IAB Unveils Specifications for SafeFrame 1.0

  |  November 21, 2012   |  Comments

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released specifications for the new SafeFrame 1.0 API in hopes of receiving industry feedback for the new protocols.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released specifications for the new SafeFrame 1.0 API in hopes of receiving industry feedback for the new protocols.

SafeFrame 1.0 is a set of technical protocols that aims to give advertisers a better way to measure the viewability of web-based ads. The IAB says the tool also creates stronger defense parameters so hackers can't leverage a web-based ad to hack into a publisher's site.

"The SafeFrame API not only provides the building blocks for measuring viewable impressions, but also helps advertisers get the most out of secure programmatic buying and selling," said Yahoo Senior Web Software Engineer and co-chair of the IAB SafeFrame Working Group Sean Snider.

"The working group has created a valuable industry standard and we believe SafeFrame adoption is an important next step for the interactive media landscape."

The new protocol looks to make it easier for web publishers to handle externally-based web ads. SafeFrame's API works in conjunction with Inline Frame (iFrame), JavaScript, and Pub-Side Files.

Display advertising, like banner ads, traditionally runs through iFrames based on a website. Unlike a traditional web-based image, iFrames are able to hold their own JavaScript programming language so advertisers can give their ads things like separate scrollbars.

The problem with iFrames is that web publishers have to trust that advertisers who embedded JavaScript into the frames are legitimate. For example, a publisher has to make sure that an advertisement on their site doesn't use JavaScript to collect consumer credit card information.

To make sure the programming code advertisers are using is not potentially dangerous, publishers deploy Pub-Side Files into the iFrame. The Pub-Side File limits what the iFrames JavaScript can and cannot access. However, Pub-Side Files require a lot of upkeep from publishers and are difficult to handle.

That is where SafeFrame comes in. SafeFrame offers publishers the ability to easily manage iFrame ads while also giving advertisers measurable metrics for their displayed advertisements.

SafeFrame offers publishers the ability to house iFrame JavaScript code on a secondary domain, which can be set to block certain JavaScript activity through a single process. The new tool also gives advertisers more control by offering quantifiable metrics through the external domain.

The IAB says that by using the SafeFrame API users will have the ability to measure viewable ad impressions, enable rich media content in an iFrame, and lower the cost of handling web-based ads.

The first version of the SafeFrame API is currently available for comment through the IAB.

Along with the release of the SafeFrame API, the IAB also recently released an updated version of its Mobile Web Advertising Guidelines. The guidelines were established as a group effort between the IAB, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), and the Media Rating Council (MRC).

New to the guidelines is a focus on client-side counting for mobile web ad impressions. The IAB says that mandating client-side counting will increase statistical consistency and help reduce measurement consistencies.

"With the release of these updates, our organizations and their members are doubling down on a commitment to making a strong push for the adoption of, and compliance with, these timely guidelines," said Vice President and General Manager of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the IAB Anna Bager.

"Trustworthy and credible reporting, as well as adherence to uniform industry standards, are vital to ensuring the growth and success of the mobile advertising market."


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James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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