IAB Tech Lab’s COO on solving addressability and privacy challenges one step at a time interviewed Shailley Singh, EVP of Product & COO, and Shivendra Mishra, Director, APAC at IAB Tech Lab, to discuss the organisation's action plans aimed at fostering the growth of digital advertising through initiatives such as Video Watermarking, the Creative ID Framework, and the Cross Jurisdiction Privacy Project

Akansha Srivastava
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Shailley Singh

Shailley Singh

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New Delhi: Following the creation of the Ad Creative ID Framework (ACIF) to address advertisers' challenges with addressability and the need for unified measurement metrics across CTV and digital (mobile and web), IAB Tech, the global standards-setting body for digital advertising, now envisions developing a ‘video watermarking’ system.

In an exclusive interview with, Shailley Singh, EVP of Product & COO at IAB Tech Lab, said, “Video watermarking will be a small watermark inside the video file. Along with the web and mobile, ads on CTV will be relayed back to the servers. This will help ad measurement to be standardised across CTV, web, and mobile.”

Explaining in simple language, Singh said, “For example, if an ad is being played in between a video on an internet-enabled TV (CTV or Smart TV), the marketer will receive a signal about it through the video watermarking.” 

He further told that to develop and fully adopt video marking, it will take at least 3–5 years. “We will take up video watermarking once the ad creative ID framework is done,” he added. 

Below are a few other initiatives by IAB Tech Lab to help advertisers overcome addressability challenges and privacy-related issues: 

Launch of Ad Creative ID Framework (ACIF): a common measurement element

In June 2024, it launched the Ad Creative ID Framework (ACIF). This framework supports the use of registered creative IDs that persist in cross-platform digital video delivery, in particular connected TV (CTV) environments.  

ACIF is designed to accomplish the following business requirements: 

  • Frequency capping and management
  • Competitive separation for brands
  • Cross-Platform Campaign Measurement
  • Campaign Reconciliation across different mediums and providers
  • Improve campaign ROI by mitigating waste and improving campaign management. 

IAB Tech Lab has already invited industry stakeholders to participate in public comments, which will remain open until July 12, 2024. 

“IAB Tech Lab created ACIF for the TV and digital video advertising ecosystem to have a common element to measure,” said Shivendra Mishra, Director, APAC, IAB Tech Lab. 

"Creative ID Framework helps publishers and marketers save millions of dollars every year and serves as a building block for future technologies aimed at unifying measurement across TV screens," emphasised Singh. 

IAB Tech’s Open Measurement Software Development Kit to facilitate third-party viewability

In its quest to help marketers with unified measurement across CTV and digital, earlier in May 2024, IAB Tech Lab expanded the Open Measurement Software Development Kit (OM SDK) to facilitate third-party viewability and verification measurement for Samsung and LG TVs. 

The IAB Tech Lab Open Measurement SDK (OM SDK) offers common codes and libraries for facilitating third-party access to measurement data. Sites and apps that integrate the OM SDK can send measurement signals through a standard API, the Open Measurement Interface Definition (OMID). Measurement providers can place tags that collect these signals. 

IAB Tech Lab is also in discussion with the WFAs Halo framework to develop an SDK, said Singh, which will be the client-side software collecting cross-media measurement data.

Implementation of global measurement frameworks is a time-consuming endeavour

Singh acknowledged that implementing any new measurement system is a long process, involving multiple parties such as publishers, advertisers, media agencies, smart TV companies, and others. 

While the future appears promising, Mishra noted that currently, everything is still in progress. He commented, “It has not landed yet. Everyone is talking, but the complete solution has yet to be finalised.” 

IAB Tech’s efforts on the privacy front

One of the top goals in Priority Area One this year is privacy. "We have a global privacy platform that's used by everyone today to comply with privacy regulations in different countries," commented Singh. 

Mishra added that the current Transparency and Consent Framework to implement GDPR for programmatic advertising has been developed by IAB Tech Lab along with IAB Europe. 

