Data Label: Data transparency standards for digital marketing

Posted by Jonas Jaanimagi On October 11, 2022 Research & Resources

Marketers are increasingly making media and marketing spend decisions based on a wide range of audience data, however traditionally there are few tools that enable data buyers to understand ‘what’s inside’ the various data segments they buy and few standards that can enable a consistent labeling of any details contained therein.

A few years ago we saw the launch of the Data Label project, the structure of which is based upon global Data Transparency Standards released by IAB Tech Lab .

The initiative provides a simple, consistent and easily digested set of standards – allowing sellers to clearly specify where the data comes from, how it was collected and organised, its recency, if it was manipulated or modeled and what rules were used in establishing the data within any particular audience segments.

We see the benefits of the Data Label being:

  • Help educate the industry around what is contained within audience data segments, how they have been constructed, how they are being updated and the recency.

  • Provide consistency and transparency in terms of the product constituents and naming conventions.

  • Enable a minimum level of quality assurance in terms of what is being bought and/or utilised.

A beta version of the marketplace API is now available managed by IAB Tech Lab to enable easier uploading, maintenance and reporting capabilities – as well as integrations across participating data marketplaces. This can be accessed via IAB Tech Lab’s excellent Tools Portal.

IAB Australia recommends that publishers and data suppliers start utilising the Data Label for their most commonly traded segments as a commitment to the highest standard of audience data transparency. In turn, buyers and agencies should start recognising those segments for their consistent and transparent approach and increasingly demanding their usage in any future ongoing transactions.

Related to these standards is the IAB Tech Lab’s compliance program – which is available to any organisation that offers data, whether syndicated separately or bundled alongside with media, and is also open to adoption by data marketplaces where data is bought and sold. Those organisations that complete the compliance program affirm their full commitment to the highest standards of audience data transparency.

For access to the minimum segment disclosures please click here and for some local industry support for the Data Label standard and for some examples of local Australian Data Labels, please see below.

“The data market is extremely complex, it’s rapid rate of growth combined with a lack of local legislation makes it impossible to get a consistent read on the construct of any single data set on factors such as origin and ownership. When our role as an agency is to assess the value of data and provide our clients with transactional transparency, we have had no choice until now but to define our own governance standards and create our own processes for data auditing. The Data Label initiative provides consistency at scale, setting a new Australian standard for the data market, removing the friction from transparency and value conversations. Ultimately helping prepare the market for the impending legislative changes.” 

 Sian Whitnall, Co-Chief Executive Officer, OMD Australia


“In the current climate we believe that brands will look to leverage 1st and 3rd party data for tighter audience targeting to make media budgets work harder. Investment in 3rd party data should be assessed on a case by case basis, whether it is justified and suits the brands needs. The IAB Data Label provides buyers of 3rd party data with a clear understanding of recency, provenance, how data is collected and the representativeness of the data-set, in a consistent and comparable manner. Lifesight have long held the view that this should be a minimum expectation and are delighted that the IAB Tech Lab have developed a framework and user-friendly labeling solution that will bring increased transparency and trust to the 3rd party data marketplace.”

Tom Gregory, AUNZ Country Manager, Lifesight


“IAB Australia’s Data Council has been excited about this project for some time now, having been directly involved (via IAB Tech Lab) as an active participant in reviewing, testing and constructively feeding back on the global beta version. We’re delighted to see the active support for these standards from across the industry here locally and believe that the Data Label will become a critical industry standard for data in terms of consistency, quality and transparency. This standard will help to better support and educate marketers in the short term whilst also, through consistent global standards, building the foundations for how we can responsibly utilise audience data segments in a simple, trustworthy and transparent manner, in the longer term.”

Jonas Jaanimagi, Technology Lead, IAB Australia


“This initiative provides data transparency standards for digital marketing in Australia. The ever-increasing amount of data available means that its efficacy is based on it being transparent, accurate, and of a high quality. At LiveRamp, we believe that with the ownership of data comes the responsibility of good data stewardship.”

Frederic Jouve, MD Asia Pacific, LiveRamp


Jonas Jaanimagi