IAB SEA+India Understanding Trust and Transparency Through Premium in Programmatic

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Fraud remains a prevalent multi-billion-dollar problem across every corner of the digital eco-system, and it is still critical to stay vigilant in safeguarding brands. Programmatic is often seen as an opaque ecosystem rife with risk, misrepresentations and misunderstanding.  To provide the optimal environment for programmatic to flourish we need consistency in our approach, so as a first step we’ve created a one stop summary of how the top 5 buzzwords can contribute to trust and transparency.


The IAB SEA+India developed the Brand Safety Handbook in 2017 and the core tenets are still spot on today.  These seven steps include:

  • A clear definition as to what is brand safe as defined by the brand
  • Align with agency and media partners to identify preventive solutions
  • Align with agency and tech partners to identify mitigating solutions
  • Leveraging whitelist and blacklist tools
  • Conduct regular post-measurement reviews
  • Ensure you have a takedown policy with your media partners
  • Set clear and realistic boundaries for acceptability

Ultimately, establishing and maintaining trust with consumers is key for brands to attract and retain them. Minimizing the risk of brand safety breaches is no mean feat particularly as definitions around brand safety vary drastically depending on which advertiser you are speaking to.


Ad fraud does not need to be tackled alone as there are technical initiatives that can easily be implemented to reduce key issues regarding fraudulent traffic – the most prevalent concern highlighted in the IAB SEA+India Regional Brand Safety Landscape.

Examples of these technical initiatives include ads.txt and its recent addition, app-ads.txt, which were developed to increase transparency in the programmatic ecosystem.  Engaging in this project is a flexible and secure method for publishers to publicly declare the companies they authorise to sell their digital inventory making it harder for bad actors to profit from counterfeit inventory.


How do marketers accurately measure the impact of programmatic campaigns? Whilst there is a certain level of sophistication when it comes to measuring what matters with metrics that matter, there is still inconsistency in what qualifies as a key metric. As we see media agencies evolve into consultative partners there will be a natural development in the way brands define their business objectives with their marketing goals to properly optimise KPIs in direct correlation to tangible goals such as increase in sales or brand lift.


Delivering at scale is a smoother process when it begins with premium inventory.  The challenge is how “premium” is defined as there is a range of interpretations at the global, regional and local levels.  This means there is a responsibility for all players in the ecosystem to agree to a definition and then make this the standard to accelerate scale across the open marketplace without compromising trust and transparency.


Programmatic Guaranteed (PG), simply put, is premium inventory negotiated at a fixed price directly between media agencies and publishers.  It offers the advantage of ensuring that ads are served in a familiar brand safe environment with the practical benefit to monitor campaigns from a single platform across publishers, channels and devices.

IAB SEA+India Programmatic Committee