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Transparency for All

IAB Tech Lab’s Transparency Center, launched in summer of 2021, is a centralized resource for metadata about participants in the ad tech ecosystem. This includes data from IAB Tech Lab specifications like Authorized Digital Sellers (ads.txt) and Sellers.json, as well as newly added Audience Segment Metadata from companies that have adopted the Data Transparency Standard. These data sets can be used by buyers to reduce fraud by identifying unauthorized supply paths and then targeting inventory from partners that adhere to specific industry compliance programs.  In addition, adoption of new standards like Seller Defined Audiences can be accelerated with the Transparency Center’s standardized taxonomy descriptions for audience segments. 

Originally, the Transparency Center was a resource that only IAB Tech Lab members could access — with this most recent release, all of these invaluable resources in the Transparency Center Data Explorer are now freely available.  Here’s some the the important details:

Audience Segment Metadata

The newest addition to the Data Explorer, the Audience Segment Metadata set supports the Seller Defined Audience standard. It allows users to view the audience names, taxonomy of the standardized audience category names, and see which segments have gone through IAB Tech Lab’s Data Transparency Standard Compliance. 

Also included in this data is the full Data Label, you may remember this as the nutrition label for audience data segments. It contains additional information about how data for the audience was sourced, how often the data is refreshed and what types of privacy frameworks were used in collection.

Supply Chain Validation

By connecting over 3 million ads.txt files from website domains and over 1 million app-ads.txt files from app stores to the thousands of sellers.json files that we crawl daily, we have created a tool that allows everyone to quickly validate the supply chain.  The tool helps you verify that your ads.txt and/or app-ads.txt file adheres to the technical specifications, validates your file against the sellers.json files referenced, and alerts you to any inconsistencies.

The Supply Chain Validation tool displays notification codes if there is a problem. The IAB Tech Lab then provides descriptions of what each alert code means so you can take action to correct problems in your files or alert partners of changes that need to be made in their files. You can reference the Supply Chain API Error Code Overview for more details.

There are plenty of other data sets to explore including company adherence to various industry compliance programs, corporate identifiers for adtech companies and other supply chain metadata. 

One of the terrific things that IAB Tech Lab has done with this entire repository of data is to make it available in a readily consumable format for both humans (the Data Explorer) AND machines. So head over to the Transparency Center and check out what data is available within the Data Explorer, and if you’d like to do more with all of this data, such as download it regularly to use for targeting within your ad tech platform, check out the yearly subscriptions for API Access.


Paul Ryan
Chief Technology Officer