IAB Releases Site Tagging Best Practices for Public Comment, to Alleviate Industry-Wide Complexities

Like many essential tools in the interactive advertising industry, tagging has matured and evolved into a complex ecosystem that provides publishers and advertisers with massive benefits and insights – but also poses a series of technical and operational challenges. “Site Tagging Best Practices,” released today for public comment by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), meets these issues head on. Developed by the IAB’s Data Council, through its Site Tagging Best Practices Task Force, the best practices offer detailed recommendations for site tagging to establish healthy workflow procedures and to ensure security in page performance and data control, as well as privacy compliance and consumer security concerns.
“Tagging is a fundamental element of the heavily data-driven interactive advertising ecosystem without which it would not continue to thrive,” said Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Advertising Technology, IAB. “To better meet the needs of publishers, advertisers, marketers and consumers, we must not only take account of the ongoing value of site tagging, but more fully understand the operational challenges presented by site tagging’s increasingly prolific use.”
“Site Tagging Best Practices” identifies areas of potential value loss for site owners, including:
  • User abandonment
  • Negative customer experience
  • Performance impact
  • Operational strain
  • Unintended transfer of data
  • Privacy issues
To help mitigate these risks, the best practices aim to educate and equip the industry with a new reference for addressing these common challenges in site tagging, as it relates to site performance and data management. It covers:
  • Workflow planning, implementation and maintenance
  • Performance
  • Data capture and transfer
  • Privacy
In addition, the IAB “Site Tagging Best Practices” contains a lexicon of marketplace terms to help stakeholders better understand and navigate the vernacular of the current tagging ecosystem.
“With site tagging laying the foundation for selling ad space and tracking performance across the interactive landscape, these best practices will set a solid framework for moving the industry forward,” said Mitchell Weinstein, Senior Vice President, Director of Ad Operations, UM. “The value that tagging brings to marketers is enormous, but it can only reach its full potential with practices like this in place to address critical concerns and allow for effective tagging to flourish.”
“Without question, site tagging has helped to revolutionize digital advertising from a system of basic ad serving to an extremely sophisticated and complex marketing system – one that is of immense importance to our industry,” said Todd Chu, Senior Vice President, Partner Development, BrightTag, and Co-chair of the IAB Site Tagging Task Force. “By adhering to fundamental best practices around data capture and transfer, all digital marketing stakeholders will benefit along with the customers interacting with their sites.”
“These best practices provide incredible value to a variety of stakeholders in the industry, beyond online publishers and advertisers,” said Maggie Neuwald, Vice President, Solutions Marketing, TagMan, and Co-chair of the IAB Site Tagging Task Force. “Its impact will be felt by brand marketers, analytics leaders, IT professionals, legal and policy executives and agency heads. In addition, beyond site tagging policy and operations, this report will also serve as a go-to checklist for technology practitioners in product and engineering.”
IAB member companies which contributed to “Site Tagging Best Practices” include AMC Networks, BlueKai, BrightTag, Catchpoint, Evidon, Google & YouTube, Krux Digital, Microsoft-Atlas Advertiser, Mirror Image Internet, TagMan and Yahoo!.
The public comment period is open until January 4, 2013. Please submit any feedback to Jessica Anderson, lead on Site Tagging for IAB, at jessica.anderson@iab.net prior to the deadline.
For a full copy of “Site Tagging Best Practices,” please visit www.iab.net/sitetagging.
About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.iab.net.

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