Tuesday, March 1, 2011
New IAB Survey: Digital Ad Executives Recognize Need to Improve “Interactive Ad IQ” to Drive More Revenue

First Installment of Annual Benchmarking Survey Reveals 25% Aren’t Comfortable Articulating Full Value of Interactive Platforms

PALM SPRINGS, CA (March 1, 2011) — A new study reveals a significant gap between the level of sophistication of interactive advertising platforms and how comfortable industry executives are in articulating the value of those platforms to media buyers and marketers. Released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the 2011 "Interactive Ad IQ Survey" was conducted by Ernst & Young LLP’s Media & Entertainment Advisory Services practice. It is the first installment in what is planned to be an annual benchmark of how well industry executives are able to communicate the opportunities associated with the rapid transition of digital and social media, which has accelerated over the past 18 to 24 months. The announcement was made during IAB’s fourth Annual Leadership Meeting, Ecosystem 2.0: The People vs. Data, at La Quinta Resort & Club, where leaders across the digital media landscape have converged to address the most critical issues facing the industry.

More than 640 digital publishers, advertisers, agency executives and researchers from across the U.S. responded to the survey. The gaps it identifies may contribute to what many industry insiders believe is the undervaluing of interactive advertising relative to traditional ad platforms, such as television and print media. For example, roughly 75% of these executives work directly with social media and mobile ad platforms, but roughly one-quarter of them are uncomfortable explaining the value of these platforms in the context of buying or selling ads. Approximately 85% of respondents said online video is important to their businesses, but a full 20% were uncomfortable demonstrating the benefits of this interactive ad vehicle.

“The diversity of interactive advertising presents tremendous opportunities, and challenges, for explaining why our clients should spend with us,” said Patrick Dolan, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, IAB. “If we can’t communicate the unprecedented value of interactive, it just might be far easier for advertisers to allocate dollars to more traditional platforms.”

Respondents were also asked to rate their comfort level with using common tools and data. Close to 35% of survey respondents indicated they were uncomfortable using third-party audience and sales data to optimize ad performance and 20% expressed unease interpreting syndicated audience research. Additionally, 22% are unclear as to how to utilize server-side web analytics.

“We anticipated some of the discomfort, particularly on the newest platforms, such as social media. But what was refreshing was the industry’s recognition that training is not only necessary, but desired," said Howard Bass, who led this initiative for Ernst & Young LLP, referring to a result indicating that more than 60% of respondents want training for themselves or their colleagues.

“We will act on these results by developing an industry training programs so buyers and sellers of interactive advertising can gain the requisite knowledge and skills to make the most of every dollar invested in these emerging platforms,” said Michael Theodore, Vice President, IAB Member Services, and leader of the organization’s Professional Development efforts. “The IAB plans to establish a certification program that should help hiring managers identify qualified talent and maintain top-quality skills as part of their personnel development practices.”

The IAB is making the survey available to individual member companies who want to test their Ad IQ, and then will be available to work with those companies to develop custom training programs for those looking to increase their Ad IQ.

For more information about the Interactive Ad IQ survey, please visit www.iab.net/adIQ

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.iab.net.

About Ernst & Young’s Global Media & Entertainment Center
Whether it’s the traditional press and broadcast media, or the multitude of digital media, audiences now have more choice than ever before. For media and entertainment companies, integration and adaptability are becoming critical success factors. Ernst & Young’s Global Media & Entertainment Center brings together worldwide teams of professionals to help our clients achieve their potential—teams with deep technical experience in providing assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The Center works to anticipate market trends, identify the implications and develop points of view on relevant industry issues. Ultimately it enables us to help our clients meet their goals and compete more effectively. It’s how Ernst & Young makes a difference.

IAB Media Contact
Marnie Black
917.828.7308
[email protected]