Results tagged “Interactive advertising bureau” from IABlog

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The IAB is only as strong as its members. 

We’re delighted to congratulate Time Inc. for being the inaugural member of the month. Time Inc. was selected because they have taken full advantage of learning to leading opportunities, ranging from leading conversations on the Programmatic Council to attending educational  IAB webinars. 

Below, we interviewed those leaders and learners to hear their perspective on what is going on in digital advertising and their experience with the IAB.  

What does your company do, and specifically how does it serve the digital ecosystem?
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Dan Realson, VP Digital Sales, Time Inc. 
Time Inc. is first and foremost a storyteller. From desktop to mobile, from video to social, our diverse portfolio of brands engages 83 million passionate, loyal consumers on a monthly basis in a dialogue that entertains, informs, inspires and enriches their lives. The connections we have with our consumers are a powerful draw for our ad partners. Our scale and breadth of brands give us diverse audiences, deep insights and rich data - both offline and online - allowing us to create custom solutions that are highly targeted and contextually relevant, driving more efficiency and effectiveness for advertisers. It’s that intersection of content, context, data and scale that fuels our innovative suite of digital solutions.

Whether working directly with one of our brands, or buying programmatically across the Time Inc. digital network our advertisers benefit from the value audiences place on our quality, branded content.

What initiatives is Time Inc. looking forward to working with the IAB and its member companies on; and how do you motivate your colleagues to get involved?
Dan Realson, VP Digital Sales, Time Inc. 
Time Inc. will continue to work with the IAB on initiatives to advance industry education on programmatic as well as other initiatives such as transparency, viewability and building a trustworthy supply chain. We are also eager to work with the IAB on establishing industry-wide standards for tablet, campaign measurement, and audience measurement for video, as well as the development of responsive, multi-platform ad units.

The key to motivation is in claiming Time Inc.’s leadership position in the media community, recognizing the IAB as an arbiter and megaphone for best practices, and underscoring our opportunity to have a voice in shaping the issues that are driving our industry today.
 
How have you leveraged thought leadership development at IAB over the past year and what was your take-away from the experience?
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Patrick Landi, Executive Director Programmatic Sales, Time Inc.
I have been an active member of the Programmatic Council for publishers since last summer where I have participated in a number of initiatives to help create best practices around programmatic selling. Projects have ranged from creating guidelines for building out a programmatic sales team to developing content for a programmatic 101 webinar in which I participated as a speaker. I also helped curate content for the IAB’s recent professional development class entitled Advanced Programmatic for Direct Sellers, and I will be serving on the Digital Media Sales Certification (DMSC) exam committee later this year. Participating in this group and getting to know my peers on the council  has been an invaluable resource that I have used to help develop Time Inc.’s own programmatic sales team and strategy. I’ve also incorporated the materials from the IAB webinars into my own programmatic training sessions across Time Inc. and continue to use the IAB as a resource as our programmatic organization continues to develop.  
 
How did you participate as a learner at IAB over the past year and what was your take-away from the experience?
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Nicole Waddell, Digital Client Services Manager, Time Inc.
We are well trained on Time Inc.’s ad solutions but we rarely get to take a deeper look into what the industry as a whole is doing, especially as it relates to our colleagues at other companies. The IAB Programmatic Webinar (specific for publishers) was a unique opportunity that allowed me to see how other media companies are looking at Programmatic, what approaches their organizations are taking, how they are adapting their business strategies, and how they deal with challenges that may arise. I was encouraged to learn from an outside perspective, that even as the industry continues to adapt and grow, Time Inc. is taking a unique approach and has a strong offering in the marketplace.



To find out more about Time Inc.’s digital advertising opportunities go to www.Timeinc.com



About the Author

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Nicole Horsford

Nicole Horsford is the Member Services Director at IAB.




