The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an industry standards body, has today launched a new brand safety certification programme. TAG claims the ‘Brand Safety Certified Program’ is the world’s broadest brand safety certification initiative, with 112 companies certified at launch. These include Amazon Advertising, Facebook, Google, GroupM, Havas, Omnicom Media Group, Samsung Ads, Sky, TikTok, Thomson Reuters, and Twitter.
Publishers, agencies and ad tech companies will need to meet a number of requirements in order to be certified by TAG. These requirements include:
- Every direct buyer, direct seller and/or intermediary must ensure that all new and updated agreements for digital advertising services adhere to the programme’s brand safety principles, including specific brand safety criteria, policies, and procedures, as well as takedown, monitoring, and compliance requirements. Contracts must also require the use of independently validated content verification services or inclusion/exclusion lists.
- Every direct buyer, direct seller and/or intermediary must ensure that 100 percent of its monetisation transactions are reviewed by one or more independently validated content verification services or inclusion/exclusion lists as defined in its digital advertising agreements.
- Every direct buyer, direct seller and/or intermediary must document the specific policies and procedures it has to minimise the risk of ad misplacement.
TAG says that content verification services will need to go through their own approval process, in order to be valid for TAG certification. These will include requirements around technical standards, and disclosure requirements around the classification and blocking of ad serving on media properties where an advertiser has decided the content is inappropriate.
Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG, says that while these standards won’t be a “magic bullet” in fixing brands safety issues, they represent a base set of rules which all players should be able to meet. “With broad adoption at launch across every sector of the supply chain, the TAG Brand Safety Certified Program will help companies demonstrate their commitment to brand protection and ensure that advertising partners have taken the necessary steps to reduce the risk of unsafe ad placements,” he said. “This program completes the TAG certification suite, so companies now can adopt a unified set of solutions that shows their leadership in addressing ad fraud, malvertising, and brand safety challenges.”
Some might raise their eyebrows at some of the companies which have already picked up certification. All the major social platforms are TAG certified, despite the fact that they’re still under pressure from buyers to raise their standards.
But TAG frames the certification as a way for buyers to at least know they’re working with companies which are taking steps to reduce brand safety risk, to reduce the risk of unsafe ad placements.