In the last few years, brand safety has become a growing concern for mobile advertisers. The growing number of ad networks that advertisers work with, many of whom reroute their impressions through additional vendors, lent a degree of uncertainty to the ad purchasing process: advertisers could not be sure that their ad would appear only in brand-safe channels, and not alongside pirated or counterfeited content. As a result, advertisers remained unsure whom to trust to deliver brand-safe placements, and ad sellers’ integrity remained difficult to prove.
These brand safety concerns were primarily caused by the lack of common quality control guidelines among parties in the mobile advertising space, including ad networks, ad exchanges, publishers, marketers, etc. Until reliable quality and control of ad placements has been implemented, mobile marketing channels remained lagging behind other channels, such as TV, print, desktop, etc.
Recently, however, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s new Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAGs) offered a framework for mobile ad providers to guarantee brand safety. Expanded from previous versions to include coverage of parties throughout the ad value chain, the guidelines have been updated to reflect video, mobile, and programmatic considerations.
The introduction of these new guidelines now standardizes ad buyer and seller quality expectations. In a fashion similar to the way mobile ad measurement metrics were standardized, resulting in advertisers’ ability to consistently compare campaign quality metrics, the IAB QAGs ensure that advertisers will be able to select ad networks that are guaranteed to have brand-safe inventory.
Overall, the goal of such standardization is to convince advertisers to spend their marketing budgets on mobile channels. Brands, agencies, app developers, and small business owners want to ensure that their advertisements are not associated with pirated content or counterfeit materials; the QAGs enable them to “buy advertising with confidence.”