Collaboration is key: IAB's response to WFA's Global Media Charter

Jon Mew

We at IAB UK agree with the intention of the WFA's Global Media Charter and welcome any change that supports our industry by helping to build a sustainable future for digital advertising. In order for digital advertising to succeed, it needs to work for everyone - marketers, agencies, media owners and, most importantly, people. 
 
When the IAB UK started, our mission was simple - spread awareness and grow digital. Fast forward 21 years and digital now makes up more than 50% of the UK's ad spend because it's effective, it's where people spend their time and it's the best way to wow audiences. 
 
But a lot has changed in those years; perhaps the most important transformation has come within the last 14 months after Marc Pritchard's reality check that forced us to assess our practices and ways of working. We've made great strides in addressing the key challenges facing our industry; I'm proud of the steps we've taken, but I'm also aware that there's more we need to do. 
 
The UK is a progressive market; leading reformation for the rest of our industry. Case in point, there are several initiatives already in place that address and resolve some of the most pressing issues facing digital advertising. 
 
In October, we launched the IAB UK Gold Standard after all twenty-four of our board members signed a letter committing to change, marking the first-time companies have publicly come together to raise the standard of digital.
 
The Gold Standard is an initiative made up of three actions all companies in digital advertising can take to a) reduce ad fraud by implementing the ads.txt initiative, b) increase brand safety by working with JICWEBS and c) create a better user experience by adhering to the LEAN principles and stopping the use of the 12 'bad ads' identified by the Coalition for Better Ads. 

Since we launched registration in December and certification in January, almost 80 companies have registered and 16 have been certified, signaling their commitment to raising standards. Our intention was to launch the Gold Standard to first address the most critical issues, but it's designed to evolve in order to meet the needs of our industry. 

Transparency was a key issue at the recent IAB UK Leadership Summit, where our senior-most members came together for two days to discuss and debate the future of our industry. We've taken the key issues highlighted forwards through a Transparency Working Group that includes industry stakeholders from media agencies, ad tech companies and publishers with the aim of improving transparency in digital advertising. The group is currently working on a transparency framework that should be published within the next month.
 
We're also working hard to tackle measurement and acknowledge the need to make digital measurement less complex. Last year, our member survey revealed that measurement was the biggest barrier in digital investment and a survey of nearly 100 advertisers showed that cross-media measurement is what they want. As a result, we created a dedicated resource and have hosted a town hall, an agency round table and advertiser breakfast to focus on next steps. 


Collaboration is a cornerstone belief of the IAB UK and I couldn't agree more with Luis Di Como, EVP for Global Media at Unilever's statement, "we must work collectively to drive quality and transparency for our consumers and ourselves as advertisers." 

I think there's this legacy perception that our industry is divided, but in actuality, we're all in this together. In fact, we're working closer together than ever before and I'm confident we're moving in the right direction and believe we can all move forward, together. 

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