Media Multitaskers and Purchase Influence

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Consumers are increasingly pressed for time and, due to the multitude of readily available media sources, undivided attention.  Thus, it should come as no surprise that consumers are frequently multitasking, particularly with other media.  82% of American adults (over 18) go online while watching TV and 43% of them make this a regular habit.  So, as sellers of media, the question arises:  Are these Media Multitaskers even noticing the advertising?  And where does digital fall in this picture?  New research from the IAB shows that they are indeed noticing the ads on both media and they’re even being influenced by them, especially digital.  

As media multitasking grows, it becomes increasingly important for media buyers and sellers to understand the place of media in this new environment and how to best reach consumers.  The IAB analyzed Prosper Insights data to examine the media behaviors and influence of habitual Media Multitaskers and the results are impressive

Media Multitaskers are more likely than the general population to notice TV commercials and digital ads and are more likely to have their purchases influenced by the media and ads that they’re taking in on either screen.  They’re 6 percentage points (ppt) more likely than the general public to report regularly watching TV commercials.  Media Multitaskers are 5 percentage points more likely to report that both Broadcast TV and Internet Advertising influence their Electronics purchases.  Fascinatingly, Internet Advertising and Email Advertising have a higher purchase influence on Media Multitaskers than Cable TV does.  For instance, 29% of Media Multitaskers state that Internet Ads and Email Ads influence their Electronics purchases while only 23% report that Cable TV influences those purchases.  Similar differences in ad influence are seen across product verticals.   

Who are these Media Multitaskers?  Media Multitaskers are more likely to be young, single, females of average income who are heavy media users, especially of digital media.  Within digital, they’re also heavier Video Streamers and users of Mobile and Social Media—all of which are more likely to influence their purchases.  In an average week (M-SU), they’re 10 percentage points more likely than the general population to surf the internet, where they are 14 ppt more likely to use social media and 8 ppt more likely to stream online radio.  Media Multitaskers are also 9 ppt more likely to regularly watch digital video either online or on a mobile device.  They’re more likely to own and use any mobile device.  Media Multitaskers are most active online during primetime TV viewing hours (8-11pm).  

Evidence points to Media Multitaskers integrating media together across screens.  For example, Media Multitaskers are more inclined to do an online search related to something they’ve seen on TV or in a digital ad.  About one-quarter to one-third report searching online as a result of what they’ve seen in an internet or email ad or on TV.  While searching, they’re more prone to be influenced by a sponsored search result - nearly half report doing so.  

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Compounding the impact of search, Media Multitaskers are more likely to regularly do online product research before buying and their #1 online activity for fun is shopping. Additionally, Media Multitaskers happen to be planning major purchases within the next 6 months, more so than the general population.  These major purchases include vacation travel, computers, furniture and autos.

But it’s not just about search.  Media Multitaskers integrate various media types and are influenced by all digital media ad formats.  29% of Media Multitaskers report that their Electronics purchases are influenced by Internet Advertising and Email Advertising (5 ppt and ppt more than the general population).  Media Multitaskers are much more likely to use any social media service and 21% are influenced by social media in their Electronics purchases.  65% stream video online and 59% report watching the video ads (5 ppt more than the general population).  20% report that their mobile device influences their Electronics purchases (+4 ppt). Digital media ad influence extends beyond Electronics purchases, as detailed in the report.

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All of this points to digital advertising as the place to reach the time-constrained, multitasking consumer.  Digital should be part of any integrated TV campaign, since digital is increasingly where TV viewers are taking action.  Those who are simultaneously surfing and watching are in fact reacting to what they’re seeing on each screen and the computer seems to be the screen in which they take their actions further.  They’re most likely to be simultaneously watching TV and online during primetime TV hours, so this is the place to hit them with an integrated campaign, which they can search about online, where they should encounter a related digital ad. 

Retailers too should consider digital as a component to their TV buys since Media Multitaskers are more likely to research online before buying and more likely to do their shopping online.  Media Multitaskers’ major purchase plans combined with the purchase influence of digital advertising formats create ideal conditions for digital advertising to them. 

Perhaps the most important reason to target this group is that since multitasking behavior is growing at a fast pace, today’s Media Multitaskers will soon become tomorrow’s typical consumers.  By embracing the new way consumers watch TV - which includes an online accompaniment - advertisers can meet consumers on their terms by offering an integrated brand experience across screens, thereby deepening their relationship with the consumer.


