Results tagged “AdOps” from IABlog

IAB University - A Place For Learning

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I’ve been thinking about my job title for some time now. Something about it has been troubling me, and I believe I have finally figured it out.

Since we launched the IAB Certification program nearly two years ago I’ve been Vice President, Training and Development.  Now, at the IAB we don’t go out of our way to be cute or creative when we use titles; they are meant to be accurate, expressive, and to-the-point. No Senseis or Shepherds here. As a result no one has ever not understood what my role is at the IAB.

Still, the longer that I’ve had this position, the more the title has seemed inappropriate to me. It’s the word training that bothers me. Training is something that’s done to people (or dogs!) Training sounds passive. It conjures up the image of a student held hostage in a classroom, passively absorbing information. Training is what managers send employees through.

classroom.jpgBut learning is completely different. Learning is active, not passive. We choose to learn. We all want to learn, all the time, to experience new things. Learning occurs in the classroom, but it also happens on the job, at home, anywhere and everywhere; with others or by oneself. Others might control my training, but I control my learning. Which one is more likely to stick with me?

That’s why we created IAB University (IAB.U), an industry educational hub where everyone across the ecosystem, from every level, can come together to learn from each other. At IAB University you can be on the receiving end of digital advertising education or you can teach your peers. Plus, participants receive IAB Learning Credits good towards IAB Digital Media Sales or IAB Digital Ad Operations recertification programs, if they need them.
The IAB is flush with subject matter experts. Experts abound. Need to learn the latest on programmatic? Interested in how native advertising works? Unclear on what a viewable impression is?  If there’s something you need to know about digital advertising, our members have the answers. The IAB has always been a tremendous resource for thought leadership and cutting-edge expertise; that’s truer today than ever as our industry continues its remarkable growth.

We realize more and more people come to the IAB to learn. We are attracting more junior level employees and people relatively new to the industry. Learning comes in all flavors— a webinar, a conference, a panel of experts, a town hall of newbies. Just about every program the IAB offers is a learning experience, and we hope you will take advantage of those learning experiences whether you are seeking recertification or just want to stay abreast of what’s happening out there.

But here’s our hope—that many of you will share your expertise or newly-found research with others in our community. Did your company just release a piece of research? Turn it into a webinar for IAB members. Are you an expert on some new trend? Put together a panel so that IAB members can discuss, at your place or ours. Let’s figure out a way to make learning continuous and collaborative.

We’re already beginning to put together a free program of learning opportunities. If you are interested in learning more about IAB University or want to be part of the IAB University “faculty” to let us know what you want to teach please start here

And with that…

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Privacy advocates and regulators have challenged the ad industry to provide meaningful choice when it comes to the collection and use of behavioral data. In response, industry leaders have come together in support of the enhanced ad notice icon, which leads the user to industry wide disclosure and choice options. Although some still question this approach, it is well positioned to have significant industry adoption as a framework for consumer choice on traditional websites.

PrivacyChoice_Policymaker.jpgThe industry is at an earlier stage when it comes to providing notice and choice on mobile devices. The infrastructure delivering mobile ads isn’t as well developed, and the ecosystem is more complex with carriers, devices and operating systems each playing a role. Nevertheless, given the rapid growth expected for mobile advertising, and the heightened privacy concerns associated with location-aware mobile devices, it is imperative that we also focus on how to deliver meaningful choice in this new environment.

The in-ad use of the enhanced ad notice icon faces some obstacles when applied to ads that appear within mobile apps, a growing segment of online ads. Not only does there tend to be less visible real estate in mobile ads, there’s no easy way (like cookies) to store the preference so that it is accessible across or between different apps and the mobile browser. Companies are working on ways to store tracking preferences at the device-level, but to work this will take a new level of cooperation between advertisers, operating system providers, and app makers—each with their own privacy agenda.

Despite these challenges, meaningful choice may actually become easier for ads in mobile apps because they can provide a different choice framework. Unlike typical websites, every app already has a moment of choice before any data collection begins: the moment of installation. Users typically install new apps through a marketplace (like Apple’s App Store) where they search, browse, and select new apps. Each app has a reference page, which can include links to terms of service and privacy information. Notice-and-choice for tracking, possibly even the icon itself, can be provided at this stage in the process of installing an application.

