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Five reasons to applaud the IAB

A week when cheaters everywhere have been furiously deleting texts while soiling themselves at the prospect of being revealed in the Ashley Madison hack is a good time to think about online privacy – and dishonesty.

So it was either prescience or luck that encouraged the IAB to choose this week to issue statements about 5 issues that have been undermining trust in internet advertising (unless of course Guy Phillipson is behind the hack – a cunning way to create the right context). The statements have been about brand safety online, ad viewability, ad fraud, an ad funded internet and, of course, privacy. You can read their press release about it here.

Now you might think I’d be tempted to make hay out of all this. That I’d use it as an excuse to point out how TV doesn’t have to deal with these sorts of problems because it is so tightly regulated and blah di blah di blah. Well, I’m not – except maybe passively in my last sentence.

But I’m genuinely not because, while it is true TV advertising doesn’t directly have these exact issues muddying its skirts, it isn’t perfect – no medium is – and the problems in online advertising affect every form of advertising because they erode trust overall. The IAB is taking one for the team.

TV advertising in particular has a vested interest in a healthy, well-regarded internet. For one thing, TV and TV advertising is on the internet. For another, one of the reasons TV advertising works so well is because of the internet.

As the IPA’s masterful ‘Advertising Effectiveness: the long and short of it’ showed, TV and online have an incredibly strong and increasing synergy.  Ad campaigns that use TV and online together are twice as efficient as those that couple brand advertising with other kinds of activation channels. Online makes TV a more efficient sales medium and the efficiency of TV + online campaigns has more than doubled in the last decade.

TV has skin in the game. So it is hats off and applause to the IAB for getting a grip on the problems for internet advertising. We all gain from their grappling with this unenviable task and should rally behind them.

I’m off to delete some texts.

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