IAB Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF)

About TCF 2.0

Improve Digital supports IAB TCF 1.1 and TCF 2.0 of the Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF), and is registered as vendor 253 on the Global Vendor List (GVL). For information about cookies, personal data processing and access rights refer to the Platform Privacy Policy.

How it works

Improve Digital works solely on the IAB's Transparency & Consent Framework protocol. This works by collecting the user's data processing choices and transmitting them to all downstream partners in the format of a encoded TCF string. Improve Digital will only process ad requests and pixel calls that contain a TCF string, and will return a no-ad for any impressions that do not contain this. After the IAB deadline for TCF 2.0 rollout (see timeline below) the string must be TCF 2.0 compliant.

Working with Improve Digital & TCF 2.0

In order to process publisher bid requests we require the following settings in the string:


Vendor Legal bases required
Improve Digital (253) Consent or Legitimate Interest


Purpose/feature Legal Bases Required Description & behaviour
Purpose 1 - Store and/or access information on a device Consent Without consent the ad request cannot be processed and no ads will be served
Purpose 2 - Select basic ads Legitimate Interest, Consent (flexible) Without consent or legitimate interest, the ad request cannot be processed and no ads will be served
Purpose 3 - Create a personalised ads profile Consent Without consent: line items dropping or targeting a pixel will not serve; no user matching will take place with demand partners which will severely impact revenue.
Purpose 4 - Select personalised ads Consent Without consent: line items dropping or targeting a pixel will not serve; no user matching will take place with demand partners which will severely impact revenue.
Purpose 7 - Measure ad performance Legitimate Interest, Consent (flexible) Without Consent or LI, viewability, click and conversion tracking will be disabled on the impression.
Purpose 10 - Develop and improve products Legitimate Interest, Consent (flexible) Without Consent or LI any line items not running with a CPM pricing type will be disabled on the impression.
Special Feature 1 - Use precise geolocation data Consent If the ad request to Improve Digital contains lat/long data we require consent from the user to allow using this for line item targeting and passing on to demand partners.
Special Purpose 1 - Ensure security, prevent fraud, and debug Legitimate Interest The TCF does not provide a right-to-object to processing.
Special Purpose 2 - Technically deliver ads or content Legitimate Interest The TCF does not provide a right-to-object to processing.
Feature 3 - Receive and use automatically-sent device characteristics for identification  N/A Used to receive and use automatically-sent device characteristics for identification such as user agent strings and IP Address.

Bidding Flow

  1. Publishers implement a Consent Management Provider (CMP) to collect the user's choices for data processing and creates a TCF string. This also sets a cookie which is valid until the user clears their cache or when the cookies TTL expires.
  2. Improve Digital parses the string to determine how the impression should be handled, and processes the impression, passing the string to downstream demand partners in the bid request.
  3. Demand partners continue this process as per their technology specification.

All traffic from users with European IP address must contain a valid TCF string.

Classic Campaign Creatives

Macros are available for Improve Digital hosted creatives, pixels and placement tags. Any tags booked either as creatives in Improve Digital should be updated with the parameter &gdpr={RAW_GDPR}. This macro will expand to the TCF string from the ad request.

Data Centre Locations

Improve Digital is partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and runs all infrastructure on servers located in Frankfurt (Germany), Dublin (Ireland) and Virginia (USA).

Transfer of Personal Data Outside of the EU

Where it is technologically possible, ad requests from a website to Improve Digital endpoints is routed to the nearest server geographically. If the traffic is sent within Europe it will be processed by our European data centres in Frankfurt or Dublin. Data processed in this centre is stored within the EU.

Geolocation data

To determine if local GDPR regulations apply to an ad request and which line items (including open RTB open market demand) are able to serve based on their geo-targeting, Improve Digital will match the IP address in the request with a country.

If the user provides the required TCF purposes, the country, IP address, and lat/long coordinates (if enabled by the publisher in the integration) are sent to demand partners in the device geo object as described in the OpenRTB protocol (2.2 & 2.5).

TCF 2.0 Rollout in 2020

Important considerations for the TCF 2.0 rollout:

  • Publishers need to ensure all active partners are ready before sending string version 2.0.
  • TCF v2.0 strings are not backwards compatible with v1.1.
  • Publishers with European traffic must have an IAB certified CMP in order to send ad requests to Improve Digital.

Timeline of Adoption

The IAB sets the timeline for industry adoption of TCF, and this was last adjusted 20 April.

Deadline Action
30 April 2020

CMPs deploy support in publisher environment to support TCF 2.0.

31 May 2020

All vendors support TCF 2.0 with minimal bugs.

Publishers should avoid sending the string to Improve Digital until informed that downstream demand partners are able to process it.

1 June 2020

Improve Digital supports both V1.1 and V2.0 of the TCF string. However from now on requests without a TCF string will be rejected and return an error to the supply source.

15 August 2020

TCF 1.1 officially deprecated by the IAB. Improve Digital will continue to process V1.1 TCF strings.

30 September 2020 onwards

TCF 1.1 no longer supported by ad tech vendors. Impressions sent with versions lower than 2.0 will be ignored.

Publishers should monitor their transition to TCF 2.0 and ensure their monetisation is not affected. We advise informing our team when you have transitioned.


  • What if I automatically opt all website users in on the grounds of legitimate interest? 
    Please read the TCF 2.0 specification to see how legitimate interest can be applied and seek legal advice where necessary to ensure your European traffic complies with GDPR. Improve Digital required a TCF 2.0 string for every impression or pixel call.
  • How do I implement a CMP?
    Your CMP provider should be able to support your setup.
  • Which SSPs currently support TCF 2.0 for Prebid integrations?
    The list of SSPs currently supporting TCF 2.0 is available on Prebid.org.
  • What types of geolocation data are collected?
    We translate the user's IP address to determine their country and region, and the lat/long location data of mobile app users if it's configured to be sent in your integration. To read this the TCF string must contain user consent on Special Purpose 1 - Use precise geolocation data.
  • What does ‘flexible’ mean?For several purposes, Improve Digital allows either Legitimate Interest or Consent for a purpose in order to process the impression.
  • Is a users consent shared across websites? If so what happens if it differs between sites?
    Improve Digital does not cache or drop cookies based on CMP settings from a user. The CMP implementation on websites will control what is sent in the ad request to Improve Digital.
  • Does Improve Digital support any non-IAB signals in ad requests to show consent can been collected from a user?
    Improve Digital requires that all ad calls and pixel requests contain a compliant IAB TCF string.
  • Google Ad Manager has a different list from the IAB Global Vendor List (GVL) - how does Improve Digital support this?
    For ad requests to Google DV360 Improve Digital will include the list of Google partners in order that DV360 can read the consented partners. All other demand partners use IAB TCF, so it is essential that any providers are registered on the GVL.

Useful links

For more information please contact our team.