Results tagged “Advertising” from IABlog

IAB Standards Reach Japan

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As we hear of increased demand for IAB or IAB-like standards, guidelines and best practices in countries where IAB does not yet have a local IAB operation, we are intentionally seeking ways to engage in meaningful discussions and collaborate on specific initiatives in strategic markets like Japan.  
 
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IAB has been working in close collaboration with D.A. Consortium in Japan for nearly a year. As strong advocates for IAB standards and guidelines, DAC announced its launch of IAB Mobile Rising Stars in Japan and conducted research into their effectiveness in that marketplace. DAC has also translated and published on their subsidiary PlatformOne in Japan the IAB whitepaper “Programmatic and Automation: The Publisher’s Perspective”, part of IAB Digital Simplified Series.
 
Continuing this trend, the DAC team just recently they published a translation of the IAB whitepaper “Privacy and Tracking in a Post-Cookie World”. Click here to view the Japanese version or here for the original English version.

About the Author

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Alexandra Salomon

Alexandra Salomon is the Senior Director, International at the Interactive Advertising Bureau



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At a recent IAB Town Hall gathering supported by the Content Marketing Task Force and Social Media Committee, members met to discuss the rise of visual content marketing as part of the digital communications mix, focusing on the animated GIF.

In an entertaining presentation titled “Moving the Needle: The Power of the Animated GIF for Publishers & Advertisers,” Tumblr’s Creative Technologist Max Sebela presented the history and significance of the GIF as a file format—including its decline in popularity and recent resurgence as a prime communication tool, plus best practices and the “secrets” behind a great GIF. 

“GIFs were the first file format to give color and personality to the Internet, and they’re experiencing an exciting renaissance as an instrumental force in content creation, consumption and cultivating culture on Tumblr and across the web,” said Sebela.  “We’re seeing a pivotal shift in marketers embracing the animation platform to tell compelling brand stories, connect with consumers, and drive engagement and earned media.”

Members were invited to share their perspective on the GIF format as part of their content marketing mix.
Animation credit: Tumblr

Buzzfeed, arguably one of the most prolific GIF users in the publishing world, added:

BuzzFeed2.gif“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a GIF is worth 10,000. GIFs are a mini-vehicle for storytelling, capturing emotions and communicating them in a concise way that words and pictures alone cannot.” -Joe Puglisi, Senior Creative Strategist, Buzzfeed

“People scroll past hundreds of images everyday on the internet without batting an eyelid. An animated element goes a long way towards bringing an idea to life, and turning an ordinary static image into an extraordinary, eye-catching concept. GIFs help us trim the fat and highlight the core emotional truth behind an instance or idea.” -Will Herring, Senior Creative, Buzzfeed


Animation credit: Will Herring, Buzzfeed

According to Sarah Wood, Co-Founder and COO of Unruly

“The GIF has been re-energized as a format, likely tied to the success and emergence of “sugar cube” content on Vine and Instagram Video.  Portable, postable nearly everywhere, featuring fast load times and quirky, jerky looping “video,” the animated GIF, like Vine, is a content gateway.  GIFs and Vines are both low cost forms of content creation that require the barest of tools and enable a new army of content creators to express themselves.  The limitations of these formats only add to the creativity required to make awesome content.  As short as a couple of seconds, the animated GIF broadens the dimensions of the video content spectrum, followed by Vine at 6 seconds, Instagram Video at 15, all the way to the 2-5 minute social videos we’ve seen trend on the Viral Video Chart.  Animated GIFs and Vine require zero budget—and highlight the democratization of online content.  Brands of all sizes can easily use these formats to drive their social conversation with custom content to win the hearts and minds of consumers, and get their feet wet before expanding to longer forms of video.”

Ahalogy’s Raman Sehgal, VP of Client Services, was quick to point out that Pinterest now supports GIFs and offered this suggestion to marketers looking to take advantage of this new content on the visual discovery platform, “When pinning, always remember the consumer context.  Pinterest is not just a social network, but a content discovery tool.  Marketers need to make sure their pinned GIFs add meaningful value for a user, and are in the right brand lens.  Many of our brand clients treat GIFs on Pinterest not as ads, but rather as inspiring short-form stories.”  See an example here.

Demand Media has a dedicated GIF offering for their clients, says Christine Fleming, Senior Director of Content Strategy and Monetization:

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“The intent of our animated GIF offering is to have the best of both worlds: the instructions and the visualization of those instructions, all in one, without having to go back and forth between an article and a video for example.  We’ve seen an increase in CTR (as compared to related articles and videos) by adding GIFs to related content alongside articles.  We create content that meets the needs of people in their everyday lives, so this it’s a perfect format for step by step tasks that require in motion visual instructions, like cooking or fitness or even making a clothespin earbud holder!” 


Animation credit: Demand Media

Lastly, Business Insider shared an example of how they are incorporating GIFs into editorial content to help bring stories to life. Emily Allen, SVP Ad Strategy added, “They’re great for showing short snippets of video and are much more convenient for the reader.  GIFs are more dynamic than photographs.  They offer the same effect as in the Daily Prophet in Harry Potter - except without the magic.”  

From advertising to sponsored content to editorial usage, it is clear that GIFs are an exciting and powerful element in the visual content marketing toolbox for publishers, marketers and agencies alike.  IAB will continue to host sessions where members will share their content marketing best practices for industry gain. 

About the Author

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Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B, Games, Content Marketing and Native Advertising. 
She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst

Make Mobile Work Kicks Off with "HTML5: The Mobile Opportunity"

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In case you haven’t heard - we here at the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence are on the charge to Make Mobile Work this year. Based on our research last year around marketer perceptions of mobile and roadblocks to broader adoption of mobile advertising we’re setting out to show brands and agencies how to overcome these issues (both real and perceived) and start engaging with audiences on all of their devices. 

Our first webinar took place last Tuesday, March 18 and was all about discovering the power of HTML5 to create superior mobile ad creative. More than 150 marketers, agency buyers and publishers joined in to hear the IAB, AOL and Google discuss the importance of mobile advertising and steps to get started using HTML5. The webinar showed the power of HTML5, increased engagement of these ads and a walk through of how one brand started down the path to adjust from a Flash-only strategy. You can view the webinar and accompanying materials here as well as explore upcoming sessions on Make Mobile Work.

To keep the conversation going, Mollie Spilman, EVP Global Sales & Operations at Millennial Media, one of the original signatories of our Open Letter to Marketers, shared the following findings:

Millennial Media HTML5 Report
Through the use of rich media, agencies and brands are creating clear, meaningful experiences for their audiences. They’re going beyond the banner to leverage unique features such as gamification, swipe galleries, voice recognition, video, and more - and seeing the benefits in spades. 