About the Author

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Kristina Sruoginis

Kristina Sruoginis is the Research Director at IAB.


We are at war.  The industry is under siege from organized criminals who proliferate malware to steal individuals’ sensitive information, turn consumers’ devices into bots that generate billions of fraudulent ad impressions and clicks, and who pirate valuable content—all for their own financial gain.  

We are also at war with ourselves.  We have created an overly complex and porous supply chain that is obfuscated from the very marketers we hope to sell to.  And, we have not shown the necessary vision and commitment to effectively fight back.  

Without trust between marketers, publishers, consumers, and the multitude of parties in between, the growth of our industry—and by extension all of the monumental innovations our industry supports—is indefinitely debilitated. As IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg said in a powerful call-to-action earlier this year, we need an industry-wide behavior change at an unprecedented scale.

 IAB is uniquely positioned to lead this charge. Our members have driven the advancements that created this complex supply chain and can propel the progress that will lift us out of this morass.  Success, however, will require all of you.  Only with the help and dedication of the entire advertising community will we be able to instill confidence in consumers, security in content creators, and better understanding in marketers. 

To accomplish this ambitious and essential goal, the IAB is launching a Trustworthy Digital Supply Chain Initiative, comprised of 5 distinct objectives: 

  • Eliminate Fraudulent Traffic
  • Combat Malware
  • Fight Internet Piracy
  • Promote Brand Safety through greater Transparency
  • Create Accountability

Here is the roadmap for accomplishing each objective: 

Eliminate Fraudulent Traffic

No economic model in which a significant percentage of the goods sold are fraudulent is sustainable.  We must identify bot-generated, non-human traffic and remove it from the supply chain.  The first step is to develop a common taxonomy so the entire ecosystem can speak the same language when talking about “transacting in only human traffic”.  Second, we must have a set of principles, operational and technical in nature, that help guide sellers of inventory in the identification and filtering of fraudulent activity.  Lastly, there needs to be better communication across the industry on known threat vectors and cutting edge solutions.  

IAB is currently leading the Traffic of Good Intent Task Force, which earlier this year scoped the cause and nature of this problem and produced a set of definitions. This group will soon expand upon that product with the release of new principles that establish best practices for fraud detection and set institutional limits on selling that inventory.  Following this work, the group will focus on adoption and accountability across the entire industry.

Combat Malware

Eliminating fraudulent traffic and combatting malware are two sides of the same coin. Malware is the malicious software downloaded onto consumers’ devices as they browse the web, download apps, or click on an infected link or advertisement. By decreasing the proliferation of malware the industry will create a safer, more enjoyable experience for consumers, and will help thwart the creation of botnets, which in turn create fraudulent traffic. 

To organize industry’s efforts on this front, IAB is establishing a new Malware Task Force within the Trustworthy Digital Supply Chain Initiative.  This group will create a set of high-level security principles to help companies detect malware attacks on their sites, as well as to help define technological baselines for companies to deploy against criminal activity. Malware attacks are constantly evolving, thus this group will also serve as an information sharing platform in which one company can share the latest intelligence on malware threats with other companies.  IAB will also form a partnership with law enforcement agencies to help them more effectively investigate and prosecute criminal activity.  Finally, the industry must work to plug the most commonly exploited security hole, which is outdated software on individuals’ devices.  We must educate consumers about these security risks and encourage them to update their browsers, operating systems, and other software. 

Fight Internet Piracy

Advertising revenue should never flow to criminals who steal copyrighted material and place it on “pirate” sites.  IAB and many of its members have already made strides toward this imperative through the Quality Assurance Guidelines, which include the prohibition of the sale of advertising on sites dedicated to copyright infringement. While many networks and exchanges already devote a great deal of time and resources to detecting this illegal activity, more must be done. IAB is participating in a cross-industry effort to standardize best practices and piracy detection technologies, thus making it easier for companies to double down on their existing efforts.  In addition, the Quality Assurance Guidelines program recently established a complaint system, whereby rights holders can notify networks and exchanges about potential pirate sites.  However, the process must be simpler, detection more accurate, and participation ubiquitous. And finally, marketers and agencies must build upon their own commitment to not purchase inventory on pirate sites by including this language in their contracts for every advertising campaign.

