IAB releases 2016 plan to develop LEAN scoring, its effort to take on ad blocking

The goal is to develop scoring algorithms that can show who's doing things right by year-end.

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The IAB Tech Lab announced more on how it plans to execute its LEAN ads scoring system that will be used to evaluate ad experiences on digital properties. LEAN, which stands for Light, Encrypted, AdChoice supported, and Non-invasive ads, is the IAB’s response to the rise of ad blocking.

Through 2016, the Tech Lab plans to gather data from the industry, gather feedback on the scoring system and criteria and conduct user experience testing. By year-end, the goal is to develop algorithms that can power the LEAN scoring system and evaluate and rate both publisher environments and ad campaigns to highlight those that “offer the strongest user experience.”

The initial announcement of LEAN last fall came with an apology in which the industry group, whose membership is dominated by ad tech firms, lost sight of the effects poor ad experiences, fraud and privacy concerns were having on users. The growing availability and adoption of ad blockers by users has been an overdue wake-up call for the industry.

“LEAN scoring will guide the digital media industry towards building better user experiences,” said Alanna Gombert, deputy general manager of the IAB Tech Lab and vice president of technology and ad operations at the IAB, in a statement. “There is no question that people want to have unfettered access to the high-quality news, information and entertainment they have long enjoyed for free on the open web. With the scorecard serving as a new industry standard, consumer-friendly interactive advertising will take hold, allowing the ecosystem to thrive.”

The Tech Lab laid out the following product road map on Friday:


  • Formalizing the process of onboarding data and criteria
  • Starting the public discussion about initial guidance
  • Completing initial user experience testing


  • Onboarding data and criteria from publishers, marketers and agencies
  • Iterative publishing of LEAN scoring criteria
  • Next phase of user experience testing


  • Create LEAN scoring algorithms
  • Publish initial findings and recommendations for rolling out LEAN scorecard
  • Present 2017 LEAN scoring roadmap

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Ginny Marvin
Ginny Marvin was formerly Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day-to-day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin wrote about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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