In pursuit of online standards
If you’ve been looking for a straightforward summary of the many online industry standards, ABC’s new free interactive guide ‘In Pursuit of Online Standards’ is here to help. As an introduction, CEO Simon Redlich reminds us why we need standards and how you can use this guide to identify which ones are relevant to you.
We’re all aware that online advertising is evolving at breakneck speed and, with it, efforts from the industry to make it a safer place to trade. In the UK alone, over half of the £23.6 billion spent on advertising in 2018 was funnelled online according to the latest AA/WARC expenditure report. Display advertising in particular saw huge growth - up 21.4% YoY - and is forecast to keep growing over the next two years.
This speed of growth - not to mention the inherently complex and global nature of digital - makes it extremely difficult to agree a consistent approach when it comes to defining (and auditing) trusted trading practices. But it also makes it all the more necessary if we’re to achieve the high quality trading space desired by advertisers – and clearly outlined in the WFA’s Global Media Charter.
That’s where industry standards make a difference.
Sensible is the new cool
Imagine, if you will, industry standard-setters as the prudent parents laying down guidelines to keep their kids safe. They don’t often excite, and they aren’t as enticing as the cool kids with their fun, disruptive ways. But they’re there for a reason. And sometimes it’s not until we run into difficulties that we appreciate those who genuinely have our best interests at heart.
Like the rules of our caregivers, industry standards may not set your pulse racing and they might appear overcomplicated, but their purpose is to keep you (or at least you/your clients’ advertising budget and brand reputation) safe. And the plethora of concerns over questionable online measurement practices during the last few years has made the call for this type of trusted transparency all the more urgent.
A common language
One of the reasons industry standards work is they make sure we’re all talking the same language and using the same metrics. The WFA Global Media Charter states, ‘Self-reported data is unacceptable, and advertisers need third-party verification that inventory is viewable, fraud free, brand safe and on-target.’ The type of robust, third party auditing demanded here is only possible using common standards that bring everything together on a level playing field.
Standards also enable us to easily identify others who follow the same high principles. Making it quicker and easier to know which business partners you want to work with.
But with so many standards covering different areas in our online advertising ecosystem, it’s not always clear how they complement each other. What areas of risk do they offer protection against? Which are most relevant to your business? Which ones should your media partners be working to, and how can you check other companies are compliant?
Finally, some clarity
From our experience as the UK’s industry-owned auditor we’ve created ‘In Pursuit of Online Standards’. It’s an interactive guide that for the first time brings together key online standards in the UK and beyond.
The standards are categorised according to the main areas of advertiser concern. Their geographic relevance is made clear, so businesses can learn more about the standards that might be relevant to them. They’re also summarised and presented consistently, making them easy to understand.
Whether you’re an industry vet or a newbie, we hope you find this a useful guide that brings clarity to many of the standards within our online advertising ecosystem.