Promote Brand Safety through Increased Transparency

There is no easy way to say it, but too many marketers and agencies do not fully understand the inner workings of the digital advertising supply chain. The path an ad travels today, from insertion order to the screens of a target group of consumers, is a labyrinthine and far too opaque to the buyer. As Rothenberg said in his article, “Even if you know that your own suppliers are reliable, you can’t tell whether your suppliers’ suppliers are secure.”  Unchecked, this lack of transparency deters brand spending in our ecosystem.  To build openness, understanding and trust, sellers must continue to grow the transparency provisions contained within the Quality Assurance Guidelines—particularly in light of the rise of programmatic—and evolve the compliance program so that it governs every transaction flowing through the trusted supply chain. 

Transparency is one of the foundational goals of the Quality Assurance Guidelines. As its mission states, the Quality Assurance Guidelines aim to provide “clear, common language that describes characteristics of advertising inventory and transactions across the advertising value chain.” Already 29 top digital companies are certified under the program, with many additional leaders en route. We must continue to build out participation and increase awareness of the program amongst marketers and agencies.

Create Accountability 

Principles and guidelines are only effective when you have industry-wide adoption and compliance.  This kind of accountability ensures each participant can rely on the multitude of other actors in the supply chain to do the right thing. Without it, trust erodes. 

We have the building blocks of an industry wide compliance program in the current IAB Quality Assurance Guidelines.  To build this out to ensure a trustworthy digital supply chain, it must be expanded to cover areas such as fraud and malware and to additional areas as they arise. The compliance mechanism must be strengthened to include active monitoring systems and serious consequences for non-compliance. Last but not least, ALL actors in the digital advertising supply chain, from marketers and agencies to ad technology intermediaries and publishers, need to certify against the parts of the guidelines that are relevant to their business model.  Advertisers then must request, demand if you will, this seal of approval from those with which they buy. Only then will we have an accountability program that truly becomes the “Good Housekeeping seal of approval,” meaningfully signifying who to trust in the digital ad supply chain.   

These five discrete objectives compose a roadmap toward a more trustworthy digital supply chain, one that will increase the entire industry’s value and worth. They will be discussed in more depth at the Advertising Technology: IAB Marketplace event happening today in New York. However, it should be said, there is no such thing as a completely trustworthy supply chain. Most of our efforts are directed at fighting criminal activity, and it’s impossible to stamp out all crime. But we can implement successful programs that make it difficult for the criminals to be successful. That’s what we are doing today and we need your help to achieve our goals. 


About the Author

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Mike Zaneis

Mike Zaneis is SVP & General Counsel at the IAB.

The IAB’s standardized interfaces for rich ads—Video Suite (VAST, VPAID and VMAP), MRAID, and SafeFrame—are among our most important contributions to enabling engaging, dynamic advertising to scale.  In three different ad environments, these technical specifications standardize communication between the ad creative and the systems that host the content. In a video player, the player must be able to understand and process the ad’s requests to operate smoothly (VPAID). For mobile in-app ads, the mobile app must be programmed to recognize the ad’s requests (MRAID). In a webpage where the ad runs in an iframe, a line of communication is needed between the page and the iframe (SafeFrame).

The three specifications IAB and our members have developed to standardize these communications have significantly reduced the friction associated with buying and selling advertising in web, mobile, and video environments. 

However, there’s a challenge.  Each of the three IAB specs was designed for a distinct scenario, and we live in a world where those scenarios are increasingly blurring together.  Companies are increasingly dealing with the convergence of these standards, asking questions like: 

  • How can VPAID and MRAID best be used together? 
  • While MRAID was developed for in-app experiences, what about browser-based apps? 
  • Should SafeFrame be the sole solution for browser-based experiences?

