IAB UK Gold Standard

Posted on: Friday 05 June 2020

IAB UK is committed to building a sustainable future for digital advertising.

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The IAB UK Gold Standard is a key element of this vision. This page contains all the essential information you need to know about the Gold Standard.

Executive Summary

The IAB UK Gold Standard was announced in October 2017. Initially, it has three simple but fundamental aims - to reduce ad fraud, to improve the digital advertising experience and to increase brand safety by implementing three specific initiatives.

All 24 IAB UK Board Members committed to meeting the IAB UK Gold Standard through signing an open letter to the industry.

The IAB UK Gold Standard is open to IAB UK members and is currently limited to companies operating within display advertising on desktop and mobile web only. 

Aims of the IAB UK Gold Standard

Companies which have registered or are certified for the IAB UK Gold Standard have committed to:

1. Reduce ad fraud through the implementation of, or by demonstrating support for, the IAB Tech Lab's ads.txt initiative. Ads.txt allows domain owners to list who is authorised to sell their inventory, preventing the selling of spoofed or fake inventory.

2. Increase brand safety by becoming certified signatories to the JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) Brand Safety Principles (for current non-signatories) or by continuing to have their policies and processes independently verified (for current signatories).

3. Improve the digital advertising experience for consumers by adhering to the IAB Tech Lab's LEAN Principles and the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads

Please note: there is no cost to IAB UK members for participation in the Gold Standard itself. However, certification for the JICWEBS DTSG does carry financial costs which you can find out more about here

How does the IAB UK Gold Standard work?

Becoming certified is a two-stage process.

Stage one - registration

Register your company for the IAB UK Gold Standard by completing this short online questionnaire. Please use the compliance grid and flowchart on this page to see which category your company falls under. Registrations are confirmed each Friday, and you'll be issued with the IAB UK Gold Standard 'Registered' badge (below) for use on your website and marketing materials. 

Importantly, if you operate different businesses within your overall organisation you’ll need to complete separate registration forms for each type of business that you want to enter into the Gold Standard. For example, if you operate a consumer-facing website and an ad exchange you will need to complete two registration forms.

Gold Standard Registered

Stage two - certification

After your registration has been confirmed, you have six months to submit the evidence for your category outlined in the compliance grid. The cross-industry IAB UK Gold Standard Group (below) has agreed the criteria that different businesses within the digital advertising ecosystem have to do in order to comply with Gold Standard certification, and the evidence which must be submitted. 

Evidence should be sent to goldstandard@iabuk.com for review. When you’ve met all the criteria for your category of company you'll be issued with your Gold Standard 'Certified' badge that you can use on your website and marketing materials.

Gold Standard Certified

A full list of all companies that are Gold Standard Registered or Certified can be found here.

What is the IAB UK Gold Standard Group?

The IAB UK Gold Standard Group is a cross-industry committee of IAB UK members that makes key decisions on Gold Standard issues - for example, what different types of companies have to do in order to comply with the Gold Standard. The members of the group are listed below:

Accenture, Adcolony, Bauer, Exponential, Facebook, Google, GroupM, Index Exchange, Inskin, MGOMG, MMM, NewsUK, OMG, OpenX, Publicis, Quantcast, Shpock, Spark Foundry, Teads, The Guardian, Verizon, Xandr

Support for the IAB UK Gold Standard

Richard Reeves, AOP: "I firmly support IAB UK’s commitment to raising standards in digital advertising through this ‘Gold Standard’ initiative, and the inclusive nature by which they continue to involve AOP, and other trade bodies, to ensure the Gold Standard respects and reflects the principle constituents that comprise the UK’s digital advertising economy."

Phil Smith, ISBA: “Raising standards in digital advertising is the top priority for ISBA and we welcome the work the IAB has been doing to create a Gold Standard. We encourage all parties of the digital advertising industry to get behind these very important initiatives as soon as possible. We are looking forward to working with the IAB in supporting this program.”

Bethan Crockett, Senior Director of Brand Safety and Digital Risk, GroupM EMEA: “GroupM fully supports IAB UK’s Gold Standard initiative and it is fantastic to see the industry committing to implement best practice standards relating to ad fraud, brand safety and the digital advertising user experience.”

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