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In our latest Millennial Media S.M.A.R.T., we report on the impact rich media and video ads have on click-through rate (CTR) vs. standard banners. Automotive rich media and video ads, for example, saw an average of 3.5 times the CTR of standard banners. We’ve found that automotive advertisers often use video in their campaigns to show in-action driving, or dynamic ads that allow a consumer to swipe through different vehicle models or colors. Rich media and video ads run by education advertisers also saw 3.5 times greater CTR than standard banners. These brands incorporate animation, short quizzes, and video to get consumers thinking about their learning needs and resulting careers. Similarly, consumer goods’ rich media and video ads saw an average of 2.6 times the CTR compared to standard banner ads. Consumer goods advertisers tend to use video and interactive games to drive brand awareness.

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EY (Formerly Ernst & Young) is one company taking its brand awareness to the next level through rich media. In an effort to stay top of mind for - and appeal to - business and accounting majors interested in post-grad entry level positions, EY tapped Millennial Media and Mediahub/Mullen to craft an interactive, highly-targeted campaign. The creative teams collaborated on a strategy to take the main pillar of EY’s campaign, “Amazing from every angle,” and turn the messaging into an engaging experience that allowed mobile users to choose from a selection of origami figures and create them virtually through their smartphones’ touch screen. To ensure the creative reached the most relevant audience, Millennial Media also added deployed geo-location targeting capabilities to pinpoint, within two miles, the 57 pre-selected university campuses.
Rich media capabilities will continue to evolve as mobile devices evolve - but don’t wait! Creative teams are pushing the limits of mobile, much to the benefit and satisfaction of advertisers and consumers. 




About the Authors


sp_smith_belinda_100x134.jpgBelinda J. Smith

Belinda J. Smith is Senior Manager of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the Interactive Advertising Bureau



Mollie Spilman_Millennial Media.jpgMollie Spilman

Mollie Spilman is EVP of Global Sales & Operations at Millennial Media




So Why Aren’t You Supporting SafeFrame?


Last year, IAB issued an industry-wide call to replace all iFrames used in digital advertising with SafeFrames. We did so, fully understanding the enormity of the work that would be required of publishers to re-tag an estimated 60% of the Internet—not a trivial task. SafeFrame is a new ad serving technology standard developed to enhance in-vivo communication between digital ads and the publisher pages where those ads are displayed, all while maintaining strict security controls.  As we approach the one year anniversary of SafeFrame’s release (March 19th) I think it’s fair to state that, while industry adoption is chugging along, it could be better. SafeFrame_Link_new.jpg

One notable early adopter of SafeFrame is Yahoo. Today a majority of Yahoo’s display advertising inventory is served in SafeFrames (that’s billions of impressions every day!) - and Yahoo is actively pushing towards a 100% deployment goal. To be fair to those still in the process of implementing SafeFrame, Yahoo co-led the industry initiative, along with Microsoft and IAB, to make SafeFrame an advertising standard. Nevertheless, to call Yahoo’s contribution to SafeFrame notable is really an understatement.

Since its release last year, a working group at IAB has been focused on tearing down barriers to SafeFrame adoption. The most cited of which has been the need for support by rich media vendors—an understandable barrier to those who comprehend the technical underpinnings of the digital supply chain. We realized early on that we were in a chicken-and-egg conundrum with respect to SafeFrame adoption—without dedicated support from rich media vendors, who package ad creative for trafficking across a variety of publisher sites, neither advertisers nor publishers would be particularly incented to adopt SafeFrame.

Yahoo stepped up to help the industry address the SafeFrame adoption challenge. Yahoo worked closely with top rich media vendors to get SafeFrame off the sidelines and into production environments globally. As a result of Yahoo’s leadership and efforts, 23 rich media vendors now support SafeFrame (see list of vendors.)

With this significant barrier removed, it’s time for those who have been on the sidelines to take action. And with Google’s update to DFP due to support SafeFrame in the first half of 2014, there should be no doubt that this new technology standard is here to stay.

Finally, what most people don’t know about SafeFrame: it’s not just about viewable impressions. Sure, SafeFrame provides publishers, marketers and third-party ad verification services a simple, transparent, standards-based and cost-free API for determining an ad’s viewability state. And with all the deserved attention 3MS (Making Measurement Make Sense) has brought to viewable this past year, it’s no wonder that folks have honed in on this key feature of SafeFrame. So, while SafeFrame helps to solve for viewability measurement, it can do so much more.  

Think of SafeFrame as an extensible technology platform that can be used to solve for many issues confronting our digital supply chain. To name a few, SafeFrame already supports programmatic sale of expanding rich media, sharing of metadata, enhanced consumer security and privacy controls, enhanced publisher security and the prevention of cookie bombing. With more SafeFrame features currently in the development pipeline, we see SafeFrame as a base standard that will be extended in ways we have yet to conceive. Simply stated, SafeFrame is the new container tag for digital advertising: it solves many of the digital supply chain issues we face today as digital advertisers and publishers, and is extensible to solve tomorrow’s problems too.

To learn more about why your company should be supporting SafeFrame, we’ve made it simple, with easy to understand educational materials for the marketplace, including an educational video, a feature comparison chart of ad trafficking methods, and an extensive FAQ

About the Author



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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.
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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 iab.net/iabu.

And with that…

 About the Author


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IAB University - A Place For Learning

| | Comments
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.
iabu.jpg
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 iab.net/iabu.

And with that…

 About the Author


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IAB Launches Digital Advertising Regulation 101 Guide

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Are you familiar with Section 5 of the FTC Act?   Do you know how the government enforces its privacy laws?  What are the important state and federal laws that are relevant to your business model?

 Historically, the U.S approach to regulating privacy has been largely sectorial, meaning that there are a number of laws in place that address individual industries (e.g., healthcare or financial services) versus the far more comprehensive approach taken by the European Union.

To provide digital advertisers with a basic working knowledge of the current privacy laws applicable to the industry, the IAB has created a Digital Advertising Regulation 101 resource

This guide is for those with a limited understanding of current privacy law who are looking to learn a little bit more about the U.S.’s basic approach to these issues.  It is not meant to provide extensive detail into legislative histories or prognosticate on the outcome of pending privacy cases winding their way through the courts, but instead to give those new to the world of privacy a lay of the land.  

The guide covers all facets of digital advertising regulation.  It explains the basic rules that businesses need to follow, outlines both federal and state regulation, and provides summaries of sector-specific rules pertinent to digital advertising (all linking out to further information for those interested in delving deeper into a certain topic).  

This new resource is a supplement to the IAB’s Legislative and Regulatory Tracker that went online in October of last year.  It is meant to provide a general overview of the policies already in place, while the Legislative Tracker shows up-to-date developments on individual pieces of pending legislation in the context of digital advertising.

