LONDON: Google, Facebook and Microsoft are among 23 major tech and media companies who have signed up to a new initiative that aims to raise standards across the digital advertising industry in the UK.

Launched yesterday by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK, the trade body’s new Gold Standard initiative seeks to “address the key issues facing the industry”.

Initially, these cover the need to reduce ad fraud, improve the digital advertising experience and increase brand safety, but the IAB said the Gold Standard could expand in the future to include other issues, such as audience measurement and viewability.

Google and the other companies – which include Guardian Media Group, News UK, Telegraph Media Group and Twitter – have signed an open letter committing themselves to three key actions to improve digital advertising.

Concerning ad fraud, this will involve all sites that sell digital ads accepting the implementation of the IAB’s ads.txt initiative, which lists those who are authorised to sell inventory on a specific site, so improving transparency and preventing the sale of fake ads.

Secondly, all signatories to the letter have agreed to adhere to the LEAN principles and the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads, including a promise never to use the “12 bad ads”, such as invasive and pop-up ads.

The third element of the initiative concerns brand safety and the IAB’s 23 partners agreed to work with JICWEBS to ensure that the Display Trading Standards Group’s brand safety principles are applied with a view to becoming certified or maintaining certification.

“Everyone agrees that digital advertising standards need to improve to keep this industry sustainable and thriving. The IAB Gold Standard is a practical measure that demonstrates media owner commitment to making this happen,” said Tim Elkington, Chief Digital Officer at the IAB.

“Media owners need to send a clear signal to advertisers and agencies that they take their responsibilities seriously to offer the best environment possible so that brands can confidently use digital advertising,” he added.

Bethan Crockett, Senior Director of Brand Safety and Digital Risk at GroupM EMEA said: “GroupM fully supports IAB UK’s Gold Standard initiative and it is fantastic to see the industry committing to implement best practice standards relating to ad fraud, brand safety and the digital advertising user experience.”

Sourced from IAB UK, Coalition for Better Ads; additional content by WARC staff