To formulate a game plan for addressing this convergence, IAB assembled leaders from each of the three standards efforts, along with relevant IAB staff, to publish a perspective on the challenges of bringing these standards into harmony with one another.  This document includes an overview of the specifications, the challenges we’re hearing about from the industry, and an overview of next steps IAB intends to take.  Over the long-term, there’s no question that we should place VPAID, SafeFrame, and MRAID on a convergence path.  But that’s necessarily going to be a lengthy process.  

In the short and medium term, we are talking with industry representatives about how to formulate best practices for working effectively with these specs, notably combining VPAID and MRAID, and other best practices as industry need warrants.  We encourage interested members to get involved as we make sure MRAID, VPAID, and SafeFrame stay relevant and valuable in a rapidly evolving—and converging—digital advertising world. 


About the Author

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Joe Laszlo

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

 


Digital Video In-Stream Metrics Released!

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If you are familiar with the story of the Tower of Babel, you’re aware of the potential power behind a commonly understood language. When everyone accepts definitions in the same way, the chance of confusion is eliminated and time can be spent more efficiently in progressing forward rather than having to consistently translate various interpretations. Digital Video In-Stream Metrics serve this exact purpose for buyers and sellers of digital video in-stream advertising, and have played an important role in maturing the industry and supporting its evolution. 

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Digital video is a fast moving marketing channel undergoing a large amount of innovation and technical functionality, so the industry will need to periodically review and revise standards to reflect the needs of current practice. The last update to the metrics was in 2008, so IAB convened a working group to modernize the metrics but we found during comment periods that there were some prevailing questions that we chose to address outside of the document. 

We hosted the webinar, Digital Video Metrics Modernized to provide an overview of the document and addressed those questions, and as an added layer of clarity we have outlined them in an FAQ. Ultimately, our goal is to enable growth in the industry. We do this by building and maintaining consensus around the use of these metrics and concepts so that buyers understand sellers and transparency is established.


FAQ Digital Video In-Stream Metric Definitions 

Why not combine the metric definitions with the Impression Measurement Guidelines?

IAB Impression Measurement Guidelines, which have been developed for display, mobile and digital video, describe technical details for how an ad impression should be counted in each of the specified contexts. Each of the Impression Measurement Guidelines documents is used in the industry to establish sound measurement practices for ad impressions. 

In contrast, the Digital Video In-Stream Metric Definition document, simply describe a baseline of interactive metrics that companies can voluntarily track in digital video. No technical guidelines are imposed for how each metric is measured, allowing companies make the best use of their technology while offering the Industry a common definition for select interactive digital video metrics.

Why isn’t viewability covered in the update to metric definitions for digital in-stream video?

Viewability in digital video is a more complex issue than simply defining a term. The 2014 Digital In-Stream Video Metric Definitions only defines a baseline set of interactive metrics that the industry can use as a common lexicon. However, establishing common measurement practices for determining whether an ad is in view requires a process that identifies and addresses technical and operational challenges. The Make Measurements Make Sense (3MS) initiative is leading the efforts toward more effective impression measurements. As a standard becomes adopted in the industry, these metric definitions may be updated to reflect relevant changes.

We serve video ads into 300x250 placements on websites. Why is this being excluded from the definition for digital video in-stream video ads?

The format of an ad does not make it a digital video in-stream video ad; the context into which the ad is served defines digital in-stream video ads. The technology for receiving and executing ads is different and requires different resources when the ad is served into a webpage and when served into a video player. Video ads that are served into a webpage are commonly known as in-banner video ads and are executed by the browser. Separately, ads served into a player are received and executed by the player—each of which may be built using proprietary code. Therefore, only ads served to a player (video or otherwise), constitute a digital in-stream video ad.

What constitutes a “player?”

In the context of digital in-stream video, a player is a browser-based computer program that executes videos, animation, or games that streams publisher content.

One advertising strategy we use is to stream short clips of content along with ads into a display placement on a publisher’s webpage. Our ads are played before, during, or after the content we serve, and they’re served into a player. Are our ads considered digital in-stream video ads?

