Interactive Advertising Bureau

29th September, Brussels, Belgium: The European digital advertising industry has warned against regulation in the Digital Services Act (DSA) that would needlessly damage thousands of businesses, including European media that primarily depend on advertising revenue.

Digital advertising is already heavily regulated, but the upcoming DSA could layer further burdens on the online content and services that rely on it for funding, in a misguided attempt to update the rules governing technology. Advertising currently accounts for eighty-one percent of traditional newspaper and magazines’ digital revenues, leaving the media particularly exposed to poorly-conceived new rules.

As the European Parliament’s Committees on Legal Affairs (JURI), and Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) consider seeking further regulation of digital advertising as a part of the DSA, IAB Europe – representing five thousand companies across the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem – urges an approach that takes account of the requirements already laid down in the law and preferences enforcing compliance with those requirements over creating new ones.

Portraying targeted advertising as a practice that exploits users’ ignorance and naiveté while offering them little in return fails to take account of the reality of how the business model benefits the media and users. The availability of online content and services that are available at low or no cost to users because of advertising revenue means consumers with different purchasing power have choices about what they pay for with money and what they pay for with a willingness to see ads. A facile and indiscriminate condemnation of “tracking” ignores the fact that local, generalist press whose investigative reporting holds power to account in a democratic society, cannot be funded with contextual ads alone, since these publishers do not have the resources to invest in lifestyle and other features that lend themselves to  contextual targeting.

Commenting on the votes in the European Parliament’s committees, Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe said: “In recent years, digital advertising has become a convenient scapegoat for every negative or frightening phenomenon on the Internet. Prohibiting “tracking” is a facile way to appear to be taking action, while avoiding dealing with problems in the digital world that have nothing to do with advertising or would not arise if privacy and data protection law were effectively enforced. If we focus on targeted advertising in the Digital Services Act, we will have failed in the mission of better protecting users online.”

Instead of adding redundant or contradictory provisions to the current rules, IAB Europe urges EU policymakers and regulators to work with the industry and support existing legal compliance standards such as the IAB Europe Transparency & Consent Framework, that can even help regulators with enforcement. The DSA should rather tackle clear problems meriting attention in the online space.


For more information, please contact:

Helen Mussard, IAB Europe ( / +44 7399 919 594)





A common issue experienced by publishers working with Google as a vendor under TCF v2.0 is error “2.1a”. This occurs when making a call to request ads. The Google Ad Manager documentation states the following:


Most TCF vendors check themselves whether the TC String is available before triggering their logic, so that they can determine if they have a legal basis to process personal data.

This consistency in implementation by TCF vendors is causing publishers to expect Google to do the same, for example, see Scenario 1 in the diagram below:

However Scenario 1 is not supported by Google. Instead, Google expects the publisher to make sure the TC String is available via the CMP before requesting ads, see Scenario 2 below:

This means that when working with Google, it’s the publisher’s responsibility to ensure that the TC String is available before making the ads call. If the ads call is made before the TC String is available, this results in error “2.1a”.

Publishers should therefore add some conditional logic to the ads call, to ensure that the TC String is available before the request for ads is made.

We have reached out to Google to emphasise the importance of this issue for publishers, given that it requires extra integration work, however there is no indication yet as to whether they will support this configuration in the future. In the meantime we encourage all publishers who have experienced this issue to contact Google directly and request that they support Scenario 1 above.


9th September, Brussels, Belgium: IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, has today released an Industry ‘Guide to Supply Path Optimisation (SPO)’. Written by industry experts from across the supply chain including Bloomberg Media, DoubleVerify and Vodafone, the aim of this guide is to educate all stakeholders on the importance of a good SPO strategy and implementation.

The increased sophistication of the programmatic ecosystem, with the introduction of new supply paths such as Header bidder, has led to a loss of transparency and increased opacity for advertisers and agencies, specifically related to the fees charged by intermediaries. This is where SPO offers critical help, allowing buyers to hone in on the buying paths that are low cost, transparent, and high quality. With 87% of brands, agencies and demand side platforms (DSPs) actively implementing SPO, citing brand safety, reduced fraud and improved KPIs as the main benefits, this guide is a call to action for all stakeholders to adopt SPO as one of their core business functions.

Commenting on the importance of the guide, David Goddard, Senior Director of Business Development at DoubleVerify and Chair of IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee said “SPO is a skill that any organisation at either end of the supply chain will never regret investing in. It will deliver efficiencies across the board, whether it be cost, an improved win rate, a better yield or a greater reach across quality inventory or audience. This guide will take the reader through the need and the basics of SPO and aid them to dig deep into the weeds, ask questions, demand data and challenge assumptions.”

