One year ago, on 21st August 2019, IAB Europe announced the launched the next iteration of its Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF). Based on feedback on the original Framework, TCF v2.0 builds upon the success of its predecessor by providing an enhanced user-focused mechanism to facilitate industry-wide adherence to current data regulation and standardise consent management.

IAB Europe gave all stakeholders a year to prepare for the transition, and the switchover from TCF v1.1 to v2.0 was successfully completed on 15th August 2020. TCF v2.0 is now the current standard for vendors, publishers, media agencies, and advertisers looking to operate in a compliant and user-centric manner.

What does TCF v2.0 offer?

Building on IAB Europe’s ambition to increase transparency and choice for users, TCF v2.0 continues to support digital properties’ management of consent and compliance to current regulation.

TCF v2.0 is supporting more:

  • Choice – with revised, more granular definitions and descriptions of data processing purposes, users are able to make informed choices regarding the processing of their personal data;
  • Transparency – a more complete accommodation of the “legitimate interests” legal basis for data processing and the introduction of new signals allows CMPs to offer users a streamlined means of exercising the “right to object” to processing on the basis of a “legitimate interest”;
  • Control – with new, granular controls around the data processing purposes permitted by them on a per vendor basis, publishers have greater autonomy over their data processes;
  • Compliance – with greater support for the users of the framework in their application of the policies, terms and conditions, and technical specifications, alongside increased investment by IAB Europe in the resource to support this, all parties are better equipped to adhere to current EU data regulation.

The Framework’s central aim to provide digital property operators with a simple and efficient means of communicating with their users about their data processes remains unchanged. TCF v2.0 builds on the Framework’s ambition to enable the digital advertising industry to meet the needs of consumers whilst simultaneously safeguarding a commercially sustainable future.

TCF v2.0:

  • Allows users to exercise their ‘right to object’ to data being processed on the basis of legitimate interests.
  • Ensures more detailed descriptions of the purposes behind data processing are provided to users so that they have all the information they need to make informed choices about how their data is used.
  • Empowers publishers to exercise increased restrictions on both the purposes and legal bases upon which a vendor can process data collected on their digital property, enabling greater customisation of the vendor operation.
  • Allows vendors to process user data under legitimate interest, provided this is not restricted by the publisher or objected to by the user.

TCF v2.0 enhances IAB Europe’s ambition to make the digital advertising ecosystem more transparent and efficient for all parties. The revised Framework will continue to foster greater trust between publishers, vendors, and users by making more detailed information regarding the methods the purposes of data collection more accessible, as well as by standardising consent signals.

Following the official switchover, we spoke to figures from a range of participating firms to get their thoughts on TCF v2.0, and the effect that they believe it will have on the digital advertising ecosystem.

TCF v2.0 is critical to supporting our clients

The next iteration of the IAB Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF 2.0) provides ad tech participants with a standardised solution for surfacing and communicating user choice for the use of personal data. TripleLift has been at the forefront of promoting TCF 2.0 to all of our partners as the most flexible solution for their needs and we continue to push its adoption throughout the industry.

The impact of TCF 2.0 will be beneficial for both consumers, who will be able to exercise their rights, as well as our clients as an interoperable and standardised solution to use to meet their (and their vendors’) transparency and user choice obligations.

We believe that ensuring the continuation of the free internet where content, news and entertainment is available to all, the industry must enable vendor choice among publishers and advertisers by adopting interoperable standardised solutions which enable communication between consumers and the different participants in our industry.

Julia Shullman, chief privacy officer and legal counsel, TripleLift

The transition to v2.0 is a much-needed step towards greater transparency

In addition to the measures it is taking towards greater transparency, TCF v2.0 is getting stricter when it comes to consent notice UI requirements. A much-needed change considering that 88% of current consent management platform (CMP) implementations do not meet the minimal requirements set by GDPR.

Stricter UI requirements in TCF v2.0 mean that publishers who use a CMP that only meets the requirements of TCF v1.1 are likely to see a big drop in consent rate in the future. With the prospect of a lower consent rate, it’s more important than ever that publishers build, or look for a CPMP that includes, features optimised for advertising results.

Despite the challenges for Publishers, there’s no doubt that TCF v2.0 is a step in the right direction. Greater transparency and control to users can only ever be perceived positively.

Sarah Jones, global head of product marketing, Ogury

Industry-wide compliance will bring a new dawn to the ecosystem

With the new IAB Europe Transparency and Consent Framework v2.0, the industry has proven it is able to agree and create standards and policies that achieve a high level of data protection in the online advertising sector. We predict that TCF v2.0 adoption will exceed that of its predecessor version thanks to new, key industry players signing up to the framework.

What is now left to do is the rigorous enforcement of the TCF v2.0 policies by IAB Europe to ensure strict compliance with TCF v2.0 requirements by all participants. This will allow the TCF v2.0 to become a safe harbour for the online advertising industry, within which actors can be confident that requirements under data protection law are met. This, in turn, could give data protection authorities increased confidence as well.

TCF v2.0 is a model to be followed internationally and we are excited to see the launch of the IAB Privacy Lab with a pilot project to create an IAB Canada Transparency and Consent Framework. We are also hopeful that the benefits of the TCF v2.0 for industry, regulators and users can be extended to other jurisdictions with privacy and data protection legislation.

Matthias Matthiesen, senior privacy counsel, Quantcast

TCF v2.0 is the next step in championing user control

Since the initial launch of the TCF in 2018, Xandr has partnered with IAB Europe to support and optimise the framework for all parties. We now have representation on the IAB TCF Governance Board and look forward to continuing our role as advisors on and champions of user control and choice. TCF v2.0 brings greater transparency and choice to consumers, and Xandr has been working closely with our clients to ensure preparedness for its launch.