About the Author

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Stephen Hicks

Since February 2009, Hicks has served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Ziff Davis, LLC. and its predecessor. Hicks is co-chair of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) legal affairs committee. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Hicks served as General Counsel and Secretary for: MTM Technologies Inc. a publicly traded IT services provider and product resller; OutlookSoft Corp. a VC backed international financial software corporation acquired by SAP; and AMICAS Inc. (formerly VitalWorks) a publicly traded medical software corporation. Hicks also worked on the executive staff of Dennis Vacco, the New York State Attorney General; and was an associate at a New York law firm.
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Demand for programmatic buying in mobile has skyrocketed in 2013. At the IAB, we saw this trend unfolding and launched the Mobile Programmatic Buying Working Group, led by Joe Laszlo as staff manager and Victor Milligan of Nexage as chair, to address this rapid growth and the unique aspects of mobile programmatic. As the working group’s leaders, we co-wrote this post to outline some of the key takeaways from the group’s conversations, and share our thoughts for 2014.

While there are certainly similarities between PC and mobile programmatic, the differences warrant a working group dedicated to mobile. These differences are critical design points for publishers, exchanges, buyers, agencies, and advertisers, and include:

  • Mobile’s unique and massive applications and game ecosystem
  • Mobile’s data model that is built absent a universal, persistent third-party cookie
  • Mobile’s unique targetable data including location (notably lat/long), mobile OS (iOS and Android), carrier, connection type, and device types.
  • Mobile’s form factor and the importance of creative that is optimized for smartphones and tablets

The Mobile Programmatic Buying Working Group brings together 40 individuals at a diverse array of IAB member companies with a shared interest in how programmatic is evolving in mobile and how the IAB can help members understand and fully capitalize on programmatic.

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Takeaways 

The group’s first task was to organize the broad concept called programmatic and focus on those items important—and unique—to mobile. 

Given that programmatic has come onto the digital landscape quickly and that programmatic itself describes a family of technologies, we needed to itemize and define the different programmatic markets. Aligned with the IAB Programmatic Publishers Task Force, we identified four types of marketplaces:

  • Automated Guaranteed (reserved inventory at a fixed price, just transacted via an exchange, also known as programmatic reserved or guaranteed)
  • Unreserved Fixed Rate (unreserved inventory at a fixed price, also known as preferred deals or first right of refusal)
  • Invitation-Only Auction (unreserved inventory sold at auction, but to a select number of potential bidders, commonly referred to private marketplace or exchange); and
  • Open Auction (unreserved inventory sold at auction, to any bidder, usually using real-time bidding [RTB]).

Although the world of ad exchanges (in both PC and mobile) started with a largely open auction model, other models such as various forms of invitation-only auctions like exclusive or first-look private exchanges have generated a great deal of interest from publishers and buyers alike. A recent analytics report from Nexage describes trending in programmatic and the extraordinary uptake in private exchanges, as publishers and buyers become more comfortable and adept at using private exchanges to accelerate their businesses.  

The task force then began to discuss key mobile programmatic issues that will guide our work. Examples include:

  • The data model: The lack of cookies in mobile has an impact across most elements of programmatic buying. Because third-party cookies are not typically available, mobile ad inventory relies on proprietary means of targeting, tracking, and accountability, which aren’t always articulated clearly to buyers. Nexage views exchanges in all their various manifestations as serving as a critical integration point between first-party data (e.g., from the publisher/network/inventory owner), brands’ CRM data, and third-party data. 
  • Targetable data: There are a number of data types that apply in mobile that don’t have PC analogs, including location, operating system, carrier, network connection (wifi, 3G, 4G, etc.), and even handset maker/device model.  Some of the parameters, are sometimes considered complicating aspects of mobile fragmentation, but they can be better seen as methods for better targeting in an exchange setting, providing a valuable proxy for consumer demographics (e.g., iPhone users are different from Android users).

  • Transparency: Ensuring that programmatic is not a black box but a clear box where transparency aids impression level decisioning is a priority. For example, latitude/longitude (lat/long) is a critical parameter for hyperlocal campaigns, but not all lat/long data are created equal. Some are GPS derived, but others are derived from zip code or post code, called centroid lat/long, which are far less precise. Some exchanges already have business controls to enable buyers to know which is which and target and price accordingly.

Looking Forward

Across both PC and mobile, programmatic is shifting from a disruptive force to a valuable (and necessary) solution connecting ad buyers with desired ad opportunities. As we get into 2014, we have several ambitions for our working group:

  • Analyze the issues related to mobile programmatic’s unique factors to help members best understand and capitalize on the opportunity.
  • Provide input to the IAB’s other programmatic efforts, making sure that mobile’s unique aspects are represented.
  • Continue to serve as a forum for exchanging experiences and sharing knowledge.
  • Start collecting emerging good or best practices and case studies to illuminate what is working for buyers and sellers alike. 
  • Organize an industry town hall conversation to help disseminate our learning to marketers and agencies that need it.

It’s been an exciting year for mobile programmatic buying, and next year promises to be even more so. We’re looking forward to kicking the Mobile Programmatic Working Group into high gear, addressing challenges and ensuring continued growth for everyone.

About the Authors 


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

Victor Milligan
Victor Milligan is the CMO of Nexage where he leads all marketing and analytic functions. Twitter: @vtmilligan.
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A Conversation with James O’Neill, VP, Director of Interactive Media at RJ Palmer, and Diaz Nesamoney, CEO of Jivox.

The increasing capabilities of digital advertising formats provide new opportunities for marketers to engage prospects and turn them into customers. Central to this endeavor are advertising agencies who translate brand objectives into effective communications programs. Just as important, these agencies also provide the bridge to the most appropriate and effective digital execution technologies to optimize client return on investment. Given the scope and speed of change, the importance of the partnerships between agencies and technology providers cannot be underestimated. It takes close collaboration between marketer, agency, and technology partners to get the most out of digital advertising. 

One such example is the collaboration between RJ Palmer, a leading agency and member of the MDC family, and Jivox, a cross-screen interactive ad platform company and winner of the IAB Digital Video Rising Stars competition. IAB asked James O’Neill (JO), VP, Director of Interactive Media at RJ Palmer, and Diaz Nesamoney (DN), CEO of Jivox, to elaborate on this partnership.

IAB: The team at RJ Palmer were early adopters of the Digital Video Rising Stars. How did you bring this about?

(JO) Many of our clients have a high level of comfort with video being the dominant focal point of their interactive plans.  Since we have been trying to accomplish additional engagement and social interaction goals via various avenues, it serves us well to embed that functionality into the tactic on which clients focus most.