Members of IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee came together to write the guide. Contributors from Adform, Bloomberg Media, DoubleVerify, Magnite, MediaMath, Index Exchange, PubMatic, SpotX, Verizon Media, Vodafone, Xandr, Xaxis and Yieldbird share their expertise on what SPO enables, demystify common misconceptions, highlight the importance of SPO for the different stakeholder groups, and provide a step by step guide on how to start and implement SPO.

Supply path optimisation (SPO) is an important tool for both the buy-side and the sell-side as it drives efficiency across the ecosystem” comments Chloe Gilman, Director for Northern Europe, Xandr. “For buyers and advertisers it enables them to reduce overall cost, increase working media and allows more control over where they are buying. Equally for publishers it gives greater control over the monetisation of their inventory and ensures their inventory is bought via the most efficient path, ultimately increasing yield by maximising buyers’ working media. This guide will help both sides to understand the benefits of SPO and provide advice on building a strategy.”

While programmatic advertising has been available to advertisers for over a decade, the technology has now reached a point of maturation allowing buyers to better understand audiences at scale across different devices.” comments Graeme Lynch, VP Demand EMEA, SpotX. “Supply path optimisation (SPO) is an essential component in this continued development, particularly as the media industry shifts to predominantly programmatic trading. This report from the IAB Europe illustrates the benefits of a more transparent and streamlined ecosystem and how businesses can build strategies to achieve this.

The guide also features an overview on Demand Path Optimisation (DPO) for publishers. As explained in the guide, DPO enables publishers to understand how their inventory is being bought and by whom, providing publishers with more transparency into their relationship and revenue split with supply side platforms (SSP). Through the practice of DPO, publishers can then gain valuable footholds in negotiating better terms with buy-side platforms.

Commenting on publisher perspective featured in the guide Simon Baker, Head of Programmatic EMEA, Bloomberg Media said "The IAB Europe Guide to SPO is a fantastic industry initiative that not only details the state of play in the market but provides readers with tangible action points to implement within their own day to day business from agencies to publishers. As part of   a data and tech company with transparency at its core, Bloomberg Media recognizes that DPO helps drive this similar quality within the programmatic ecosystem."

Download the Guide here and the SPO 101 Factsheet here

The Guide to SPO webinar – Interested parties can also register here for the upcoming IAB Europe webinar on SPO. The webinar will feature contributors from the guide and will include an audience Q&A for any additional SPO or DPO best practices and guidance. It will take place on Tuesday 13th October at 4pm CET.


For more information, please contact:

Helen Mussard, IAB Europe ( / +44 7399 919 594)

Our member guest post this week is written by Ashlea Cartee, OneTrust PreferenceChoice Product Marketing Manager.

Ashlea Cartee spends her time helping companies across the globe rethink the way marketing and privacy teams work together. As the Product Marketing Manager at OneTrust PreferenceChoice and CookiePro by OneTrust — the #1 most widely used CMP and cookie banner on the web — Ashlea is an expert in helping marketers and publishers build trust as a competitive advantage, not a compliance headache. She helps break down the big regulatory and user experience issues, so marketers and privacy teams can speak the same language and come together to some compliance challenges. Prior to OneTrust, Ashlea served in various content marketing roles at an integrated marketing agency and fast-growing enterprise tech company.

OTT App Compliance: Information and Opportunities for Publishers

OTT, short for “over-the-top,” is content that is streamed directly to viewers via the Internet – instead of through cable, satellite TV, broadcast, etc. According to TheTradeDesk, consumer media habit shifts to online are rapidly accelerating — nearly two-thirds of US households don’t have cable or plan to cut the cord to linear TV this year.

This new type of content distribution has created an exciting opportunity for publishers and advertisers to deliver hyper-targeted content to consumers in innovative and more personalized ways. However, it also creates complexities around handling consumer’s personal data.

By implementing privacy controls into OTT applications, publishers and advertisers can avoid legal ramifications. They can also transparently communicate with consumers to build trust and positively impact opt-in consent and preferences. Here are a few of the ways that OTT app owners can address privacy regulations while delivering the personalization that audiences increasingly expect.

Leverage IAB TCF 2.0 to Signal OTT Consent to Ad Tech Vendors 

Publishers and advertisers should consider incorporating IAB TCF 2.0  – the collaborative industry solution for conducting targeted advertising in compliance with GDPR – into OTT applications. TCF 2.0 is designed to standardize the collection and transmission of user choice and transparency on digital properties. This supports the digital advertising supply chain to align with GDPR and ePrivacy requirements.

When implementing a Consent Management Platform to support an OTT app compliance, it’s a good idea to verify that the CMP is compliant with the Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF). The IAB Europe TCF not only provides a common language for user consent and data collection, but also an environment of trust and transparency.

