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IAB’s TAG Program Works, but Too Expensive

Just in time for all the changes in the global market that GDPR will bring next year comes the welcome news that Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) certified companies experienced 83% less fraud this year than the market as a whole. TAG, as you may remember, was an initiative we worked with two years ago when it was getting under way. This year, the group introduced Certified Against Fraud, a self-attested certification for companies that were willing to have  compliance officer who will inspect the company’s policies and priorities and tell internal people how to comply.

This year, 170 companies joined the program to combat ad fraud. Certain large advertisers have already said they will not do business with companies that have not been certified. IAB has also made the program mandatory for all its members in 2018.

A study conducted by The 614 Group assessed the rate of invalid traffic in 6.5 billion digital ad impressions executed by three large media companies — GroupM, IPG, and Horizon Media on behalf of their clients between July and October. Every impression was delivered through a TAG certified channel. So how did 614 Group know what the rate of invalid digital traffic is overall? They benchmarked it at 8.83% for display and 12.03% when video was included. On TAG channels the rate fell to 1.48%.

We’re thinking the one thing wrong with this TAG certification process is that it is only available to large industry players. Currently, it costs $15,000 annually to join TAG and another $10,000 to get certified. If IAB is going to require this next year,  they need to add a program for smaller players and startups, which I bet is where some of the remainder of their invalid traffic comes from.

And for smaller players and startups that are legitimate, the cost is prohibitive. Yet many startups have promising new ideas and technologies that marketers need to be able to try to get new ideas. On behalf of all those small but important and innovative players, who will help move digital advertising forward in the coming years, we intend to say something at the IAB Leadership summit in Palm Springs in February.

 

 

 

 

ZEDO Among the First to Go Through TAG Certification

The distance between publisher and advertiser in any transaction, which has widened significantly with the growth of ad tech, is about to grow smaller again. There are several reasons for this, among them the move to private platforms and away from exchanges, the growth of more sophisticated buyers and sellers, and the perception among consumers that trackers violate privacy and slow page load times without delivering any value.

Yet another of the reasons may well be the cross-industry Trustworthy Accountability Initiative, which has spun off into its own entity, and is hard at work on ways to clean up the online media industry supply chain. Several previous standards are being rolled into the work of TAG, including the Inventory Quality Guidelines and the Open RTB standards. TAG has already begun to take companies through a process to become a trusted partner and receive a TAG seal of approval. To begin the process, a company must register, and must self-attest to intellectual property (anti-privacy) and transparent reporting practices.Eventually, self-attestation will give way to their party attestation.

ZEDO, always an early adopter, is deep into this process.

A company that has made it through the process will be given a TAG ID in a database, identifying it as a trustworthy partner with which to do business. Google has apparently already begun to pass these TAG IDs back and forth during transactions.

In addition to the TAG ID, each transaction between a buyer and seller will also receive an ID through which the particular transaction can be identified and reported. This will determine payment.

There has been a bit of confusion so far between the company’s TAG ID, which is permanent, and its Payment IDs, which will vary by transaction.

Remember, all of this has to happen in real tine, without causing noticeable slowdowns in the transactions, especially on mobile. This is why some of the middlemen between buyers and sellers will have to go away.

By next year, look for many companies to lay down the law, as Group M has already done, and refuse to trade with anyone who isn’t certified. The industry hopes to weed out the bad apples this way, before consumers get more annoyed than they already seem to be,