Is it asking too much of mobile app makers to create appropriately titled links and a privacy policy with the right disclosure? In fact, privacy policies are already required of websites under the laws of many states. Even though a minority of apps have a published privacy policy, that can change as privacy disclosure becomes easier and more automated. For example, we recently launched PrivacyChoice Policymaker, a 10-minute guided policy generator for mobile apps. It provides robust first-party privacy policy for the app’s own data collection, but also automatically adds the right disclosure for ad-company tracking. This disclosure includes company-specific opt-outs when available, and can link to any Do Not Track approach that may emerge.

Over time, privacy choices will be embedded more elegantly into mobile apps and operating systems. But as a starting point, every app should have a privacy policy and apps with ads should include robust notice-and-choice for third-party tracking. Ad delivery companies are in the best position to make this happen directly with their publisher clients. If app developers can be asked to take this relatively painless step, choice may even come sooner—and be more meaningful—in mobile apps than it has been so far on the Internet.

About the Author

sp_brock_jim.jpgJim Brock

Jim Brock is Founder and CEO of PrivacyChoice. You can follow him on Twitter @privacychoice.

Continue the discussion on this IAB Ad Ops blog series on Twitter by adding #MeaningfulChoice to your tweets.


davy.jpgLast month the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence launched a new working group focused on identifying, discussing, and (where possible) solving mobile ad operations issues. Tackling the challenges of online ad ops has been one of the IAB’s core priorities over the years—and an area of some of our most important accomplishments. We hope that we can leverage that long experience to help the mobile interactive industry tackle its unique challenges at an accelerated rate.

Working closely with both the Mobile Center and the IAB Ad Ops Council, the Mobile Ad Ops Working Group will help us keep pace with the fast-changing mobile world. I thought the first conversation was great. It uncovered a number of issues that I was aware of, but also some that I’d not really considered. Here is a brief review of some of the topics keeping the mobile ad ops community up at night.

  • Mobile ad serving. I’ve been hearing a lot about the problems that exist around mobile ad serving, particularly mobile rich media and video ads. The IAB’s Mobile Rich-media Ad Interface Definitions (MRAID) is an effort to simplify life for creators of mobile rich media ads. We need to investigate further the state of mobile video serving, including the applicability of the IAB’s existing Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) and Video Player Ad Interface Definitions (VPAID) specs.

  • Discrepancies. A longstanding thorn in the side of interactive advertising, discrepancies are a big problem in mobile impression counting and other measurement as well. The IAB/MMA/MRC guidelines for mobile web ad measurement should help by providing common principles for how to count impressions, but it’s clearly an area where more work is needed. Our group will also explore leveraging the IAB’s Impression Exchange Solution (IES) to help advance the mobile front of the war on discrepancies.

  • HTML5. Many in the industry think HTML5 is going to be sort of a savior, a standard that will make content development much easier across the fragmented landscape of mobile devices. Online ad sellers need to set expectations about how much of a panacea HTML5 will or can be. We can help educate buyers about the when and how of HTML5, too. At the same time, some in the industry are beginning to think about how much HTML5 is going to change not just the mobile web, but the PC web as well.

  • Testing and Validation Challenges. The testing and validation process is always going to be a difficult challenge in mobile—with thousands of devices all potentially behaving slightly differently from one another, it will never be simple. Establishing some best practices around testing and validation, and providing a forum for sharing insights, both came up as helpful steps.

  • Geotargeting. It turns out that when you don’t have access to a handset’s GPS or other location data, geotargeting is problematic, with issues similar to the early days of the web: proxy server locations throw off automated technologies for geotargeting.

  • Educating Agencies. Members of the working group see a strong need for a one-stop place the agency community can go for mobile education in laymen’s terms. They find themselves explaining even basic things, like the MMA ad sizes, and the lack of support for Flash on Apple devices. At the same time there’s a perception that agencies want jump straight to creating the most sophisticated “crazy shaking pouring-the-beer-type” ads.

  • Communicating With Phone Developers/Manufacturers. The other common refrain from the ad ops group was the need for a better dialog with device makers. This is a big challenge, since some of them famously don’t listen to outsiders much.

Of course, some of these challenges are easier to address than others. But all are important, and I’m looking forward to working with our mobile ad ops group, the IAB Ad Ops Council, and the larger community of IAB Mobile Center and Mobile Committee members to develop a game plan and to start to tackle them.

About the Author

sp_laszlo_joe.jpgJoe Laszlo

Joe Laszlo is Deputy Director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, at the IAB.



