The UK Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has launched the ‘Transparency FAQs,’ a tool that it hopes will give brands and media agencies a better understanding of the roles of different adtech companies in the digital advertising supply chain and the value they gain from them.

The Transparency FAQs can be found in the IAB Members’ Area or here, and cover main areas such as pricing, placement and data usage.

OpenX, Teads and iotec are just a few of the companies that have completed the Transparency FAQs.

The IAB said that although advertisers find it tricky to unpick the contribution of different adtech firms, the ‘bundling’ of every company between buyer and seller as a ‘tax’ was ‘misleading.’ Therefore, various IAB members from across the industry collaborated to produce 20 common queries that brands and their agencies can ask digital advertising businesses to then find out more about the companies’ business models and provide an insight into their stance on transparency.

Questions include the likes of ‘what brand safety measures do you use’ and ‘under GDPR, what legal basis are you providing your services under?’

“The Transparency FAQs are a voluntary initiative that we hope adtech companies will embrace as they will help buyers understand the landscape more easily. They’re not a silver bullet or cure for issues around transparency, but we think they’re a useful step forward,” said Tim Elkington, chief digital officer at IAB UK.

“ISBA welcomes the IAB’s new Transparency FAQs initiative. In a complex media environment, voluntary disclosure of this sort will help advertisers make comparisons and understand the differences between ad tech providers,” commented Nigel Gwilliam, director of media affairs at IPA.

The IAB’s Transparency FAQs is a step in the right direction towards greater transparency in the digital media space and follows from raised concerns around transparency when it comes to selling ads in what has become a murky digital space. Issues with transparency were cited by respondents in a survey by Infectious Media, with just under three quarters (74%) claiming agencies don’t fully report financial data, while 73% don’t accurately measure programmatic.

“For agencies, there’s an urgent need to proactively address advertisers’ concerns by offering full transparency and working with partners that can effectively prove the value of programmatic,” commented Martin Kelly, Infectious Media CEO and co-founder.

In the influencer marketing space, Keith Weed stated that Unilever would not work with brands and influencers that aren’t transparent to “help eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem,” which has been a wake-up call for advertisers to look at where their ad budgets are really being spent.