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IAB Tech Lab releases targeted OTT ad guidelines

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB’s) research lab has released guidelines designed to improve targeted video ad experiences across smart TVs, connected devices and other OTT environments.

The IAB Technology Laboratory’s ‘guidelines for identifier for advertising on OTT platforms’ provide instructions on best practises for delivering targeted ads, as well as controlling ad frequency and rotations.

The guidelines recommend that devices and apps store and send an ‘identifier for advertising’ (IFA) as part of any ad request – a unique value that is disconnected from IP, IMEI or MAC addresses or hardware IDs.

There should also be an ‘associated IFA type’ that identifies the source of the IFA. This can be device-generated, publisher-provided or temporary.

Finally, the guidelines state that devices and apps should have an opt-out mechanism so that users can choose to limit ad tracking.

“After linear TV, more Americans watch video content on OTT than on VOD or DVR, and the medium is skyrocketing,” said Dennis Buchheim, senior vice president and general manager, IAB Tech Lab.

“The traditional semi-persistent cookie we are accustomed to using as an identifier on browsers isn’t at play across OTT systems, so we need to deploy other types of identifiers to ensure that ad experiences are optimal for consumers.

“These guidelines will direct stakeholders down the path of best practices to allow OTT to grow and evolve as a significant advertising platform.”

The IAB Tech Lab is a non-profit research and development consortium that produces and provides standards, software, and services that it says are designed to “drive growth of an effective and sustainable global digital media ecosystem”.

The IAB Tech Lab is comprised of digital publishers, ad technology firms, marketers, agencies and other companies interested in interactive marketing. Board members include Google, GroupM, Hearst Digital Media and Microsoft.

The proposed guidelines can now be reviewed online. The IAB Tech Lab OTT Technical Working Group is due to release a final version after it receives, evaluates and incorporates public feedback.