At Lotame, we’ve spent a lot of time and resources working to provide consumers with meaningful choice when it comes to their data usage in connection with Lotame’s services. And more generally, we have dedicated the lion’s share of our industry-wide collaboration over the past two years to this objective. So, as we motor along on the journey towards an even more data-driven digital future, we need to ask the age-old travel question in relation to our meaningful choice goal: Are we there yet?


In response, I would say “yes” and “not yet.” On the “yes” side, notwithstanding the often sensationalized press stories, steady barrage of advocate criticism, and periodic industry hand-wringing, there are now a plethora of privacy management tools available to consumers willing to invest in evaluating and acting on their choices. The industry has successfully rolled out a sophisticated enhanced notice platform, which is increasingly appearing on display ads around the Internet. This is no small feat given the industry-wide coordination and technical mechanics required to provide granular notice and choice options on a dynamic, standardized basis. In addition to this industry program, several other players in the marketplace offer consumer choice tools ranging from emerging Do-Not-Track options embedded within browsers to a gaggle of new consumer data management services. So if you (as a consumer) want to implement constraints around how your online data is collected, used, and shared, you have the tools available.

On the “not yet” side, we still have a way to go with the self-regulatory program. We need to effectuate much broader adoption and initiate real enforcement actions against companies who don’t comply. A recent study of top websites found that only 11% of ads served by third parties contained the enhanced notice “Ad Choices” icon. Even if industry players debate the methodology of the study, we’ve got to quickly increase that number to demonstrate that the self- regulatory program can be a comprehensive choice solution for consumers. We also need to keep extending the self-regulatory program to apply to all major ad types, including video, rich media, and mobile ads. Of equal importance to the self-regulatory program, we need our industry groups (not just outside “researchers” and advocates) to surface and curtail the atypical, on-the-edge practices that don’t align with industry standard—recent controversies over flash cookies, supercookies, and history-sniffing come to mind—so that consumers, advocates and regulators don’t feel like we are playing a privacy shell game.

Can we get there? I continue to believe we can, led by the new and growing breed of companies offering privacy management tools to both consumers and businesses. As part of getting there, all of us as consumers will also need to accept some responsibility for using the tools available to us and for acknowledging the trade-offs involved when our data is used to improve and subsidize the services from which we benefit. Is new legislation necessary? I don’t think so. I have serious concerns about the unintended consequences that will follow from any government effort to legislate choice mechanisms or further standards. New legislation will shackle a very dynamic and productive industry to backwards-looking technology and standards, putting the brakes on one of the few high-growth sectors in our economy. Imposing regulated restraints on data flow will also serve to artificially lock in an insurmountable lead for the biggest digital players who already sit on mountains of data (think search and social networking) which will ultimately be a disservice to consumers. What about reining in the “edge” practices that keep surfacing? As I said, we as an industry need to take the lead in ferreting these out. And regulators can already act on unfair or deceptive practices that don’t reflect broader industry standards. (I am intrigued by the recent comments from White House official Danny Weitzner about a new approach to implement “privacy law without regulation” which wouldn’t impose additional burdens on businesses with responsible privacy practices, but will need to see more details to understand whether this new approach changes my assessment above.)

Anyone who’s taken a long car trip with kids knows you don’t answer the “Are we there yet?” question just once. In this case, the same dynamic applies. We’ll need to keep asking and answering that question as it relates to meaningful choice and by doing so, we’ll continue to find ways to improve how we educate and empower consumers.

About the Author

sp_lehman_adam.jpgAdam Lehman

Adam Lehman serves as COO of Lotame Solutions. You can connect with him via Twitter @AdamL.

Continue the discussion on this IAB Ad Ops blog series on Twitter by adding #MeaningfulChoice to your tweets.


IAB Ad Operations Summit – Happening Now In New York City

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More than 200 members of the ad ops community are gathered at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City today to take strides in the war on discrepancies.  The presence of so many agencies and publishers—coming together on the stage and in the audience to address cooperatively the vexing issues of ad operations—is a testament to the common commitment to solutions that move the industry forward.


The IAB and its Ad Ops Committee have been working for several years to develop the solutions being discussed today. As one result, this morning the IAB released a series of initiatives designed to transform interactive operations and accelerate growth.


Read the full press release here or the individual documents below.


E-Business Interactive Standards


Interactive Advertising Workflow Best Practices


Digital Video Ad Serving Template (VAST)


Ad Load Performance Best Practices


Best Practices for Rich Media Ads in Asynchronous Environments