IAB: How have these formats worked for RJ Palmer clients?

(JO) These units have worked really well for us because they continue to realize not only the primary purpose of video - reach, comparable to how television is measured - but also the supplemental benefit of aiding in the achievement of social and engagement milestones.

IAB Full Player Digital Video Rising Star - Zicam demo (courtesy Jivox)

IAB:  What have you learned from your early experiences, and what advice would you give to other agencies considering in-stream interactive digital video advertising?

(JO) The biggest realization has been in the positioning of the performance. When all stakeholders are on board with a campaign’s primary focus and all else is complementary, no one is underwhelmed with what may seem like a low performance for specific interactions. For example, if additional interaction includes a coupon print, no one should compare the number or cost of the coupon prints to a digital consumer promotions campaign with Coupons Inc.; that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.

(DN) We have learned that less is more - greater user engagement comes not from overloading the ad with lots of buttons and interactions but rather from providing a meaningful set of options with which the user can engage and then leading them into a further immersive experience rather than overwhelming them with choices. We have to keep in mind that the video is the main creative asset, so we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

IAB: How do you measure success with these Digital Video Rising Stars formats?

(JO) Success of these formats still relies on the primary metric of video views but involves more nuances, with engagement rates acting as the differentiator between in-market or interested parties. For example, if reach is the same, wouldn’t a particular execution demonstrate greater value if it proved that the consumers were more likely to engage?

(DN) We use engagement rates measured as the number of times users interacted with the interactive elements in the ads. This is often coupled with engagement time - which measures how much time the user spent engaging with the ad experience. Both of these measures show value in interactive video as a way of creating greater user engagement. 

IAB: All digital display and mobile advertising is interactive, at least via a click-thru, yet the majority of digital video advertising is still not interactive. How do you see this changing?

(JO) I think the death of the click-thru as a primary metric is the reason that digital video is not interactive. The community views digital video more akin to TV, which isn’t interactive at all, so the interactivity and engagement shows no immediate benefit under this construct. In a black-and-white world, splashes of color do nothing until we start applying value to the color.

(DN) We think digital video is where display banners were 10 years ago. The first generation of banners looked much like their newspaper classified ad counterparts, i.e. static and non-interactive. They have, of course, since evolved to where now 40% of banners are rich interactive ads. With digital video, the number is something like 15% of ads being interactive; video ads are still generating high engagement rates even without being interactive, but once we start getting the equivalent of video ad blindness, we will probably see more rich interactive video ads as a way to make them stand out. 

IAB: What technical or operational issues did you have to overcome to launch these campaigns?

(JO) There’s a great deal of inherent risk when suggesting activations like this from a media perspective because we don’t hold the keys to creative assets or thinking. It takes a degree of loosening the grip of control of the process, from both the creative and media sides, to deal with this type of activation.

(DN) The varying sizes of video players - ranging from full-episode, TV-like video players to small players that are banner ad sized - posed a bit of a challenge to delivering creative that looked good regardless of the player size. We developed a “responsive” layout model similar to that used by mobile ads, in that our platform automatically selects a correctly sized layout to match the size of the video player. VPAID support by publishers was also a bit of limiting factor, but that has since largely been addressed now, with most publishers supporting VAST and VPAID standards for interactive video.

About the Author

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Peter Minnium 


As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.
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The just-completed IAB MIXX Conference & Expo 2013 themed “Advertising is__________?,” explored the changing definition of advertising, with the two days focused on showcasing competing points of view, highlighting their differences, and looking for points of commonality. As part of this debate, the IAB convened a discussion on “Native Advertising: Fact and Fiction,” with the similar goal of creating a framework for understanding this hot new concept.

This session complements the work of the IAB Native Advertising Task Force, a group of companies 80+ members strong who are working to establish a framework for the native advertising space by putting forth a prospectus that clearly lays out today’s “native” landscape. This prospectus, targeted to advertisers, publishers, and ad tech providers, will provide a focused, guiding light to the industry while being broad enough that it can expand over time. In addition, it will provide a basis for further IAB initiatives in this space.

While the Task Force plans to publish their work in the fourth quarter, the IAB MIXX session attendees were given a sneak peak and chance to comment on the Task Force’s early findings. A panel of industry stakeholders led the feedback: Task Force Co-chair Patrick Albano, Vice President, Sales, Yahoo!; Steve Kondonijakos, Sr. Marketing Director, Federated Media; Stacy Minero, Leader, Content Marketing, Mindshare; Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist, Edelman; and Geoff Schiller, Chief Sales Officer, Hearst Digital.

The session kicked off with a discussion of the duality of “native advertising,” with the concept encompassing both an aspiration as well as a suite of ad products.  On the one hand, we all aspire to deliver “paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated with the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”  On the other, tactically, advertisers must use ad products to achieve this, and the IAB Native Task Force has identified six categories commonly used today in pursuit of this goal:

1. Search Units, e.g. 
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2. Promoted Listings, e.g.:
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3. Recommended Content Units, e.g.:
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4. In-Feed Ads, e.g.:
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5. In-Ad (IAB Standard) Units, e.g.:
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6. Custom, e.g.:
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The group discussed at length the core dimensions of ads that feel native, including form, the extent to which the ad fits with the overall page design; function, how well the ad matches the editorial feel of the content in which it is nested; and technology, the degree to which the viewer can treat the ad like they can any other content on the site.  Amid a spirited debate, consensus is emerging that you can achieve a native experience through three, two, or even one of these, depending on the site, brand message, and audience mix. 

There was a great deal of enthusiasm in the room about the unique benefits that the advent of “native” has brought to display advertising. First and foremost, display advertising has been freed from the “ad ghetto” of the right rail and leaderboard to which it has long been confined and now has license to settle anywhere on the page. The horse is now out of the barn, and advertising will not be forced back into solely those positions. A corollary benefit of this move is getting advertising into the user’s natural activity stream—where print and TV advertising have always been. Allowing the viewer to interact further without leaving the site is much preferred to clicking through to a new website.  Finally, “native” is decidedly and overwhelmingly a form of brand advertising, a category that display has long fought with marginal success to conquer.

The lively conversation provided useful feedback to the IAB Native Task Force. Audience members encouraged the IAB to find the right balance between standardization and customization—giving enough firm guidance to help make the market, but not too much to stifle it—while best practices around disclosure were also highlighted as a need. 

Have we answered the question, “Native Advertising is__________?” The IAB Native Task Force and feedback for the IAB MIXX session clearly show that there is real agreement around what it is not: a single, uni-dimensional ad product. Rather, it is an end goal—an aspiration—that folks seek to attain via a number of paid advertising tactics. The IAB Native Task Force will absorb the advice and carry forward the enthusiasm of the IAB MIXX session as it works to publish the IAB Native Prospectus that details these principles in the fourth quarter.

