IAB...It’s a Global Thing
The 2012 IAB Global Summit
Standing Together to Lead the Digital Marketing Industry Worldwide

On October 3 and 4, 114 digital leaders from across the globe gathered in New York at the IAB Global Summit for two days of frank debates and the sharing of ideas. This year, for the first time, IABs from Asia/Pacific, Europe, South and North America, as well as the Caribbean were invited to bring their most influential corporate members to take part in the experience, setting the foundation for a new era of IAB global cooperation. The historic gathering of 50 companies and 23 IABs helped shape the future of the global IAB network, addressed the most pressing common initiatives, and delivered insights into the challenges and ambitions in digital advertising throughout the world.

The Summit Opens

Randall Rothenberg, President & CEO, IAB, opened the meeting by expressing his desire to make IAB across the globe a more united family. This was the largest and longest Global Summit ever, he said. And for the first time, it was fully dedicated to spreading knowledge around major IAB initiatives. Rothenberg emphasized the need to engage major partners from the beginning to develop standards and best practices—paving a quicker path to adoption and, ultimately, market growth. IAB does quite a lot. But one business it’s not in is the implementation business. That’s done by the members, he said, and that’s why corporate members from around the world were invited to be there that day.

After giving an overview of current IAB objectives, Rothenberg passed the microphone over to the event’s master of ceremonies, David Doty, EVP, CMO & Head of International, IAB. Doty was quick to point out that there has never before been an IAB Global Summit of this scope and magnitude. He pointed out that the people in the room truly represent the future of marketing and advertising, as each is a driver of innovative transformation in the digital age. Doty also said that this historic gathering provided a historic opportunity, to shape the future of the global IAB network and serve the market-making needs of our common and individual members. Over the next day and a half, he said, we’ll wrestle with some of the biggest issues we all face, from brand advertising in digital to policy, and measurement. Doty said the people in the room would explore the newest in advertising technology, take a deep dive into mobile, and share best practices for how to make IABs responsive, even proactive, to help create healthy marketplaces for our members, and look at ways to generate more income for pursuing our missions. He thanked the sponsors AdSafe, Google, and Yahoo! Doty then introduced the day’s presentations by emphasized that a major focus of everyone in the room should be showing the value of digital in building better brands.

Peter Minnium, Head of Brand Initiatives, IAB, delivered a powerful statistic—that 80 percent of all advertising volume flows through an IAB standard. And because of that, the future of the commercial internet depends on getting new ad formats right. Minnium then took attendees on a tour of the Rising Stars ad units, explaining how they are designed to discover and capture the industry’s best ad products and make them standards for the good of the entire ecosystem. By the end of this year, over 70 percent of the IAB standard ad unit portfolio will be new, and Rising Stars will be a huge part of that.

Jennifer Creegan, General Manager, Brand Advertising, Microsoft Advertising, showed the Rising Stars display units are being used across the world, highlighting how these powerful ad units can delivery results across a number of verticals—auto, retail, tech, consumer product goods, pharma, and more.

Gabriel Richaud, Managing Director, IAB Mexico, explained why adoption of Rising Stars is crucial for Mexico and showed that a number of advertisers there are already using them. Internet advertising in Mexico will jump from the No. 5 media to the No. 2 media in three years. He showcased ads from political parties made with the IAB Billboard, proving  branding can be accomplished using the Rising Stars units in Mexico.. 

Sanjay Jain, CTO, AOL-Pictela, showed that the IAB Portrait is easily scalable, giving examples from  across AOL properties.  By creating a framework for repeatability, building a multiscreen platform, serving the format everywhere, and standardizing insights, AOL-Pictela allowes advertisers to innovate in their message  instead of spending all of their resources on the medium itself.

Graham Harris, Seniorr Director, Advertiser Product Marketing, Yahoo!, closed out the brand-building session by providing examples of how advertisers are harnessing the power of Rising Stars across Yahoo! properties. In the end, the message was a simple one. Rising Stars ad units have the ability to communicate a powerful brand statement through digital. They are the right tool in the right time to prove to advertisers that digital is where brand advertising dollars should be spent.

