ABG, IAB GCC and TAG launch new standards to fight criminal activity and promote brand safety in digital advertising in GCC region

The Advertising Business Group (ABG) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB GCC) have partnered with the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) – a cross-industry self-regulatory initiative to fight criminal activity and promote brand safety in the digital advertising supply chain – to launch TAG’s international standards in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region of the Middle East.

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Launching the standards at a webinar on Wednesday 17 November 2021, companies in the region are encouraged to get involved and play their part in tackling criminal activity and promoting a more brand-safe environment for advertisers. Many international businesses are already applying the requirements in the region.

TAG’s Certified Against Fraud standard is having a significant impact on reducing ad fraud across the world: in the USA, key markets in Europe and many markets in the Asia-Pacific region ad fraud rates are over 90% lower when advertisers use TAG certified distribution channels compared to industry averages.

Subject to TAG’s working processes, independent validation of the anti-fraud standard will be mandatory for businesses operating in the GCC region. Self-attestation will not be an option and international businesses that wish to apply their existing TAG certifications in the GCC region will need to ensure their compliance is independently validated.

In addition to TAG’s Certified Against Fraud program, companies will be able to minimize the risk of ad misplacement via TAG’s Brand Safety certification (which – from 1 January 2022 – includes specific anti-piracy requirements, replacing TAG’s stand-alone standard to combat ad-supported piracy) and tackle the issue of ‘malvertising’ via TAG’s Certified Against Malware standard. Companies will also be able to work together to combat threats to the digital advertising supply chain via TAG’s Threat Sharing Exchange.

Ian Manning, CEO of IAB GCC, said: “The IAB is partnering with TAG and the ABG to bring industry standards to tackle serious challenges, such as ad fraud, to the GCC digital advertising market. Not only will this support much international business’ existing approaches, but it will also raise the benchmark for local ones – reducing fraud, stimulating growth and driving trust in our industry.”

Elda Choucair, CEO of Omnicom Media Group (OMG) MENA and Vice-Chair of ABG, said: “As digital investments continue to grow, so does the need for increased vigilance on ad-fraud, brand safety risk and malware. By supporting this initiative to encourage adoption of TAG’s certifications, we hope to drive a more sustainable, transparent and trustworthy industry where advertisers and agencies can be confident in the investments they are making.”

Nick Stringer, Vice President of Global Engagement & Operations at TAG, said: “TAG is delighted to work with the ABG and IAB GCC to bring its standards to the GCC region of the Middle East. We believe this will foster greater trust and transparency in the market, reduce the level of criminal activity and introduce a more brand-safe environment for advertisers.”