About the Author
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 Peter Minnium


As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.

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IAB releases Publisher’s perspectives on programmatic as first part in educational series

Programmatic buying and selling of advertising, real-time  bidding, and marketing automation is changing the way we transact digital media. Though numbers are very sketchy, by some accounts over 20% of all digital advertising is sold “programmatically” - and it’s growing rapidly. 

Programmatic-IAB_RTB.jpgYet programmatic competes with Native advertising for the title of “Buzzword of 2013”.  And the hyperbole couldn’t be more extreme. Concerns are rampant. Sales people are worried about becoming obsolete, losing their jobs to machines, and declining yields. Some buyers of digital media are worried that only crappy inventory is available programmatically. Aside from perhaps the ad tech community, there’s a great deal of smiling and nodding going on when people talk about the importance of programmatic, and not a lot of understanding. Ad agencies are worried that automation will mean standardization and less of a role for creativity and creatives.  On the other side, many see new technological innovation as the source of great potential value - creating significant efficiencies, new markets, and continuing to drive advertising dollars to digital.

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There is significant confusion in the marketplace around the meaning of terms like “programmatic”, “RTB”, “programmatic direct”, “programmatic premium”, and other verbiage, often being used interchangeably. New technologies are emerging which are creating significant value, but there is also a lack of clear technical standards to ensure interoperability across different platforms. Buyers and sellers are concerned with the limited transparency and number of vendors involved in the programmatic transaction.  And programmatic raises internal, organizational challenges for brands and agencies, and particularly for publishers with their existing direct sales teams and incentives.

Agencies and their clients have a lot to lose if programmatic isn’t implemented coherently: a set of technologies that aim to create market efficiencies could, instead, create a fragmented, illiquid marketplace if each media agency insists on creating its own proprietary marketplace with its own standards and its own technologies.

In the spirit of creating value for the entire marketplace and driving advertising dollars to digital, the IAB is working to tackle many of these challenges. Today it is releasing Digital Simplified: Programmatic and Automation - The Publishers’ Perspective,  the first in a new IAB educational series that offers easy-to-understand documents for the industry.  The piece aims to provide clarity, from the publishers’ perspective, on the different “programmatic” transaction types.  It outlines the four main ways of buying and selling “programmatically” and provides a clear framework for distinguishing between them.  It also highlights other factors commonly associated with each of these types of “programmatic” selling.

This is the first output of a newly created IAB Programmatic Publishers Task Force, chaired by Alanna Gombert, Senior Director Programmatic and Trading at Condé Nast and formerly of Ad Meld and Google.  The new Task Force is aimed at providing premium publishers a forum to come together to work on issues related to the programmatic agenda and how it impacts them.  Its goal is to help publishers establish market clarity and education around the programmatic ecosystem - both internally and externally. Barely a month after its launch there are now over 30 premium publishers participating in this initiative and the list is growing. In addition to working on clarity around definitions and terminology, the group is also working on issues around transparency across the value chain and sales force organizational issues.

The Programmatic Publishers Task Force is a key part of the overall IAB programmatic agenda.  This agenda focuses on firstly identifying and addressing the key business issues in the programmatic landscape, and secondly working on technical standards and implementation of standards to address these issues.   On the business side, in addition to its work with publishers, the IAB, in conjunction with The Winterberry Group, is conducting a thought-leadership research study to provide an effective roadmap to “programmatic” capabilities based on surveys and interviews with its members, to be released by the end of 2013. It is also working on mobile specific programmatic issues.  On the technical side, it is working on both digital automation implementation and open RTB standards.

For more information on the IAB’s work on programmatic marketing please go to iab.net/programmatic or contact Carl Kalapesi (below).

About the Author

Carl-Kalapesi-Bio-Picture-June-2013.jpgCarl Kalapesi is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) focusing on Programmatic, Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG) and brand safety, performance marketing, networks & exchanges and multicultural.  He can be reached on Twitter @carlkalapesi or via email at at [email protected].

Consumers are listening to more audio content than ever using an array of devices from computers to smartphones to connected stereos and cars, but audio advertising still only makes up a miniscule portion of digital ad dollars. Standardization and education are required for this to change and that’s what the IAB Audio Committee’s work is focused on.

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Advertisers, agencies and digital audio publishers gathered recently for the IAB Digital Audio Agency Day at Pandora HQ in Oakland to learn from industry experts about the future of digital audio and why it needs be included in their media buys. Kurt Hanson, CEO of AccuRadio, presented a history of the radio industry and his predictions for the future, to a stellar panel on the Connected Car with representatives from Spotify, Aha Radio at Harman International, TuneIn and Slacker (left picture). The ever-entertaining Norm Pattiz, Chairman of PodcastOne/Launchpad Media (right picture), proclaimed that podcasts are the future of digital audio.

One common theme has become clear: in order for the digital audio industry to scale, fragmentation at the technology layer must be overcome. Dean Mandel, Vice President of Broadcast Services at PROXi Digital (Formally Katz360) and active participant of the IAB Audio Ad Serving Template Spec Working Group, outlines the three key challenges that the IAB’s Audio committee is currently working to address: 

1. Digital audio ads are being bought by both traditional radio buyers and digital buyers, and both types of buyers need a way to accurately measure delivery of their campaigns. 

Radio buyers are used to “posting” their campaigns based on Arbitron ratings. However, since digital audio is technically online, there is a need for reporting equivalent metrics to other online campaigns. Online buyers are used to providing third-party tags like Dart For Advertisers (DFA) and using specifications like the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) to track their digital display and video campaigns.  Similar standards must be developed and adopted by the digital audio industry.

2. The fact that audio ad units don’t have a visual component makes the use of a “tracking pixel” unpractical.  

One workaround for tracking audio ad units is to apply a third-party tag (in the form of a 1x1 pixel) to a companion display banner (a visual component to an audio ad), but not all audio devices have the visual interface necessary to fire a pixel. Accordingly, some advertisers have chosen to only serve audio ads in environments where a companion banner is served, yet in doing so, they are missing a large potential audience.  

We must find a better way to track the audio ad unit itself; a way that proves whether the ad has played, how much of the ad was played and any other possible interactions the user may make with the audio ad unit.

3. Several digital audio ad serving companies have developed proprietary methods to apply third-party tracking tags to audio, but there is a need to standardize this technology across the audio marketplace. 