Pamela Jones Harbour, Partner, Fulbright & Jaworski, former Commissioner of the US Federal Trade Commission, provided insights that only a former regulator could on why effective self-regulation in the digital advertising industry is important for its future. Consumers need to be able to make clear, informed choices about their privacy. Self-regulation needs to be easy, have real enforcement, and have a large portion of the industry adopt it. If the industry does not execute effective self-regulation, government will be forced to act. Regulation, she said, is often not the best for innovation. Jones Harbour emphasized that everyone in the room needs to engage their legislators and regulators to tell them precisely how do-not-track rules would affect, or hurt, their businesses. Often, government decisions need to be influenced by specific facts and figures from marketplace realities.

Alison Pepper, Senior Director, Public Policy, IAB, Samantha Yorke, Director of Regulatory Affairs, IAB Australia, and Yerka Yukich, Director General, IAB Chile, delivered status reports on privacy and regulation in each of their respective countries. The overarching theme was that IAB public policy must be focused on  consumer choice, confidence and trust, and transparency.

Neil Mohan, Vice President Display Advertising, Google, spoke with Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Advertising Technology, IAB, about  advertising technology, stating that as important as ad technology is, we can’t lose sight of the fact that technology for technology’s sake is not very useful. The focus needs, he said, to be on allowing marketers to connect with their customers. When advertising isn’t relevant and useful, it annoys consumers. Sullivan did a short presentation that showed how in our ecosystem there are four basic elements—the marketer, consumer, and publisher, and the ad technology that sits between them.

Jay Sears, Senior Vice President Demand, Rubicon Project,and Bill Simmons, CTO and Co-Founder, DataXu, gave presentations on how their companies and advertising technology work in the marketplace. Sears talked about five trends in technology critical that influence the industry and are critical for growth and innovation. Simmons emphasized how technology platforms work, and emphasized that it’s important to stick with standards. If a standard is not working, he counseled, you have to talk to the people behind it to improve it. The very action of collaborating on standards improves them. Going rogue doesn’t give you an advantage.

Boris Omelnitskiy, President, IAB Russia, led a brief Q&A with Sears, Simmons, and Sullivan on how emerging markets can gain an advantage in ad technology.

The most spirited discussions surrounded the next topic of the day—the cross-industry initiative, Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS). Sherrill Mane, SVP, Research, Measurement & Analytics, IAB, gave an overview of 3MS—what it is, who’s involved, where it stands, and why it’s important. Mane emphasized that digital is the first truly global media that can be bought internationally or on a pan-regional basis. There is a challenge in calibrating the pace of change for each country and region.

George Ivie, CEO & Executive Director, Media Rating Council, outlined the MRC’s U.S. mission, to secure for the media industry and related users audience measurement services that are valid, reliable and effective. He explained how the MRC works internationally, where they do not accredit, as they do in the U.S., but they do consult. In addition, many countries use MRC standards and its CPA auditors.

David Cohen, Chief Media Officer, UM, discussed how important 3MS is from the advertiser’s point of view. 3MS changes the game for big brand advertisers who have grown up on television. Now, apples can be compared to apples. It was clear from what Cohen said that marketers want 3MS and so do agencies. Ivie pointed out you can’t stop the viewability train, you can only prepare for it.There was a lively debate over 3MS, with some in the room expressing fear and apprehension around the concept of viewable impressions.

Guy Phillipson, CEO, IAB UK, took inventory of IAB global assets that could be shared between and among IABs—the AdChoices Icon and self-regulatory framework, ad formats and standards, ad spend data, and consumer research collected by all the IABs around the globe. Phillipson provided a spark of inspiration and spoke of different ways to share, including exchange programs, participation in councils, distribution of ad format standards, and participation in each other’s conferences and events.

Endre Somogyi, General Manager, IAB Hungary, gave his thoughts on what smaller IABs can and do use—websites, global studies, pan-European projects, regional projects, layouts, logos, and templates. His hope, he said, is that everyone realizes there is value to IAB work outside of English-speaking countries, and to extract that value there needs to be more meetings among the IABs with more people involved in the network.

