TAG Inventory Quality Guidelines (IQG) FAQ

What is the Inventory Quality Guidelines (IQG) Program?

The Inventory Quality Guidelines are an industry-backed brand safety and transparency compliance program. The mission of the IQG program is to reduce friction and foster an environment of trust in the marketplace by providing clear, common language that describes characteristics of advertising inventory and transactions across the advertising value chain. The program defines a common framework of disclosures that buyers and sellers can use across the industry, offering clear language that enables buyers and sellers to make informed decisions.


What is the value of IQG to buyers?

For buyers, the “IQG Certified” seal represents a symbol of trust and a guide to which sellers are good actors in the industry and should be considered in your planning. The IQG program was created jointly by buyers and sellers and represents the buyers’ voice to sellers within defined terms and conditions for seller disclosure.


What is the value of IQG to sellers?

IQG creates a simple, common, and standard language to describe and classify advertising opportunities. Doing so makes buying inventory easier for the buyer, which increases overall demand for IQG-certified sellers. Increased inventory value for certified companies enables increased revenue because IQG certification classifies these companies as industry leaders, clearly distinguishing them from any bad actors.


What is new in version 2.1 of the IQG?

In December 2015, TAG released an updated version of the Inventory Quality Guidelines.  The substantive changes included in IQG v2.1 are described in the IQG 2.1 Summary of Revisions.


When will IQG version 2.1 take effect?

Companies previously certified under QAG 2.0 can renew their certifications under those guidelines through 2015. Beginning Q1 2016, current participants will be required to perform internal audits in compliance with IQG 2.1, which will then be subject to Independent Validation in Q1 2017.

All new applicants following the release of this document will be certified under IQG 2.1 beginning with Q1 2016.


How do the IQG address programmatic buying?

The IQG version 2.1 require disclosures related to the OpenRTB Specification and audience targeting.  These disclosures allow for complete transparency in a programmatic environment and allow the buyer to target the appropriate audience.


Who can apply for certification under the IQG Program?

The program is open to any company that sells or buys advertising inventory and advertising agencies that purchase inventory on behalf of their clients.


What do companies have to do to be certified under the IQG Program?

Companies who wish to apply for IQG certification must first complete TAG Registration.  Once TAG Registered, a company should apply on the TAG website for IQG certification; appoint a compliance officer, who must attend training on the guidelines; and pay the IQG certification fee. The company must then ensure that their internal practices follow the Guidelines.  Finally, there are two tiers of certification: self-certification and independent validation. For self-certification, a company must submit their internal audit documents and self-attestations by the compliance officer and business lead that they are adhering to the guidelines. For independent validation, in addition to the self-certification requirements, a company needs to invite an independent vendor to validate that the company is IQG-compliant and attest to the same.


What happens if an IQG compliant company breaks the Guidelines?

IQG compliance is peer-enforced. In order to ensure that the value of IQG certification is maintained, a formal process is in place for companies to make complaints about non-compliance.

A company that is party to an IQG-certified transaction may submit a complaint against the other party of the transaction regarding any non-compliance experienced. The complaint must include specific evidence of non-compliance and must be signed by someone of at least manager level at the company making the complaint.


How do I make a complaint about an IQG compliant company?

Details of the mechanisms for each type of IQG complaint can be found at IQG Complaints.


Can a company be kicked out of the IQG program?

Yes. If a company receives three or more valid complaints against it in a six-month period and the valid complaints are not resolved within that six-month period certification for that company is removed.


How does IQG Certification differ from ad verification?

The guidelines are an industry backed set of best practices and disclosures; they are a way to represent to the market a seller’s involvement in a community of trust. The fees for joining this program are significantly lower than any technology solution.


What actually goes into the description of methodology (DOM)?

The DOM in simple terms is the guide to how your company executes the IQG program. It’s a statement of processes and workflows which describes your method of completion.


What does it cost to be involved in IQG?

Prior to joining the IQG program, which is open to any company that sells inventory in the digital advertising supply chain, any such company become TAG Registered. The TAG Registry was created to provide greater transparency throughout the ecosystem and costs $10,000 per company annually. Once a company is TAG Registered, it can apply for IQG certification, which costs $10,000 per year.


How long does the certification last?

The IQG Program enrollment period is annual running from January 1 until December 31 of each year. Enrollment in the IQG Program will automatically renew at the end of each program year for the following year, unless written notice is provided to TAG at least 30 days prior to the end of the yearly term.

Please reach out to iqg@tagtoday.net with any additional questions you may have.