The new Ad Quality Charter raises the bar for brand safety

Premium publishers must commit to higher standards for online advertising, not only to safeguard brand safety but also minimise ad fraud and maximise viewability

Keynote speakers at the AOP’s Inside Out Digital Publishing Convention, where the new Ad Quality Charter was unveiled
Keynote speakers at the AOP’s Inside Out Digital Publishing Convention, where the new Ad Quality Charter was unveiled

As the voice of premium digital publishers and a founder member of the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS), the Association for Online Publishing (AOP) is committed to securing the long-term success of the digital ecosystem.

However, this goal is only achievable if the industry works together to create a more sustainable, accountable and reliable future, by adopting universal standards that go above and beyond minimum requirements.

As such, the AOP’s innovative Ad Quality Charter, launched at its recent Inside Out Digital Publishing Convention, aims to commit itself and its members to ethical trading standards and better media verification.

The new charter - currently a draft - recognises that the industry must take greater collective responsibility for providing advertisers and agencies with access to quality inventory and verified audiences through a transparent supply chain. It will require the AOP and its members to adhere to stringent quality requirements relating to the contentious issues of brand safety, fraud and viewability.

Ensure safe placements
To limit the risk of brand-safety issues arising from ad misplacement, publishers must be independently verified for brand safety through the Digital Trading Standards Group Good Practice Principles, and must use content verification tools across all ad impressions.

As well as using blacklists and whitelists of their own, and those requested by advertisers, publishers must reference the Infringing Website List from the City of London Intellectual Property Crime Unit. They must also remove advertising upon notification of a brand-safety breach and rebate misplaced activity.

Minimise ad-fraud risk
To minimise the risk of ad fraud and non- human traffic, and take a stand against those parties seeking to exploit the industry, publishers must commit to independent verification through the Anti-Fraud Good Practice Principles.

They must also use fraud detection and non-human traffic tools to screen users and content across all ad impressions, and commit to 0% fraud as measured by agreed, independent, third-party verification tools, billing only for verified human traffic.

Maximise ad viewability 
To maximise viewability, which gives ads the opportunity to be impactful and drive consumer action, publishers are exploring agreement on a metric that will exceed the current industry standards. They are looking to deliver bespoke viewability metrics – that advertisers or agencies also agree to – which would optimise on-page placement based on user behaviour and content consumption, and commit to reducing unacceptable ad clutter.

The charter also features a set of "industry requirements", including the need for advertisers to be compliant with publishers’ creative acceptance policies to address the root causes of latency and the subsequent impact on viewability performance.

A transparent, accountable supply chain is vital in delivering a premium consumer experience and ensuring the healthy future of the digital advertising industry. Through the new Ad Quality Charter, publishers can raise the bar for digital advertising standards, cleansing and protecting the supply chain, and allowing the ecosystem to flourish.