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Digital Trading Standards Group revives and renews crackdown on ad misplacement


By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

December 17, 2013 | 3 min read

The Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG), comprised of the AOP, ISBA, IPA and IAB, has renewed its crackdown on the ongoing issue of ad misplacement still rife in the industry.

The group, which The Drum understands had stalled for several months while certain disagreements over procedure were addressed, has reformed and revealed the launch of UK industry guidelines, aimed at minimising the risk of online ads appearing against inappropriate or illegal content.

The UK Good Practice Principles look to set new industry-wide standards, and will see committed businesses have their advertising misplacement policies and processes verified by an independent third party, which will lead to a ‘seal of compliance’.

IAB’s director of regulatory affairs, Nick Stringer said: "The DTSG’s Good Practice Principles represent a major step forward for the whole industry to help minimise the risk of ad misplacement in a complex market. They will give marketers greater confidence to continue to invest in digital and the IAB encourages all relevant ad trading businesses to participate."

DTSG’s guidelines will use content verification (CV) tools to inject greater transparency into the digital display advertising market, and will look to provide marketers with more control to help ensure that their advertising is far less likely to be associated with inappropriate or illegal content that could jeopardize their brand.

In November, research from Project Sunblock discovered that 38 per cent of UK advertisers do not know where their content is appearing online, while nearly half of all marketing decisions makers reported that online advertising is not transparent enough and doesn’t provide enough brand protection.

"Brands rightly need greater reassurances against the significant risk to their reputation of online ad misplacement,” said ISBA’s marketing services manager, David Ellison. “The complex digital landscape we operate in demanded a joined-up approach from industry, which is precisely what these principles represent."

IPA’s head of digital, Nigel Gwilliam, added: "Misplaced advertising affects the whole online industry, so it is only right that we are addressing this from a cross-industry standpoint. These principles will increase the transparency, accountability, trust and safety that our advertisers and agencies so rightly deserve when placing ads online. Any business keen to demonstrate its responsibility and commitment to brand safety has nothing to lose by signing up to them, and everything to gain."

The principles are endorsed by the UK’s Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards, known as JICWEBS, and will replace the Internet Advertising Sales House (IASH) Code of Conduct, as well as superseding the IPA’s and ISBA’s own principles published earlier this year.

Signatories to the guidelines include Microsoft, Fox Networks, Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange, Yahoo UK, Unruly Media and more.


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