeopardize their brand.”
Under the UK Good Practice Principles, committed businesses will have their advertising misplacement policies and processes verified by an independent third party. In doing so, businesses will receive a seal of compliance that advertisers and agencies look for when buying digital display advertising.

The verifying third party needs to be a registered auditor and member of either The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) or The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). This will include ABC. In exceptional circumstances a Signatory may apply to the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) to use a provider who is not a member of one of the above bodies, setting out the exceptional circumstances for consideration.

“Major step forward”

“The DTSG’s Good Practice Principles represent a major step forward for the whole industry to help minimise the risk of ad misplacement in a complex market,” said IAB’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Nick Stringer. “They will give marketers greater confidence to continue to invest in digital and the IAB encourages all relevant ad trading businesses to participate.”

According to IPA’s Head of Digital, Nigel Gwilliam, misplaced advertising affects the whole online industry, so it is “only right” that the industry is addressing the issue from a cross-industry standpoint.

“These principles will increase the transparency, accountability, trust and safety that our advertisers and agencies so rightly deserve when placing ads online. Any business keen to demonstrate its responsibility and commitment to brand safety has nothing to lose by signing up to them, and everything to gain,” he added.

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