David Doty then unveiled an innovative initiative for building a stronger global IAB—a new membership category in the United States for international members. This membership would be open to the largest and most influential corporate members of national IABs at no additional charge beyond what they pay their local IABs. This membership would allow international members to participate in the U.S. IAB councils and committees that set worldwide standards, giving publishers from around the world the opportunity to influence upstream standards and best practices as they are being created. Doty also spoke about other benefits including bringing sales certification training and accreditation to global markets, partnering on market-making research, marketing successes through a new curated IAB global website and app, asserting leadership through an enlarged IAB International Steering Committee, and building events businesses with programming and consulting support from the IAB events team. There was a spirited discussion about these proposals, and Doty assured the room that the next step was implementation.

Day One Concludes

The day closed with breakout sessions led by AdSafe and Microsoft followed by an extended Q&A led by Rob Rasko, Executive Advisor, IAB. Ultimately, the room concluded that the IAB global network has the ability and awareness to get to where it needs to be, but only if its members are honest and transparent with each other.

Doty ended the day by summarizing the learnings and inspirational ideas generated, and congratulated everyone for their passionate commitment to the interactive advertising industry. He then invited all the attendees to board a “City Lights” cruise around Lower Manhattan to network and get to know each other better as they viewed the skyline, passed the Statue of Liberty, sailed under the Brooklyn Bridge, and ate drank and danced. The sponsors of the cruise, AdSafe, Google, and Yahoo! thanked the crowd for making time for this special visit to New York City.

Day Two Opens

Day two of the IAB Global Summit opened with an observation from Randall Rothenberg that this is truly the IAB Global Summit and not the IAB Global Summit. After a stimulating, enlightening, and provocative day, one can easily see that IAB Global has become a collection of partners, all with common goals.

Anna Bager

Marcus Startzel

Paul Fisher

Patrick Dolan

Pablo Pozo

Anna Bager, General Manager & Vice President, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB, led a session about how IABs and their members are leading the new first screen around the world. She described how the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence has taken a world view in developing standards and research and proactive policy efforts.

Marcus Startzel, General Manager, North America, Millennial Media, outlined how it’s easy to get scale in mobile on a global level. One of the major barriers to the growth of mobile is education of what is possible. Beyond education, the industry needs to help CMOs understand that mobile is a better way to reach consumers than non-digital channels. There are great examples of how mobile drives business and ROI.

Paul Fisher, CEO, IAB Australia, and Eduardo Fleury, General Director, Hands Media, Member, IAB Brazil, showed powerful charts on just how fast mobile is growing in their markets. The biggest challenge, they said, is to get advertisers to engage now, while it’s still in such a rapid growth phase.

The final session of the 2012 IAB Global Summit discussed various ways in which IABs around the world could grow their revenue. Patrick Dolan, EVP & COO, IAB, opened the session by giving a breakdown of IAB revenue streams—membership, events, certification and training, compliance programs, sponsored research, and centers of excellence.

Pablo Pozo, Marketing Director, IAB Mexico, showed the revenue streams of a smaller-market IAB. Much of IAB Mexico’s revenue is dependent on events. Their secret to a healthy events business—ample networking and balanced content.

Michael Theodore, VP, Training & Development, IAB, spoke about the new IAB Digital Media Sales Certification. The goal for the program is to set an industry benchmark of knowledge and expertise, and to achieve accreditation by the same body that provides accreditation to colleges, universities and other professional organizations. Ultimately, the certification can be a revenue driver with income from the exam fee, application fee, recertification fee, continuing education from classes, and creation of new areas for certification.

Jarek Sobolewski, Director General, IAB Poland, talked about how IAB Poland depends on events for revenue. Their secret is keeping the admission prices low and limited sponsors to 10 per event to provide maximum visibility. IAB Poland also creates and sells content, such as their annual report on Polish advertising.

Suzanne Hogan, Senior Manager, Events, IAB, gave a tutorial on IAB Innovator Roundtable Dinners. These small events bring members, marketers and agencies together in an intimate setting. In this format, IAB moderators are scene-setters for debates and networking. Ultimately, the participants drive the conversation.

The Summit Concludes

David Doty brought this historic meeting to a close by stating what he felt were the big takeaways from day two (more sharing, more global standards, many ways to drive revenue to help IABs further their missions) and stating that the 2012 Global Summit had only begun to scratch the surface of the IAB global network’s full potential, paving the way for a new era of IAB international leadership. That cooperation will help propel IABs and their members forward through the worldwide advertising digital revolution.