State of the Nation – The Mainstreaming of Policy

This month IAB Canada took the State of the Nation event across Canada. The Toronto kick-off generated excellent conversations around the state of digital advertising in Canada and the world.

Three core issues were unpacked in detail during our sessions from a thematic stand point. We discussed the mainstreaming of policy, the adoption of technical solutions to issues facing the supply chain and covered off the topic of Blockchain and its inevitable impact on ad tech.

Since the 2016 elections in the US, we have seen an increased level of awareness in how online advertising works amongst consumers. We’ve seen stories ranging from fake news and data manipulation to most recently, privacy concerns hitting the mainstream press. With the GDPR in full force across the pond, here in Canada, we are continuing to monitor potential changes to PIPEDA that could start looking a lot like the GDPR framework from overseas.

Last year, IAB Canada testified in front of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics as they were working on an important report entitled Towards Privacy by Design: Review of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The report was released initially to the OPC in March 2018 and in May 2018 the OPC announced new guidelines for obtaining “meaningful consent” that will come into effect January 2019.

The guidelines include:

  1. Emphasize Key Elements
  2. Allow Individuals to control level of detail they get and when
  3. Provide individuals with clear options to say “yes” and “no”
  4. Be innovative and creative
  5. Consider the Consumer’s perspective
  6. Make consent a dynamic ongoing process
  7. Be accountable – Stand ready to demonstrate compliance

On June 20th 2018, the government released an official response to the report filed by the ETHI Committee. This report outlines the above items in greater detail.

We will be discussing this response in our committees and over a Privacy Workshop in the coming weeks.

Another policy issue that has come to mainstream media attention is Bill S-228 banning the marketing of “unhealthy” food and beverage to children under the ages of 13. The detailed regulation is expected to be released in the coming days. In the meantime, IAB Canada has been working to ensure the right technical elements can be implemented into OpenRTB to assist in compliance. As with other Tech Lab solutions, this will be a signal-based approach built in as an added layer of protection for sellers and buyers. More on this in the coming weeks.


Adoption – The Multi-Geared Move towards A Secured Supply Chain

Toronto’s State of the Nation presentations kicked off with a discussion around delving more deeply into the quality of digital media. Nielsen presented 2018 in-audience measurement data reminding us all that we must apply added rigour to measuring success.  This conversation was picked up thematically by several presenters. Applying any of several available filters to inventory may increase the cost per media unit but time and time again, it is proven that the value exchange is well worth the investment.

Comscore presented the 2018 Canadian Edition of the Global Digital Future in Focus and shared some interesting data on fraud, viewability and general quality of the supply chain. It was clear that invalid traffic remains a concern and we were lucky to have Rachel Nyswander Thomas, SVP, Operations & Public Policy at TAG present in a fireside chat about the broader topic of fraud and how TAG has been gaining global traction in improving the state of the supply chain through its verification and certification programs. Rachel explained that TAG has strong ties to the FBI, Interpol and other international authorities bringing an incredible amount of credibility to the program. She also confirmed that Canada is one of the leading markets in adoption.

We discussed the rapid adoption of Ads.txt and its positive impact on securing the supply chain. Brendan Riordan-Butterworth, Senior Director at New York-based IAB Tech Lab joined us for a debrief on the recent Tech Lab acquisition of DigiTrust, the GDPR consent transfer mechanism as well as other projects being released in the coming months.

A major theme of the State of the Nation was the increasing scrutiny from the OPC and international authorities on the use of data for online advertising. Presentations from eyereturn, MiQ and Native Touch showed some excellent case studies on what is possible with the responsible use of data. We remain extremely confident that the industry is resilient and will adapt to the changing privacy landscape. There is room for innovation in how we organize data and certainly how we activate it.

Our presentations cross-country made clear that there are incredible programs out there to address most of the industry’s serious issues. But they only work when they are adopted. There were some interesting discussions around the barriers to uptake on certain programs. It is clear that there are several factors that may throttle adoption – it’s a multi-geared landscape. In the final analysis, we were happy to report that the industry is using multiple means, methodologies and partners to move in the right direction. In the coming weeks we will report back with a plan of action to get cracking on areas that need better support and resources.