IAB Tech Lab

Data Transparancy Standard & Compliance Program

Updated March 2020

This FAQ covers the Data Transparency Standard and the affiliated Data Transparency Standard Compliance Program. Available for adoption today, these programs are aimed at establishing minimum disclosure and transparency standards for any company that collects audience data for targeting, personalization, or measurement of digital advertising, and ultimately to encourage more informed data usage. Similar to manufacturers being required to provide a nutrition label on packaged foods, the standard asks data providers to offer details that inform segment quality, addressing things like segment recency, provenance, and segmentation criteria.

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Table of Contents

What is the Data Transparency Standard?

What is the scope of the Data Transparency Standard and Compliance Program?

To establish a baseline expectation for any seller of data regarding the level of transparency necessary for a buyer to make an informed purchase decision and to introduce compliance programs to identify sellers that meet baseline transparency requirements.

What is the Data Transparency Standard?

The Data Transparency Standard defines how third-party data segments will be labeled with the purpose of better-informing buyers about the data they are purchasing.

What is causing the need for this standardization?

There are five major areas that have driven us toward this standardization. 1. Transparency: Buyers widely consider third-party data to be a “black box” with little transparency into how an audience is created. 2. Segment Naming Conventions: There is no consistency in naming conventions or taxonomies; segments across vendors can’t be properly evaluated. 3. Buyer Education: There is a lack of education regarding the underlying determinants of quality. 4. Unique Political Environment: Advertisers are becoming much savvier and focused on supply-chain transparency. 5. Regulators: Data collection practices and consumer controls are being scrutinized by regulators internationally and domestically.

What is the Data Label?

What is the Data Label comprised of?

The Data Label is comprised of four descriptive sections designed to better inform buyers of each segment’s ingredients. Data Solution Provider and Distributor Information – Who provided the data segment, inclusive of contact information, for both data solution distributor and, where applicable, the original data provider. Audience Construction – How the segment was constructed, inclusive of details such as audience count, any applicable modeling or cross-device ID expansion that may have been applied, audience refresh rates, and event look-back window for inclusion. Audience Snapshot – Which audience segment the label describes, including both the provider’s branded audience segment name as well as the most relevant segment name from a new standardized taxonomy, a top-line audience description, and applicable geographic coverage. Source Information – Where the original data components were sourced. Required for each significant data source, this component includes details on data provenance, data collection techniques, refresh frequency, and event look-back window

What is is a website owned by the IAB Tech Lab and used as a compliance mechanism for this transparency initiative.

What purpose does the site serve?

The site is mostly intended as a compliance mechanism. It is not a site where buyers will make purchasing decisions or push data to activation platforms. This is because pricing is not available on the site, nor are ID counts. Furthermore, most buyers will not have access to the site because it will only be available to IAB Tech Lab members, of which few are buyers.

However, it is still envisioned to be a secondary function as a value add for Tech Lab members who don’t have direct access to a data marketplace UI (for example, marketers who rely on agencies for data buying, etc). Typically this is a situation where the brand marketer works with an agent who buys the data.

What does the finished product look like?

The resulting product output from this initiative will be two-fold. One, a Data Store API integration with, which provides data sellers the ability to send their data labels to the IAB for a compliance check/audit.

Additionally, the data provider will need to support the descriptive taxonomies. A certificate badge awarded by the IAB can be displayed in the data provider’s Storefront.

What data will be sent via the API from the Data Provider to the IAB Tech Lab (

Only the descriptive taxonomy information data will be sent in the format of the Data Transparency Standard

Which partner (LiveRamp, ODC, Neustar) sends the descriptive taxonomies on behalf of the data providers?

The IAB will ask the data provider to choose a partner of record that will be designated to send the data to via API.

How will data buyers access the data labels?

The site will host all of the data labels or descriptive taxonomies like a catalog. The data providers will also support the descriptive taxonomies (data labels) and compliance badges.

What is the Compliance Program?

How can your data provider participate?

Data providers can sign up at the bottom of the website and the IAB will take the lead. Or they can inquire by emailing:

How can a data provider get themselves ready for the audit?

You can share the Data Transparency Standard with the data provider to make sure they are able to collect all the required metadata. The data provider can work with the IAB Tech Lab and third-party audit company regarding any in-depth questions they may have.

What does the beta program look like?

If a data provider chooses to sign up for the beta program, they will first undergo a 3-5 month compliance audit with the IAB and a third-party. The audit is of the company and their ability to accurately populate their labels based on their total in-market exposure or number of segments they plan to sell that year.

The data provider gives that number to the IAB up front during the audit engagement, then prepays the compliance cost to audit, and throughout the year the IAB uses API to randomly audit new labels submitted. This subsequent audit process is to make sure the descriptive taxonomies are in compliance and to ensure that the company is within their prepaid in-market exposure. If they exceed, it will trigger another audit.

Who is initially participating in the beta?

Alliant, LiveRamp, Oracle, Neustar, Dstillery, Epsilon, Hearst Magazines, Meredith, Relevanc, & Pandora.

What will the full rollout of the program be like?

Companies that agree to be part of the program will go through an annual business audit to confirm that the information provided within the labelling is reliable, that the organization has the necessary systems, processes, and personnel in place to sustain consistent label completion at scale, and that a label can be produced for all in-market segments available.

The initial engagement is expected to last anywhere between 3-5 months, depending upon the size and complexity of the company’s business. Organizations that complete the program will be issued an IAB Tech Lab compliance seal confirming their adherence to transparency principles and best practices.

What happens if a data provider does not pass?

If a data provider does not pass the audit with the third-party auditing partner, then they do not get the seal of approval.