If the content being streamed belongs to the same publisher that also owns the webpage content into which you are serving the clips and ads, then yes. For example, a news publisher may post several short news clips in the sidebar of their page. Ads served into these news clips are considered digital in-stream video ads.

However, if the content belongs to publishers other than the one who owns the page content, and especially if that content is served to a display ad placement on the page, the content is a form of advertising. In this case, the content, as well as the ads served with it, are being served to the webpage and classified as in-page, or in-banner video ads.

Is mobile covered in this metric definition update?

Ads served into browser-based players that stream publisher content are considered digital in-stream ads, regardless of the device in which they play. However, mobile devices present some challenges to tracking ad interactions. Native players in mobile devices are capable of playing content while offline and therefore lack the persistent connection required for communicating ad interactions in real time. For now, the 2014 Digital In-Stream Video Metric Definitions are restricted to the context of live streaming content. However, to the extent possible, these metric definitions may be applied to native digital players in mobile.

Are the ads we serve into games considered digital in-stream video ads?

Yes, game publishers may sell ad inventory that is served into their browser-based game players. Ads served into these players are considered digital in-stream video ads.


About the Author
Jessica Anderson
Jessica Anderson is Senior Manager of Advertising Technology at IAB. 





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In this, the final installment of the IABlog series, “IAB Asks NewFront Sellers,” NewFront founders and presenters share what excites them the most with regard to digital video content, advertising, and the NewFronts.  Here’s what they had to say:

Ben Dietz, VP Sales & Business Development, VICE Media 

We’re excited about the IAB Rising Stars, in terms of their ability to incorporate video into certain units. We think longer-form video is going to continue to be a mode that people adopt. A quarter of all videos on YouTube right now are 20 minutes or longer. So there’s a huge appetite and a huge shift in the desire to consume longer pieces of content. Ads can probably get longer and less “selly” as a result. 

Jack Bamberger, Head of Agency and Industry Relations, AOL

People should attend AOL’s NewFront on April 29th and they’ll find out. We’ve got some surprises ad exciting announcements that we’ll be unveiling at the NewFront separate from our slate. Last year we were very bold in measurement, very bold in original content, and there’s no reason to expect anything but a continuation of AOL investing more in video. A great example is our acquisition from September of last year Adap.TV and what does that mean to the industry in terms of programmatic video. 

Jonathan Perelman, GM of Video & VP Agency Strategy, BuzzFeed 

It’s about highlighting ways that brands can do really compelling, sharable, video content. That to me is not pre-roll or TrueView ads, but it’s actually custom, bespoke, branded videos that tap into learnings and understandings about what makes video successful and doing that with brands. That’s what I’m really excited about and what we at BuzzFeed have been doing and are really excited to do a lot more of. NewFronts_LogoLock5.jpg

Peter Naylor, SVP Advertising, Hulu

As content consumption continues to be a multi-screen experience, we will see more ad formats with the ability to run across different platforms. On Hulu, we see over 3,000 multi-platform combinations used to watch Hulu Plus each month. For example, I watch Hulu Plus on an iPhone, iPad and my PC. I find that stat to be highly illustrative of the direction consumers are headed. And we can’t just follow where consumers are going, we have to always lead and be one step ahead. So, the ability to run ads across different platforms is a big trend. Another big trend - geo targeting, and ads that are targeted to local viewers.

The Hulu Upfront will take place April 30th in New York, and we’re excited to talk about how we are staying ahead of industry trends and innovating in the space on behalf of our advertising partners, content partners and users. I don’t want to give away too much (you’ll have to wait for the upfront!) but we’ll be sharing some new ways we can help advertisers reach their target audience through innovative new formats, alongside great new programming on our platform.