The IAB Digital Audio Committee has launched a working group that includes several thought leaders in the streaming-audio industry who are addressing this task.  Over the past several months this group has begun the development of an ad serving template specification for audio ads similar to VAST for digital video. Once this important specification work is complete and adopted throughout the marketplace, media buyers will be able to easily run and track digital audio ads in a consistent manner across multiple platforms, similar to the way they do today with other digital platforms, allowing for growth in the digital audio market. 

IAB is excited to lead the effort to standardize the delivery of streaming audio advertising in order to ensure that advertisers, agencies and audio publishers may all share in the continued growth of the audio industry.

Stay tuned (pun intended!) for more to come on this topic.

About the Authors
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Dean Mandel
Dean Mandel is Vice President, Broadcast Services, PROXi Digital (Formerly Katz360). Dean was one of the founding members of Katz360 and has been helping the industry to monetize streaming audio for over 6 years.  He currently works with audio and video technology partners and content providers to help the streaming sales efforts for the Katz Media Group sellers. He can be reached on Twitter @deanmandel.

Leigh Ferreira
Leigh Ferreira is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and oversees the Digital Audio, Digital Video and ITV Committees. She can be reached on Twitter at @leighleighsf.
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Despite my silent goal to never again take a multiple-choice exam post college, I found myself on July 31st at the NetCom testing center on West 33rd, preparing to take the IAB Digital Media Sales Certification exam.

The IAB launched this training program over a year ago to help increase the knowledge of digital sales professionals. As a marketing exec at PulsePoint, a data-driven content technology provider, I considered myself lucky to take the exam alongside our entire salesforce. In an effort to continue to adopt and help drive industry best practices, our SVP of Sales, John Ruvolo, instated the requirement that all sales support teams - sellers, client services, account managers, ad operations, and marketing - successfully complete the training and obtain certification.  Now, I must admit - having to carve out time to study on top of the daily grind was a challenge, but as I started digesting the impressive body of study preparation materials created by the IAB, I found myself happy to do so.   

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I have worked my entire professional life in the digital media space and truly appreciate that the IAB has provided a training program that deepens my understanding of our industries ever-changing processes, rules and regulations, best practices, definitions and of course…all those acronyms.  Our space evolves at a dizzying pace to (try to) stay ahead of the mind-blowing technology being created every day. Chrome TV, one-click mobile payments, location sharing apps…it’s enough to make you seriously consider one of those ‘digital detox’ retreats. But without that evolution, without the constant influx of fresh ideas and new ways of connecting consumers to an amazing online experience, it would not be the exciting and fulfilling environment so many of us call home every day.

It has been common practice to learn and grow alongside all of this change through a mix of self-education and information sharing amongst colleagues, partners, and friends.  What a relief to have a trusted, accredited program led by our industry body that helps to educate and benchmark our top professionals against rigorous industry standards.  We finally have proof that we know what we are talking about…well, most of the time.

This IAB Certification process is something that digital execs across all business channels of our industry should undergo. I am proud that PulsePoint has embraced the program and offered it to employees beyond direct sellers; we are already exploring ways to incorporate this into all new hire training. Activating this program at the sales level of an organization and beyond can also impact future hiring decisions. It enables us to narrow candidate searches to only the best, most qualified applicants and allows us have even more faith that our teams are making the most educated decisions possible.

In order for digital media to continue being one of the most sought-after industries to work within, we must take responsibility to ensure that those dedicating their livelihood to it have the right tools to be as successful as possible. The IAB has taken great strides in creating a framework within which this critical professional development can happen, and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow.

About the Author

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Lindsay Boesen 

Lindsay Boesen is Director of Marketing at PulsePoint, and on Twitter @PulsePointBuzz.

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For marketers just getting their feet wet in mobile, it can be hard to understand return on investment. At the macro level, spending on mobile advertising is booming (new research from IAB and IAB Europe pegs mobile ad revenue at $8.9 Billion USD worldwide in 2012). However, an overly narrow view risks undervaluing the benefits that mobile advertising brings. That’s why we are pleased to unveil the newest IAB Mobile Center web tool: Mobile Value.

Mobile Value enables a holistic view of the multi-channel impact of mobile advertising.  Our calculator consists of a series of simple, fill-in-the-blank web-based forms that invite marketers to input basic data from a recent (or ongoing) campaign—no names or details needed. 

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The Mobile Value tool incorporates five key mobile value-drivers:

  • Calls
  • App downloads
  • Cross device purchases
  • Mobile site visits
  • In-store sales

Of course, not all of these will apply to all campaigns or all marketers, but completing a full circuit of the tool’s components results in a calculation that demonstrates, in dollars and cents, the value a marketer derives from its mobile ad investment.

Complementing each component is a set of measurement tips to help a marketer find (or estimate) the data they need, along with case studies that drive home how each of these components contributes to the total return from mobile advertising.

We’d like to thank our friends at Google for their help creating this tool, and we hope that marketers find it a useful compass as they navigate mobile’s waters!

About the Author 

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Joe Laszlo


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

I am not a native advertising expert, but I am an ad pro—and I know bad advertising when I see it. Just because an ad is designed specially to fit on a digital content page, I am not giving it a pass on quality. The truth is that most all so-called “native advertising” is crap.  To be fair, most all advertising is quality-challenged, including offline and on. This is the main problem we should all be working to address.

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How? Here are my three golden rules for all advertising, native or not. Respect this holy trinity to be effective.

1. Make it Relevant.  We know more about each specific page viewer and the content on that page than ever before, yet digital advertising feels even less relevant to me than traditional does. I know I will see car related ads in car magazines, but what ad content I can expect when online seems almost entirely random (I’m excluding the perversely persistent re-targeting which is rarely really relevant). While the potential for relevance is greater than ever, so too are the challenges given digital fragmentation.  It is hard, but difficulty is not an acceptable excuse.

2. Make it Great. Content is still king. We forget this way too often when mesmerized by our data and technology.  These things do not scale ads—great ideas do.  “Great” here can mean abundant utility, entertainment, or information, among other things. This is not a judgment call—an ad earns this grade if viewers interact with it and we have the ability to precisely measure this (and it ain’t via clicks).

3. Place it in the User’s Activity Flow.  And, the corollary, allow the same user interactions as on the content part of the page.  TV and print got this right from the start with ads integrated into the viewer’s activity stream. Commercial breaks and full page ads are known and accepted by consumers as part of the overall content experience. They may not be liked, but the value exchange is recognized by all.  In the digital world, it was decided long ago to put the ads on the periphery of the action. Also at present, viewers have extremely limited options to interact with ads on the page. The sole choice of click-through or not is hopelessly inadequate in this regard. We need to change this to allow users to do within the ads what they have become accustomed to doing outside of them. This is beginning to change with things like the IAB Rising Stars and is a major benefit of many other native ad formats.