Comply with GDPR and CCPA Requirements 

Article 15 of GDPR gives data subjects the right to know if a company is processing data on them, and if so, access to that data. Additionally, there are specific record-keeping requirements around the time to respond, the ability to request an extension, the requirement to validate the identity, and securely transmitting the response to the individual. Similarly, the CCPA enables consumers the right to access and delete personal information, as well as the right to opt-out of the sale of personal information.

To comply, OTT application owners need to ensure they have a scalable and efficient way to process and respond to consumer rights requests. Maintaining detailed, ongoing records for compliance is an essential practice. The solution? Implementing a Consent Management Platform (CMP) with these capabilities. A CMP with these features will not only support publishers and advertisers to comply with global regulations, but also signal consent downstream to ad tech vendors and create a more seamless user experience across devices.

Looking Ahead

While there are certainly challenges around OTT content distribution and a critical need to ensure customer’s personal data is protected, this can be seen as a win for publishers. As consumers continue to shift to streaming, OTT applications provide another new way to interact with users and deliver personalized experiences.

The depletion of third-party cookies will bring about fundamental changes to our industry, creating new opportunities and challenges. How prepared are you for these changes? And what impact do you think it will have on targeting, measurement, verification and overall investment?

Take part in IAB Europe’s Post Third-Party Cookie Poll to have your say! This 5-minute poll will ascertain feedback from all industry stakeholders on overall readiness, preferred solutions and the new opportunities it may bring. The survey will close on the 25th September. The results will be shared by IAB Europe in October.

Take part here. 

For more information please contact Helen Mussard, Marketing & Industry Strategy Director, IAB Europe -


Welcome to the new 'Policy Update' blog series from Greg Mroczkowski, Director, Public Policy at IAB Europe .

In this new series, I will be sharing the latest policy developments related to our industry so IAB Europe members remain informed and know how to get involved.

In our first update, I wanted to provide members with an update on the developments concerning the Follow-the-Money approach, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Online Advertising and IPR.

IAB Europe’s members do not disseminate illegal content online. Unfortunately though, advertising can inadvertently finance the dissemination of illegal content online by providing revenue to properties that engage in such dissemination. This informs the fact that an important task for our members is to try significantly minimise this inadvertent funding, or tackle the so-called “ad misplacement” challenge. IAB Europe has taken the challenge of misplacement most seriously, engaging over the years in European Commission-driven discussions about the ‘follow-the-money’ approach. These EU-level discussions led to signing off the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Online Advertising and IPR in June 2018, to which we remain deeply committed.

Mid-August  saw the release of a Commission’s report on the functioning of the MoU, along with a study monitoring the impact of the MoU on the digital advertising market. There are signs of positive trends, which we read as encouraging and a proof that our investment in the ‘follow-the-money’ approach pays off. We remain committed to driving the uptake of the MoU instrument, and as such we encourage our members to become signatories. These efforts sit well in the broader ‘brand safety’ agenda of the industry. Looking into the future, the learnings from the MoU are also informing our views on the Digital Service Act (DSA).

Report on the functioning of the MoU on Online Advertising and IPR

The Commission published the report on 14 August. It acknowledges the positive role of the digital advertising industry, and the collective proactive efforts on the matter in question undertaken by the ecosystem.

The report does reference findings of the study commissioned to WhiteBullet, that provides for an indication of the extent and nature of the advertising on IPR-infringing websites in the EU. The scope of the study does cover both illegal as well as high-risk websites, and the study looks at the situation before and after the signing of the MoU. Some of the metrics reported on include:

In conclusion, the report underlines signatories’ views about the MoU promoting good practice and operating satisfactorily further to efforts undertaken by market participants. The factual results are highlighted again, with acknowledgement of signatories’ feedback on continuing the MoU efforts in the existing framework.

Next steps

A meeting of the MoU signatories will be held on 25 September. It envisages a recap of the published report, and a presentation of main results of the study by WhiteBullet.

Moreover, White Bullet will also share preliminary results of the second study, which aims to (i) evaluate the amount and type of online advertising displayed on IPR-infringing websites, (ii) estimate the ad revenues collected by IPR-infringing website owners, and (iii) analyse the impact and effectiveness of the MoU on the online advertising market.

Finally, the Commission intends to organise a discussion to explore how the current crisis has potentially impacted the placement of ads on IPR-infringing websites and mobile applications (e.g. new trends and fraud patterns, new ways of cooperation between the demand side and the supply side to prevent such placements).

For any questions or further information on the above, please contact me at

IAB Europe
Rond-Point Robert
Schuman 11
1040 Brussels
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