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J is for JICWEBS

As part of this week’s A-Z of Adtech series, we sat down with the Chief Executive of JICWEBS, Jules Kendrick, to talk about the amazing work they are doing, and why she believes self-regulation is so important.

Q. Hi Jules, first of all, can you tell us a bit about yourself and JICWEBS?

I work as the Chief Executive of JICWEBS and started at the company late last year. JICWEBS is a not-for-profit, cross-industry, regulatory body and our mission is to deliver recognised trust and transparency in digital advertising. We do this by setting standards that companies can be audited to, to increase transparency around how they operate.

Q. What have you guys been up to recently?

Since I started the digital advertising industry has been increasingly under the spotlight for how it’s being regulated and run. From the content moderation policies of Instagram, to the call for an independent register of political advertising, to the demand for legislation and an industry regulator to oversee the ‘cowboys’ of the “digital wild west”, digital advertising has never been out of the news!

Q. So what are you guys doing to help?

Our standards cover brand safety (ad misplacement), fraud reduction and viewability. They don’t address the hugely contentious areas of ad and social media content, other than by association. Society is currently debating the balance between freedom of speech and censorship online. JICWEBS, meanwhile, is trying to shine a spotlight on digital advertising business practices and policies.

Once a signatory has undergone an independent audit, we publish a certificate on our website which lists how they apply our standards. In April 2018, a House of Lords select committee recommended companies sign up with JICWEBS and commit to self-regulation.  Since that time many have, and we’re proud of the 137 signatories who have publicly committed to trust and transparency, including most of the major ad agencies and UK publishers.  

Q. You mentioned your ‘standards’. Who sets them? And how do you ensure they are kept impartial?

Our standards are created by the advertising industry, for the industry, through our working groups. These groups are formed by members nominated from the four industry trade bodies that make up the JICWEBS board – ISBA, the IPA, IAB and AOP.  This makes our standards truly impartial and cross-industry – aiming to work for everyone.

Q. What steps can those working in the industry take to help with the transition towards a more transparent marketplace?

Progress towards transparency has been constant over the last few years, yet fraud, ad misplacement and viewability challenges remain. We are reducing risk, but our biggest challenge is complacency. Many organisations don’t feel they need to be transparent with their business practices because it’s not demanded of them.

Some advertisers have called out these issues, yet few have pulled their advertising or demanded their agencies only use channels that publicly apply JICWEBS standards. When we have the means to demonstrate effective self-regulation, we should all play our part.

I urge every business in digital advertising to get behind JICWEBS and industry self-regulation:

  • Support your trade bodies, get involved with the standards, and how they evolve
  • If you’ve not signed up to JICWEBS ask how to, now
  • Crucially, when placing advertising – demand JICWEBS certification

Together we can build this transparency that creates trust!

Click here to check out other posts from our A-Z of Adtech series.