Good advertising has the ability to transform businesses and transfix consumers—no matter what form it takes. Let’s move past debating the format and put our collective efforts on realizing the long touted, yet rarely delivered, promise of digital advertising by making better ads. 

About the Author 
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Peter Minnium

As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.

If you believe digital display advertising is dead, you’ve misunderstood the Internet. It is in fact, alive and well. It has evolved and consistently grown over time. 

Here are 10 facts about banner advertising that may surprise you:

1. Display/Banner ad revenues grew to $3.6 billion in HY 2012, up 11% from HY 2011. (IAB/PwC)

2. 80% of brand marketers increased their display ad budgets or kept at same level in 2012. (Digiday/Vizu)

3. Banner ad spending will rise from $8.68 billion in 2012 to $11.29 billion in 2016. (eMarketer)

4. Banner ads are 1.5x more effective in raising product awareness to consumers than direct mail. (Nielsen)

5. Nearly 6 trillion display ad impressions were delivered across the web in 2012. (comScore)

6. 75% of users remember the brand after viewing an online banner ad. (Dynamic Logic MarketNorms database /Millward Brown Digital)

7. Clicks don’t matter anymore. Online advertisers are embracing a viewable impressions standard that helps brands make sure their ads are seen by publishers. (Making Measurement Make Sense).

8. The new IAB Standard Ad Portfolio is 70% new. The 468x60 display banner and 10 other units have actually been retired since 2011. (IAB)

9. The new display ad units are effective. Users are 2.5x more likely to interact with a Rising Stars display ad unit than a legacy IAB ad unit and spend 2x as much time interacting with the ad. (IAB / IPG MediaLab/Moat)

10. The Rising Stars display formats have already been adopted on 5 continents and in more than 35 countries. (IAB)

The digital world is changing, led by IAB — in innovative brand and measurement units fit for the ecosystem we now live in: a new, cross screen, interactive display reality.

About the Author

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 Peter Minnium

 As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.

Images - ever a staple of the web and still worth a thousand words - have taken on increased significance due in large part to the explosion of cameras on mobile devices and the popularity of social imaging sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Yet, with seemingly every inch of web page real estate already monetized, it is surprising that most publishers haven’t unlocked the revenue potential of images. 

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However, thanks to the advent of image-based advertising and the efforts of a few IAB member companies, including GumGum, Luminate, Stipple and Vibrant Media that is changing, and quickly. Growing interest in the revolutionary advertising format led these four category leaders to form an exploratory Image-Based Advertising Task Force as part of the IAB Networks & Exchanges Committee.

Image-based advertising, also known as in-image advertising, uses image recognition and contextual advertising technology to identify image content and context, thereby allowing advertisers to serve relevant ads and embedded links to more information or e-commerce opportunities directly over a related image. Early indications from advertisers are that engagement and brand metrics exceed those of standard ad formats, and publishers are happy to generate incremental revenue that coincides with a good user experience.

The primary goals of the Image-Based Advertising Task Force are to quantify the market size and potential and to educate advertisers and publishers about guidelines for using the new format. In the coming weeks, look for the group to publish an image-based advertising buyer’s guide that will include definitions and distinctions between the providers. In the coming months, the task force plans to host training events and webinars to better acquaint the industry with this exciting new display advertising format.  Who knows?  Perhaps an IAB standard for image-based advertising isn’t far behind. 

About the Author
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Tony Winders
Tony Winders is a member of the IAB Networks & Exchanges Committee and Senior Vice President of Marketing for GumGum, the premium in-image advertising platform for publishers and brands, where he leads the company’s positioning strategy, product marketing and communications. He can be reached on Twitter @tonywinders.
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For those who have been out of the IAB news loop, last week we held our Annual Leadership Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.  It was an intense, jam-packed few days.  One of the highlights for me was that I got to be a “provocateur” in a Town Hall-style break out session we held on mobile monetization, called “Are Mobile Pennies Inevitable? The Challenge of Mobile Monetization.”  Under the able moderation of Chris LaSala of Google and Cary Tilds of GroupM, participants jumped in to a lively series of discussions about the challenges facing mobile advertising today, and how we—the industry and the IAB—can contribute to solving them.

We started by enumerating and prioritizing the problems:  according to a Kleiner Perkins study, mobile revenue is something like 75 cents per user as compared to $3.50 per user on desktop. 

Most of the mobile problems we came up with are familiar ones:

·        1. Lack of knowledge about how to measure

·         2. Too much complexity (HTML5 v Flash, varied screen sizes, etc)

·         3. Creatives hate it:  too small, too fragmented

·         4. Standardization is needed

·         And so on….

But the biggest problem for investors and brands in mobile is that there’s a lot of chaos to sort through.  It’s hard to figure out how to invest in mobile faster, and hard to keep on top of the landscape.

What is Mobile?

 One challenge is that we don’t even have a firm answer to “what is mobile?”  And indeed, the distinction between “mobile” and “not mobile” may be fading away.  Whether we separate out mobile, or how we divide up the world, depends on what we’re talking about. 

From a marketing strategy perspective, there’s a compelling view that “mobile” shouldn’t be separated out, we should think in terms of at home versus office, event, retail, and other places.  The tablet on the couch, the screen in the car dashboard, the smartphone in a restaurant:  it’s where you are physically that defines the opportunity, not what device you happen to have.  As the IAB says, mobile is really a behavior, not a device type.

Another participant advocated a hub-and-spoke framework, where mobile is not unique or disconnected from other media, but is the central device/medium for advertising, and other media (TV, outdoor, print, PC, etc) all are spokes that relate to the mobile hub.

Plumbing

While a marketing strategy perspective may be ready to move beyond the mobile/non-mobile dichotomy, a plumbing point of view still argues for looking at mobile as a distinct medium.  There are unique, mobile-specific problems that need to be resolved before these integrated, cross-screen marketing plans are feasible.  These relate to scale, approach, and currency, among other things.  Technical solutions like HTML 5 will help with some aspects of the plumbing problem but there’s still a lot to do to get mobile advertising flowing easily.

Standards

Another strong theme from the Town Hall was that while standards are starting to exist (thanks, IAB!), they are not there, not deep enough, or not clear enough yet.

One of our subgroups recommended, “standardize first, and innovation follows.”  Another asked if it shouldn’t be the other way around.  That comment sparked the great question: “Is there a necessary trade-off between awesomeness and standardization?”  The broader chicken-and-egg question is important, and it shapes the way the IAB approaches timing for mobile and other standards projects.  We count on members and others in the ecosystem to let us know if we’re being premature or late to the game.  And I do agree that we should strive for standards that permit, or even encourage, awesomeness.

