Some of the marketing industry’s top trade bodies want to rewrite the terms and conditions of internet advertising at what they view as a transformational time. In a joint statement Wednesday, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced the formation of a joint task force that seeks to include representatives from across the ecosystem, including agencies, brand marketers, publishers and ad-tech firms, and result in a more frictionless and efficient buying experience.
“The scale and complexity of today’s digital media transactions requires an updated foundation of contractual terms and conditions that underpin this large marketplace,” said Bob Liodice, chief executive at the ANA, in a statement around the news.
Set to launch in April, the Terms & Conditions Task Force will revise a framework that was first implemented in 2001 and has only been updated twice since then. Applicants must service the U.S. market.
The last changes to the guidelines were completed in 2018, before the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of many data privacy laws that have reshaped expectations around digital marketing while challenging the industry’s ability to self-regulate. The 4A’s, ANA and IAB said the framework will be “significantly overhauled” with the latest push.
This year is expected to see a proliferation of state-level privacy laws, while the industry trade groups have been relatively unified in their push for a single federal mandate, viewing other approaches as too patchwork. At the same time, streaming and social media have risen to be some of the most popular channels in recent years, and disrupted areas like measurement.
The Standard Terms & Conditions for Internet Advertising provides boilerplate definitions of marketing terminology to streamline processes like drafting up contracts. In short, the document establishes a “common understanding for doing business” between various parties. The trades acknowledged that coming to common understandings isn’t always a simple matter. The 4A’s represents the interest of agencies, while the ANA serves brand marketers. The IAB is focused on research and best practices for online advertising in a broader sense.
“While the previous work in this area remains the industry standard over a decade later, simply too much has changed for us to not revisit,” said David Cohen, CEO of the IAB, in a statement. “Having worked on previous iterations, I know the road ahead will not be easy, but it is important work that has to be done.”