Results tagged “Business” from IABlog

On Tuesday, January 28th, the Wall Street Journal posted an article focused on the release of an IAB paper “Privacy and Tracking in a Post-Cookie World.” The story on WSJ.com originally contained three errors related to fundamental aspects of the IAB’s membership, technical ramifications of described technology and the nature of the document discussing current technological alternatives to the cookie. We appreciate the Journal’s willingness to make those fixes resulting in a decidedly more accurate representation of the IAB and the digital advertising industry. However, I would still like to address a few instances of language selection that could be easily misinterpreted by an average reader.

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First, I would like to explain what a cookie is and how it works, since the description in the Wall Street Journal wasn’t on the mark.

The IAB’s Wiki calls it “a string of text from a web server to a user’s browser that the browser is expected to send back to the web server in subsequent interactions.” Yes, the cookie is also the means by which tracking and preference management happens today in digital advertising, but “code” is another word for software that implies active functionality. As anyone familiar with web or internet technology knows, a cookie is just a marker like a security badge (the analogy given in our whitepaper) or a supermarket customer loyalty card.

Second, within the article, there is an implication that client-generated state management (device IDs) could consolidate online tracking in the hands of specific vendors.

In fact those vendors would only control the underlying mechanism that creates the IDs and not the nature of the way those IDs are used by the industry. This is equivalent to saying that the phone company has control over your supermarket loyalty program data because in that case the ID is your phone number. In fact, within this particular solution class, we have seen two very privacy-centric implementations by Apple and Google in their respective mobile operating systems.

The third potential misinterpretation comes from the statement that device IDs solve the problem of cross device tracking.

Since client-generated state is created within a specific operating environment (such as a device operating system or a browser) it does not enable cross-device tracking. In fact, no current implementations of client-generated state allow automatic industry-wide cross-browser or cross-device tracking. This can and should only ever be possible at the bequest of the user.

Lastly, the cloud solution class described in the document is meant to be a connector between different state management technologies, not a warehouse of personal data, as asserted in the article. 

In fact, the cloud technology envisioned in the whitepaper could become the technology that enables a user to synchronize their advertising preferences across devices and domains. 

In fairness to the journalist, I recognize that this is rather technical for a general business audience. But, we at the IAB feel it is important to accurately represent technology and prevent the perpetuation of misunderstanding for the purpose of easy readability.

About the Author

Steve-Sullivan-headshot.pngSteve Sullivan 



Steve Sullivan is VP of Advertising Technology at the IAB, and on Twitter at @SteveSullivan32.

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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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Content Marketing is assuming an increasingly large role in the digital campaigns of both B2B and B2C marketers, and is providing digital publishers with a potentially rich source of both revenue and content. However, there is substantial confusion about the concept, due to a multiplicity of definitions, marketing platforms and strategies. To help publishers navigate this promising but complex field, IAB recently established the Content Marketing Task Force.

As a first step, the Task Force was charged with developing a Primer to define the various components of the marketplace. This Primer has now been completed, thanks to input from the nearly 50 Task Force members, including publishers, both legacy and digital-native, and technology providers active in this space. 

The Primer’s objectives are fourfold:
a) To eliminate confusion by providing alignment among competing definitions, marketing platforms, and strategies
b) To provide accurate, timely information about Content Marketing
c) To offer guidelines on conforming to editorial standards and identification of sponsorship
d) To address the need for clear disclosure to consumers and businesses

contentmarketingprimer-screenshot.PNGWe believe the Primer will help IAB members grapple with the issues and maximize the opportunities of Content Marketing. Because Content Marketing is a very broad term which encompasses a wide range of platforms and strategies, we felt it very important to promote understanding of what its purpose is, and how it differs from advertising.  We also wanted to clarify how marketers and publishers can avoid potential pitfalls by establishing guidelines for clear disclosure. Fellow co-chairs reflect on the importance of this primer:

Content marketing has the potential to be a substantial, long-term solution to many challenges publishers face with respect not just to revenue but satisfying audiences with the kinds of valuable content and experiences they’ve come to expect. Publishers have worked tremendously hard over the years to gain the credibility that they have with audiences.  Our goal is to lessen the likelihood of that happening with clear guidelines and best practices for working with their advertising partners on content marketing initiatives.
- Lisa LaCour, VP, Global Marketing, Outbrain

As marketers look to unlock the full value of their content assets and pursue even greater levels of engagement from their media investments, paid content distribution will continue to grow.  It’s through this primer, with support from the industry’s leading practitioners, that the IAB looks to shine a light on this dynamic and evolving space, and provide guidance and best practices that will ultimately help shape its formation.
- Chris Schraft, President, Time Inc. Content Solutions 

So, what is Content Marketing?

Recognizing that Content Marketing is a very broad term which has many competing definitions, the Primer offers this general statement:

                  “Content Marketing is the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and 
                   valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target 
                   audience.”

It further notes that content marketing differs from advertising and other promotional vehicles because its intent is to provide entertainment/information that stands on its own merit - a “pull” strategy that enhances the consumer’s attitude towards the brand, rather than a “push” strategy with a specific call to action.

Within this overall description, the Primer shows how content marketing can work across the several platforms of owned, earned and paid media. Publishers have the opportunity to capitalize on all of them in a number of ways, both as distributors and as suppliers of content.

The Primer also provides marketers with an overview of the varieties of content - original, repurposed, and curated - they can use in their content marketing strategies. Each has its advantages, as well as complexities that require consideration. Sophisticated marketers will want to experiment across the spectrum.

The Need for Transparency and Disclosure

This Primer is clear that the key to the continued growth of Content Marketing is strict adherence to the IAB dictum that “Disclosure is not an option but a requirement.” The Primer states that content marketing efforts should always be clearly disclosed to the consumer as such, irrespective of whether they are paid units, third-party paid links or social-media endorsements. 

Specifically, regarding the subset of Content Marketing known as Native Advertising, the IAB Recommended Native Advertising Disclosure Principles, as outlined in the IAB Native Advertising Playbook states:
                                     
                   Regardless of context, a reasonable consumer should be able to distinguish between what 
                   is a paid native advertising unit vs. what is publisher editorial content.

In sum, Content Marketing represents an important strategy for marketers to engage their audiences in new and exciting ways, while offering publishers the opportunity for new revenue streams. By helping to reduce confusion about terminology and establishing guidelines for meeting editorial standards, the IAB’s new Primer will, it is hoped, help this industry reach its full potential.  Moving forward, according to Susan Borst, the IAB Director of Industry Initiatives, the Task Force will focus on additional topic areas related to content marketing such as the importance of social media and measurement.

About the Author
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Andrew Susman

Andrew is the CEO and a co-founder of Studio One and co-chair of the IAB Content Marketing Task Force. Previously, Susman was an executive at Time Warner and Young & Rubicam. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Advertising Educational Foundation, and Business for Diplomatic Action. A native of Missouri, he is also a certified sharpshooter and is a major supporter of the ASPCA.


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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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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.