Takeaways

One summary of the conversation held that mobile does not have a monetization problem, it has a measurement problem.  And the measurement problem can be decomposed into two parts:  a plumbing problem and a standards problem.  However, we as an industry are not 100% sure on what the solution to the plumbing problem should be, and if it should cover just mobile or extend across screens/devices.  And there’s not complete agreement that there should be standards yet.

A pithier summary of the conversation was:  “The screen size is small.  That sucks.  Get over it, and learn to build mobile creative that works.”

In my mind, both of these conclusions imply time as part of the solution.  Time is needed for brands and agencies to get their bearings where mobile is concerned, and it takes time for the media side of the industry to move from competitive land grab to cooperation.  Any standards effort requires consensus around which aspects of mobile are just table stakes (where standardization helps everyone) versus things that are true competitive differentiators.  Hopefully, via conversations like this and our ongoing standards, committee, research, and other efforts, the IAB’s Mobile Center can accelerate that process.

About the Author

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Joe Laszlo


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

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At first, it seems counter-intuitive. For the digital interactive industry, which is dominated by the promise of free thinking and dynamic innovation, the notion of setting rules, parameters and guidelines seems almost anathema.
 
However, efficient marketplaces are built on transparency and information.  Clear and common language enables sellers to efficiently describe advertising inventory to buyers.  As such guidelines are vital to earning the trust of brands and ultimately to sustaining the growth we have enjoyed in our industry.
 
Of course, setting even the most basic rules around quality in digital advertising is a challenge.  There are a myriad of industry stakeholders and many of the issues are complex.  In short, this is exactly the sort of challenge that the Interactive Advertising Bureau was designed to tackle — hence the Quality Assurance Guidelines emerged in 2008.  However, the original Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG) are already four years old in digital advertising years - which seems like a century on the human scale.  Accordingly, last year we began the process of refreshing QAG.

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As we set out to recast, update and fine-tune the parameters for digital advertising within  the next iteration of the “Quality Assurance Guidelines”, we are faced with the emergence of programmatic buying as well as the continued growth of new areas such as mobile and video.  Additionally, we faced the issue of describing advertising inventory across multiple devices.
 
Not exactly for the faint of heart.
 
Fortunately, we were able to draw on the collective expertise of dozens of professionals from across the ecosystem - both buyers and sellers of digital advertising.  It’s worthwhile considering the kinds of participants who joined in developing this initiative: large publishers, large networks, trading desks, demand side platforms, supply side platforms and agencies - among others. The incredible support of these companies has resulted in a robust new set of guidelines that will be made available for public comment in the next few weeks.  
 
The mission for the QAG incorporates the following four tenets:
 
1. Understand the information requirements of advertising buyers
2. Define the parameters, definitions and common language for advertising seller disclosures
3. Ensure the guidelines define and enable clear, easy-to-understand descriptions that meet the requirements of advertising buyers
4. Review compliance amongst QAG certified companies and facilitate the resolution of disputes and complaints
 
These guidelines are the single industry-backed initiative designed to reduce friction and foster an environment of trust in the marketplace by providing clear common language that describes characteristics of advertising inventory and transactions across the advertising value chain.
 
As we approach the end of the drafting phase of QAG 2.0 and look forward to the start of a public comment period, we encourage you to consider how these guidelines apply to your company.  For sellers of advertising, this initiative allows you to certify your company as being compliant with this language which gives buyers of advertising confidence in your offering.  If your company hasn’t yet become QAG certified, the time is now to get involved in this increasingly important initiative.
 
As we move towards public comment, we invite you to get involved in the process and share your perspectives.  Buyers of advertising are increasingly relying on the QAG guidelines and we will be where the QAG 2.0 spec is almost ready to launch, and as the Beatles’ song goes, it could be an impressive and vital turning point for the digital sector, all we need is a “little help from my friends.” Hoping we can count you among them.

About the Authors

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This piece is bi-lined by Tim Avila, Vice President, Product Marketing, BrightRoll, Inc. and Rob Rasko, Founder and Managing Partner of The 614 Group.


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Understanding Mobile Discrepancies and the Technology Frontier

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Mobile is often referred to as the Wild Wild West of digital media. Well, the West didn’t stay “wild” forever, and neither can the mobile marketplace. It is one of the roles of the IAB to help tame this new frontier. Discrepancies, differences in the count of metrics like impressions or interactions between two parties, are one of the major challenges that make mobile seem lawless today. While discrepancies aren’t unique to mobile campaigns, some of the challenges with investigating and solving them are.

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To dig further into this issue, the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence hosted a mobile discrepancy working session on February 5th here at the IAB Ad Lab. We brought participants from each part of the mobile supply chain together to talk through mobile discrepancies with the objective of identifying where they are occurring, why, and potentially avenues where the IAB can help the industry. Having a collaborative mix of different perspectives all together in one room fostered knowledge sharing and brought to light new insights.

 

From a combination of breakout sessions and group conversations we learned that while the troubleshooting process and even some of the root causes of mobile discrepancies are pretty similar to display campaigns on the web, new technology drives some differences. This includes new technology from within the advertising industry as well the innovation taking place in the marketplace.

 

The new ad specific technology of mobile is an area where the IAB can help. New mobile-focused ad  products result in differences in how metrics are counted, reported and even terminology is defined. Like in the early days of web advertising, this is a clear place where the IAB along with our members can help by developing definitions and guidelines. We have already started this with initiatives like MRAID, Mobile Web Measurement Guidelines and the Mobile Phone Creative Guidelines.

 

Addressing marketplace technology, the fragmentation of devices, operations systems, screen sizes etc., is a bit more challenging. Not only does this create a challenge for developing ad creatives and testing them on devices, but also targeting and even traffic validation, especially for campaigns running across platforms. While some of these variables are beyond the advertising industry’s control, education and best practices can help reduce the friction they cause.

 

Now that we have clearer understanding of the many factors causing mobile discrepancies we can buckle down, roll up our sleeves, and work together to reduce them and grow trust in the mobile platform. This will take time and involvement from all parties in the digital advertising ecosystem, but based on the enthusiasm of everyone who attended the working session it is clear this is something the industry needs and is ready to do.  After all, the West wasn’t settled in one afternoon.


 About the Author

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Sabrina Alimi

Senior Manager, IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence


Sabrina Alimi is the Senior Marketing Manager of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, where she has a focus on ad operations and key mobile initiatives such as HTML best practices, mobile creative guidelines, discrepancies, and the future of the cookie. In addition, Sabrina leads the IAB’s Local Committee, exploring the opportunities that the use of location unlocks for mobile advertising. Prior to the IAB, Sabrina worked at Microsoft Advertising on the Atlas Media Console where she became a product expert providing technical support to clients and managing bug escalations. She can be reached on Twitter @SabrinaAlimi.

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