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Rebuilding Trust – Australian Digital Advertising Practices Released

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15th August 2018 in

The digital advertising industry has been under extensive scrutiny over the last few years. Fraught with numerous cases of fraudulent reporting, inappropriate use of data and lack of transparency, the industry has been clambering to regain its integrity.

While not all digital advertising operators have been engaging in unscrupulous behaviour, almost everyone has been cast under the same shadow.

In an effort to rebuild lost trust, three of Australia’s key industry associations have just released the first joint digital advertising practices guidelines.

As detailed in the IAB release post:

“The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), Australian Association of National Advertisers (IAB) and Media Federation of Australia (MFA) have been working together to build trust and instil confidence in the digital advertising value chain for all participants and, in doing so, optimise its value.”

“…While these Practices have been created with the advertiser in mind, they also serve to educate and inform all players within the digital ecosystem including agencies, publishers and ad tech vendors.”

Four key areas are addressed in the first iteration of the practices, namely Digital Transparency, Viewability, Ad Fraud and Brand Safety, and Data Transparency.

Digital Transparency covers of the need for open dialogue between advertisers, agencies, publishers and platforms around the technology, data and services most appropriate for desired objectives and outcomes.

Viewability is a well-used advertising metric, however, there is a great deal of confusion around its definition. The Practices aims to provide greater clarity and more uniform reporting on it.

Ad Fraud and Brand Safety while very different things, are covered off in the same area.

With digital advertising now representing over 50% of all advertising in Australia, Ad Fraud is a major issue for advertisers. The Practices looks to address the deceptive practices used to fraudulently inflate impressions and clicks to generate revenue.

There have been several high-profile cases where poor ad placement has had serious repercussions on brands. The guidelines assist in helping advertisers understand what is an acceptable risk, and encourage them to do their due diligence, while also calling on platforms and publishers to provide suitable opportunities to control such risks.

Data Transparency covers what has been one of the hottest topics in the industry. The proper use and protection of users’ data are paramount in the industry. The guidelines aim to champion best practice in privacy and security behaviour, and the prompt and effective response to breaches.

The Australian Digital Advertising Practices is a thorough document which sets out to deliver some very overdue clarity around the industry’s key areas of concern. But it’s not exhaustive and it’s not governance. As it details:

• Designed to inform and educate participants to ask the right questions and make informed decisions.
• Putting the accountability for the solution into the hands of the participants.
• Practical and for everyday use through a checklist approach.
• Flexible to fit individual advertiser or partner needs.
• Available to all.
• Designed for Australia and the way we work.

• Fixed standards or targets.
• Mandated solutions.
• The same answer for every advertiser or partner.
• International answers trying to address local issues.”

With that all said, it’s a crucial move by the industry at large, and while it might not completely solve some inherent problems, it’s a positive step in the right direction.

All advertisers, agencies and publishers should take the time to acquaint themselves with the Australian Digital Advertising Practices. Download a copy of the document here.

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