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UK and US trade bodies unite behind single industry anti-ad fraud standard

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (Tag) and Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (Jicwebs) are deepening their existing relationship with the launch of a single industry anti-ad fraud standard in the UK.

The US and UK cross-industry trade bodies are set to introduce Tag's 'Certified Against Fraud' programme to the UK from January next year in a bid to bring consistency to the fight against invalid traffic in the digital advertising supply chain.

Companies that are shown to abide by the 'Certified Against Fraud' guidelines receive a stamp of approval they can use to publicly communicate their commitment to tackling nefarious traffic.

Direct buyers, sellers, intermediaries and measurement companies can apply to be considered.

The move comes amid increased scrutiny from advertisers and authorities around ad fraud and media buying practices on both sides of the Atlantic. It also follows on from warnings that ad fraud is to cost the industry up to $50bn by 2025.

In the US, Tag has been running the scheme since 2016 and it claims that it has delivered an 83% reduction in fraud in certified channels compared to the broader industry average.

Among other stipulations, companies in the UK wishing to subscribe to the scheme will have to: appoint an internal compliance officer to oversee their anti-ad fraud processes and agree to a third-party audit.

The move from Jicwebs and Tag follows on from a promise to align their industry brand safety and ad fraud initiatives.

Jicwebs and Tag hope that bringing a uniform approach to ad fraud in the world's two biggest digital advertising markets will help the industry work towards a shared goal of 'global standards for local markets’, as well as show the government the ad industry can effectively self-regulate.

Phil Smith, director general at ISBA said "UK advertisers need to see a step-change in the way digital ad fraud is tackled to ensure their budgets are being protected. They expect transparency in the advertising chain, and this announcement is an important step forward in achieving that."

Tag has further plans to merge its Inventory Quality Guidelines (IQG) with Jicwebs DTSG Brand Safety Standards in 2019.