Jason Krebs, Head of Sales, and Erin McPherson, Chief Content Officer, Maker Studios

Krebs: Everything we’ve touched on [for this Q&A] are trends, because they’re very early. Either it’s Erin fielding different calls from new creators in Hollywood, traditional again, who’ve never done anything online. We have advertisers also asking us about potential new ways that we can take our creators and get them involved in their story. How are things happening socially? Are people sharing these? What are the view times? What are their browsing habits? Are they stumbling upon content? Are they tuning in? We have the whole subscription notion of YouYube. Many of the biggest subscribed channels in YouTube across the earth are Maker creators, and what does that mean? What’s a publishing cycle look? How often should we be producing this content? Where are people coming from when they’ve come to that content? Where do they go after? All of these things. We haven’t said the word data yet, so now I’m saying the word data. All those points are completely brand new. The trend of using all of that so everyone is better at what they do, advertisers and creators and consumers, it’s all early on and very exciting. 

McPherson: For a while now native has been a buzzword. People use that word loosely and broadly. We certainly use it when we’re talking about advertising that is truly organic to the consumer. Native content can be a creative idea that we work on with a brand. Native can also encompass a kind of ad that we’re in the early days of seeing in video. I’ll call it a smart ad, a targeted ad, an ad that understands what consumers’ behavior and interests are. We’re in the early days with video in personalization, really being able to customize not just your video content, but your video ad experience.

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts
Each year, thousands of people attend the Digital Content NewFronts to witness great new original video content, learn marketing best practices, and hear headline-grabbing announcements about partnerships that will change the course of the digital medium. This powerful series of presentations proves that digital video is the right place for brands to engage with consumers because consumers are engaging with digital video. Presenters include AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo, and more. Learn More & See Schedule

IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace, Spotlight: Video, May 15, 2014
If you’re interested in digital video, IAB is bringing together thought leaders from both brands and agencies for the IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace. We’ll reveal how the buy and sell side are partnering to develop, deploy, and evaluate the success of multi-screen/multi-channel content and brand experiences, and the increasingly powerful role video is playing in this revolution. Learn More & See Agenda


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In this, the final installment of the IABlog series, “IAB Asks NewFront Sellers,” NewFront founders and presenters share what excites them the most with regard to digital video content, advertising, and the NewFronts.  Here’s what they had to say:

Ben Dietz, VP Sales & Business Development, VICE Media 

We’re excited about the IAB Rising Stars, in terms of their ability to incorporate video into certain units. We think longer-form video is going to continue to be a mode that people adopt. A quarter of all videos on YouTube right now are 20 minutes or longer. So there’s a huge appetite and a huge shift in the desire to consume longer pieces of content. Ads can probably get longer and less “selly” as a result. 

Jack Bamberger, Head of Agency and Industry Relations, AOL

People should attend AOL’s NewFront on April 29th and they’ll find out. We’ve got some surprises ad exciting announcements that we’ll be unveiling at the NewFront separate from our slate. Last year we were very bold in measurement, very bold in original content, and there’s no reason to expect anything but a continuation of AOL investing more in video. A great example is our acquisition from September of last year Adap.TV and what does that mean to the industry in terms of programmatic video. 

Jonathan Perelman, GM of Video & VP Agency Strategy, BuzzFeed 

It’s about highlighting ways that brands can do really compelling, sharable, video content. That to me is not pre-roll or TrueView ads, but it’s actually custom, bespoke, branded videos that tap into learnings and understandings about what makes video successful and doing that with brands. That’s what I’m really excited about and what we at BuzzFeed have been doing and are really excited to do a lot more of. NewFronts_LogoLock5.jpg

Peter Naylor, SVP Advertising, Hulu

As content consumption continues to be a multi-screen experience, we will see more ad formats with the ability to run across different platforms. On Hulu, we see over 3,000 multi-platform combinations used to watch Hulu Plus each month. For example, I watch Hulu Plus on an iPhone, iPad and my PC. I find that stat to be highly illustrative of the direction consumers are headed. And we can’t just follow where consumers are going, we have to always lead and be one step ahead. So, the ability to run ads across different platforms is a big trend. Another big trend - geo targeting, and ads that are targeted to local viewers.

