IAB Releases New Targeting and ID Guidelines for OTT Advertising


IABThe IAB Technology Laboratory has released new “Guidelines for Identifier for Advertising on OTT Platforms” with recommendations on how to maintain a high-quality advertising experience within over-the-top (OTT) TV environment. The trade body recommends that advocating that industry players use an “identifier for advertising” (IFA) and the the technical guidelines — which will be available for public comment through May 3, 2018 — provide instructions on best practices for delivering targeted ads, as well as controlling ad frequency and rotation across a wide variety of disparate smart TVs, connected devices, and other OTT systems.

In order to be compliant with these guidelines, devices and apps must store and send the following parameters as part of any ad request:

  • An identifier for advertising (IFA) – required, unless the user has opted in to limit ad tracking, an IFA must be a unique value that is completely disconnected from a hardware ID, MAC address, IMEI, or IP address
  • An associated IFA type – identifying the source of the IFA, whether device-generated, publisher-provided, or temporary
  • Limit ad tracking (LAT) – an opt-out mechanism to respect the user’s privacy choices

The guidelines will also feature specific advice and intelligence for consumer electronics manufacturers, OTT app publishers, and ad/measurement platforms to address the needs of each of these groups.

“After linear TV, more Americans watch video content on OTT than on VOD or DVR, and the medium is skyrocketing,” said Dennis Buchheim, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “The traditional semi-persistent cookie we are accustomed to using as an identifier on browsers isn’t at play across OTT systems, so we need to deploy other types of identifiers to ensure that ad experiences are optimal for consumers. These guidelines will direct stakeholders down the path of best practices to allow OTT to grow and evolve as a significant advertising platform.”

“Between smart TVs, connected devices, and other OTT systems out in the marketplace—all with varied approaches to identification—we’re looking at a ‘Tower of Babel’ challenge,” said J. Allen Dove, CTO, SpotX, and member of the IAB Tech Lab OTT Technical Working Group. “The new IAB Tech Lab guidelines solve these challenges and improve overall user experience. We are hoping that others in the industry also contribute their input to make these recommendations even more effective.”

After public comment concludes, the IAB Tech Lab OTT Technical Working Group will evaluate and incorporate the feedback received and release a final version. You can see the proposed guidelines here.


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