In response to the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, of 2023, the IAB Legal Affairs Council launched a dedicated working group 2-3 months ago under the Cross Jurisdiction Privacy Project (CJPP) in India. 

The CJPP provides an overview of privacy laws in various countries and examines their application to digital advertising activities involving personal data. It has invited all members, particularly policy teams, to collaborate on understanding and interpreting Indian law for the Global Privacy Platform (GPP).

“This is a framework that will help companies build their respective privacy policies and consent management systems, saving cost,” commented Singh. 

IAB Tech Lab recently announced the release of the final Data Deletion Request Framework, following the conclusion of two extensive public comment periods. 

The Data Deletion Request Framework establishes a standardised mechanism for transmitting data deletion request signals throughout the digital advertising ecosystem. It provides provisions for validating request origins. The framework aligns with the ‘Right to Delete’, a Data Subject Right (DSR), which is currently protected by the GDPR, 16 US state privacy laws, and additional privacy legislation, including Quebec Law 25.

Other areas of effort: Privacy Sandbox, OpenRTB  and more

Singh also highlighted the second priority area for the organisation: addressing issues related to addressability, especially in the absence of third-party cookies. "A third major focus for us is to understand alternative addressability methods and techniques including Google Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox and provide guidance to the industry on how to best utilise it," he added.

When asked about IAB Tech’s interactions with Google on Privacy Sandbox, Singh reiterated that Tech Lab Task Force provided an honest assessment of various use cases and their viability in Privacy Sandbox. "In fact, Google's team has been working with us in our office since May, going through all the details of our 'fit gap analysis' designed to help the industry understand Google's proposed solutions in the absence of third-party cookies and the associated challenges,” he said. The final version has been published on June 27, 2024.

Explaining the rationale behind involving brands, Mishra noted that while brands will demand measurement numbers, they might not understand how those measurements are obtained. "They wouldn't know that an OM SDK kind of software exists on devices or networks that provide measurement-related information," he said. 

Need for more participation from the industry

While the IAB Tech Lab’s goals are in place, Mishra urged advertisers to contribute more to the Tech Lab work through comments and their perspectives in working group participation so that Indian nuances and contexts could be brought into the technology being developed continuously to enhance the digital advertising ecosystem.  

“Associations like IAB Tech Lab, which has expertise in digital, and organisations like BARC, which has expertise in linear, should collaborate together to solve the India-specific conundrum,” said Mishra.

Impact of depletion of third-party cookies on measurement

When asked how the depletion of third-party cookies impacts the organisation’s goal of achieving cross-platform measurement, Singh acknowledged that the privacy landscape will significantly affect the measurement. "Having said that, we have put together a comprehensive solution involving data clean rooms, allowing brands to combine their first-party data with others' first-party data without revealing it to each other, yet still obtaining useful information. This is possible through encryption and technological private set intersection. We have developed a complete workflow for that.” 

He continued, "We are also working on a similar workflow for measurement. For instance, how do you gather data from different parties, place it in a data clean room, and obtain accurate measurement results?" 

In the absence of third-party data, along with building first-party data, advertisers should use privacy technologies like data-clean rooms and work with ID solution companies. 

The overarching role of IAB and IAB Tech

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is an advertising business organisation that develops industry standards, conducts research, and provides legal support for the online advertising industry.

Established in 2014, the IAB Technology Laboratory (Tech Lab) is a non-profit consortium that engages a member community globally to develop foundational technology and standards that enable growth and trust in the digital media ecosystem. 

Comprised of digital publishers, ad technology firms, agencies, marketers, and other member companies, IAB Tech Lab focuses on solutions for brand safety and ad fraud; identity, data, and consumer privacy; ad experiences and measurement; and programmatic effectiveness. 

Whatever IAB Tech Lab creates, it ensures the best and commercial interests of the companies in the ecosystem. What UPI has done for digital payments in India, we’ve done something similar for digital advertising,” said Singh.