IAB Tech Lab proposes new rules on selling data as GDPR looms

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With the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation slated to go into effect this Friday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Tech Lab has released a proposed framework that it says would make it easier for marketers to understand the quality of data they're buying and, more importantly, where it came from.

The effort should provide a simple and flexible approach to data organization and buying, the Tech Lab says, adding that it will reduce friction in the supply chain and provide much-needed clarity between data providers, marketers and consumers.

"Bringing more transparency to the realm of audience data is critical," says Dennis Buchheim, senior VP and general manager at the IAB Tech Lab. "Regulation like GDPR makes transparency more important and helping the different players in the market, buyers in particular, on what they are and are not buying in terms of data is paramount."

GDPR will restrict the ways that companies can collect personal information about people, how they can use that data, and how to inform people on both fronts.

The proposed Tech Lab framework outlines required disclosures for those collecting data to be used for targeting, personalizing and measuring digital ads, but also lays out minimum disclosures that data sellers must offer their possible customers.

Those include "quality signals" such as details about the data's origin, the age of the data and whether it is associated with individuals, with households or with businesses.

To encourage adoption, the IAB also developed an open application programming interface that ad tech vendors can adopt to let marketers use the proposed framework through programmatic channels.

Audience taxonomy

The Tech Lab also introduced a companion resource for marketers designed to simplify buying data by defining some key terms.

Different companies often use different language, so marketers hoping to reach "car buyers" might be offered "auto intenders" instead.

"If I call someone a 'car buyer' versus an 'auto intender,' as a data buyer, you wonder what the difference between the two is," Buchheim says. "This is intended to give people knowledge in how the audience is comprised and how the data was constructed. And that is really not out there today."

The Tech Lab's "audience taxonomy" suggests a common language for data, which Buchheim says will make it easier for buyers and platforms to compare and consider similar data segments.

Publishers such as Meredith and data sellers such as Lotame are supporting the proposed framework, according to the Tech Lab, which will solicit comments on it for the next 60 days.

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