Grant Nelson, privacy product, Xandr

V2.0 will enable us to tailor consent management across markets

The launch of TCF v2.0 is just another big step towards users’ control over their data. The first version of the framework had some limitations and didn’t allow vendors to realise consent management properly. TCF v2.0 is more structured and gives more transparency to the user, along with more flexibility and customisation for ad tech vendors.

As Admixer operates across different markets with different privacy regulations, implementation of TCF v2.0 would help us to provide custom tailored approaches to consent management in compliance with local and publishers preferences. The presence of the single framework, in these cases, could serve as a common denominator to which all industry players will eventually come. In the long-term, the full adoption of TCF v2.0 by the industry will lead to more informed choices made by users and finally to more relevant promo activities from advertisers’ side. And improvements in TCF v2.0 is an important step in this direction, but definitely not the last.

Ivan Fedorov, new business director, Admixer

TCF v2.0 marks successful cross-industry collaboration

We are delighted to launch our integration into the TCF v2.0, in line with the switchover from v1.1 by IAB Europe. This marks the successful collaboration across our industry for a standardised framework that combines both ease of use and interoperability and will give users greater control over how their data is used, as well as provide publishers with greater flexibility to work with a range of technology partners.

Chetna Bindra, senior product manager, user trust and privacy, Google

More firms are enjoying the increased flexibility of TCF v2.0

Since deploying support for TCF 2.0 in March, Magnite has seen a steady increase in the presence of 2.0 signals across the exchange. We are delighted to have made a full switch to v2.0, which offers greatly increased flexibility to end users, publishers, and the industry at large.

Garrett McGrath, vice president of product management, Magnite

v2.0 is the gold standard for accountability and compliance in Europe’s digital advertising

The recent rollout of the IAB Europe Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF) v2.0 represents the continued commitment of the European digital advertising ecosystem to providing consumers increased understanding and control over the use of their personal data through auditable, interoperable and consensus-driven standards. This represents a massive win for consumers and brands wanting an accountable, addressable and aligned digital advertising supply chain. MediaMath is a founding member of TCF, and TCF technologies are baked into our core products. We are therefore proud to have played a leading role in collaborating with publishers, advertisers, and other ad tech vendors at the IAB Europe to incorporate regulatory feedback into the updated framework. This process has resulted in the development of numerous innovative features for the benefit of consumers, such as more granular processing purposes and the concept of “stacks”. These will better surface to consumers how we connect them to the brands and content they value, as well as giving them and publishers alike greater control over who they trust to handle their data and for what purposes. With over 450 vendors and countless digital properties already integrated with the framework (and these numbers growing daily), it is clear that TCF v2.0 is the gold standard for facilitating compliant and accountable digital advertising in Europe.

William Lee, manager, product policy & compliance, MediaMath

TCF v2.0 is a triumph in cross-industry collaboration

IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) is the first and only global self-regulatory standard that brings privacy and security to each online user and all those involved in digital advertising. OneTrust has been working alongside IAB Europe as a member of the TCF Steering Committee to shape how TCF v2.0 policies are used in practice. Our ongoing participation has helped ensure the best outcome for organisations in the publisher and advertising space whose operations are driven by ad revenue. The confirmed scale and support of TCF v2.0 highlights the industry’s commitment to work together to enable targeted advertising that complies with regulations.

Stephanie Hanson, offering manager, OneTrust PreferenceChoice

V2.0 empowers publishers to improve user experience

As an advertising business owned by the UK’s leading premium publishers, a key element of TCF v2.0 is the high level of input from premium publishers, and we are very supportive of the changes.

At its core, v2.0 provides a number of key benefits for both consumers (in terms of choice and transparency surrounding their personal data) and for publishers, who can ensure greater control with how their users’ data is processed. At Ozone, we have built a platform with these very principles firmly at our core and we have seen first-hand how they deliver great success. We create better results for advertisers through a more positive consumer experience, be it by reducing ad bombardment, running better creative or – as is the case with v2.0 – giving readers more control over how their data is used.  Improving the controls available to readers and publishers, and providing greater confidence to brands will only help build a more transparent, effective industry that works for all.

Damon Reeve, CEO, The Ozone Project

TCF v2.0’s focus on compliance will foster deeper trust across the industry

At a time when consumer privacy compliance has never been more important for the advertising industry, this standard provides publishers with a more granular level of control over consent management across their vendor partners. By establishing a framework for attaining, managing and communicating user consent, the interoperability between platforms provides publishers with a new level of transparency into how each of their partners is using the data and under what legal basis.

For ad tech companies, it has provided much clearer guidance around how to interpret consent signals being passed to them from publisher partners. Since GDPR came into effect, Captify has been committed to complying with its rules and only working with partners that are doing the same. This new direction has been very helpful for our team focused on ensuring we maintain compliance, and by extension establishes a deeper trust with our advertiser partners.

As with all industry frameworks, it’s not perfect and the ICO will still need to police compliance with these standards by ad tech companies.  But it is still an important advancement in putting the right mechanisms in place to create a safer and more transparent ecosystem for consumers, a more flexible relationship between publisher and vendor and instil greater confidence in privacy compliance throughout the industry.

For publishers and ad tech companies who have put GDPR and consumer privacy at the heart of their mission, the new framework and its increasing adoption is an important step toward enforcement of an industry-standard, ultimately driving progress through better and safer collaboration.

Fiona Davis, COO, Captify

In order for the Framework to deliver on its aims, IAB Europe requires vendors and CPMs to register to its Global Vendor List (GVL) and CMP list. These lists work as reference points for publishers, who can use the registries to determine which vendors and CMPs they work with when handling user data on their sites.

Vendors can register here and CMPs can register here.

For more information on TCF v2.0, click here.