Data Ethics

Is the IAB TCF important to your business?

March 31, 2020  |   Martin Wallace

When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in 2018, consumers were initially surprised when privacy notices popped up on the websites they visited. However, in 2020, we have reached a point where the absence of privacy statements is more noticeable than their presence. What’s more, consumers are growing increasingly concerned about their privacy than ever before.

Even so, while fines could be imposed by data protection authorities (DPA), GDPR provides no intrinsic incentive to publishers to provide consumers the control required by law. However, the IAB Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF) created a means for publishers who adopt the framework to use the same method of communicating consent, which in turn created opportunities to quickly improve ROI and audience monetisation. Providing the intrinsic incentive GDPR lacked, its broad adoption streamlines compliance across the ad tech ecosystem. Most recently, we discussed the TCF’s importance when its newest iteration, v2.0, was announced.

Even with its broad popularity, here are some elements to think about when considering adopting IAB’s TCF.

Consider adopting TCF if:

  • Your business monetises inventory based on personally identifiable information (PII) like cookie IDs
  • You have vendors you need to transmit consent to, many of whom are IAB TCF vendors, and require a TC string
  • You want to adopt industry-standard language for transmitting consent instead of creating a custom method

The TCF isn’t for everyone, and there are a number of reasons why someone wouldn’t adopt it:

  • You don’t monetise any (or very little) data based on PII, and your revenue model is thereby not impacted by TCF adoption
  • You want a more flexible solution outside of TCF policy, and you’re able to set up custom integrations with your on-site/in-app vendors
  • You don’t need to communicate consent from site/app visitors to downstream vendors

It’s important to remember that being GDPR compliant does not make you TCF compliant. Per the IAB, TCF was created to help all parties who display and manage digital advertising and develop targeted content to comply with GDPR. As a result, it’s possible to be GDPR compliant without being TCF compliant, and vice versa.

While the TCF may not be the best fit for every company, it is a means to streamline compliance and improve consumer transparency throughout the ad tech ecosystem. TCF is an extremely important standard for site owners who require a seamless means of capturing and transmitting consent across their partners. Standardised communication creates a real incentive to include consumers into the online value exchange and give them transparent controls over their data.

Additionally, adopting TCF is an important step to protecting business sustainability and revenue models for anyone who monetises data.

If you’re already operating with TCF v1.1, the transition to v2.0 will be less complex. Partnering with your consent management provider will also help. Check out how LiveRamp’s preference and consent management platform, Privacy Manager, can ease your woes by scheduling a demo or reach out to privacy-manager@liveramp.com.