The Hulu Upfront will take place April 30th in New York, and we’re excited to talk about how we are staying ahead of industry trends and innovating in the space on behalf of our advertising partners, content partners and users. I don’t want to give away too much (you’ll have to wait for the upfront!) but we’ll be sharing some new ways we can help advertisers reach their target audience through innovative new formats, alongside great new programming on our platform.

Jason Krebs, Head of Sales, and Erin McPherson, Chief Content Officer, Maker Studios

Krebs: Everything we’ve touched on [for this Q&A] are trends, because they’re very early. Either it’s Erin fielding different calls from new creators in Hollywood, traditional again, who’ve never done anything online. We have advertisers also asking us about potential new ways that we can take our creators and get them involved in their story. How are things happening socially? Are people sharing these? What are the view times? What are their browsing habits? Are they stumbling upon content? Are they tuning in? We have the whole subscription notion of YouYube. Many of the biggest subscribed channels in YouTube across the earth are Maker creators, and what does that mean? What’s a publishing cycle look? How often should we be producing this content? Where are people coming from when they’ve come to that content? Where do they go after? All of these things. We haven’t said the word data yet, so now I’m saying the word data. All those points are completely brand new. The trend of using all of that so everyone is better at what they do, advertisers and creators and consumers, it’s all early on and very exciting. 

McPherson: For a while now native has been a buzzword. People use that word loosely and broadly. We certainly use it when we’re talking about advertising that is truly organic to the consumer. Native content can be a creative idea that we work on with a brand. Native can also encompass a kind of ad that we’re in the early days of seeing in video. I’ll call it a smart ad, a targeted ad, an ad that understands what consumers’ behavior and interests are. We’re in the early days with video in personalization, really being able to customize not just your video content, but your video ad experience.

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts
Each year, thousands of people attend the Digital Content NewFronts to witness great new original video content, learn marketing best practices, and hear headline-grabbing announcements about partnerships that will change the course of the digital medium. This powerful series of presentations proves that digital video is the right place for brands to engage with consumers because consumers are engaging with digital video. Presenters include AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo, and more. Learn More & See Schedule

IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace, Spotlight: Video, May 15, 2014
If you’re interested in digital video, IAB is bringing together thought leaders from both brands and agencies for the IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace. We’ll reveal how the buy and sell side are partnering to develop, deploy, and evaluate the success of multi-screen/multi-channel content and brand experiences, and the increasingly powerful role video is playing in this revolution. Learn More & See Agenda


DCNF_logo_square_2014.jpg

In this installment of the IABlog series, NewFront founders and presenters reveal how they see the relationship between emerging video consumption devices and good, old TV. We asked them: 

There’s a theory that mobile video and connected TV will start taking big chunks of consumer and advertising time out of basic cable fare. Is this happening? If not, why not?

Jonathan Perelman, GM of Video & VP Agency Strategy, BuzzFeed

Over half of our views are coming on mobile. I wrote something recently that said, for the last 7-10 years, people have been wondering if it’s the year of mobile. The reality is every year is the year of mobile ever since then. I was on the subway this morning and someone was watching a full-on movie on their phone. That 5 years ago was not something anyone would ever consider. Mobile is only going to grow and become more and more important to consumers and thus to advertisers. 

IAB: Do you think mobile is competing with TV at all audience time or advertising budget? 

Perelman: No, but we do see a lot of BuzzFeed video being watched during primetime, which that means someone is presumably sitting on their sofa maybe watching something else while on a social network. Someone passes along a video to them, and they’re going to click and play it while they’re watching something else. So I think, there’s maybe a burgeoning competition, but in terms of numbers and dollars it’s not so much a completion. 

Peter Naylor, SVP Advertising, Hulu

Everyone is limited to just 24 hours a day. That’s a constant. The variable is how people choose to spend their time, of course. There’s been a trend for many years that points to the rise of time spent with media and the rise of multi-tasking. So the media pie is getting bigger, but the slices of the pie are getting thinner. People now have the ability to time shift, device shift and place shift their media, and they are taking full advantage of all screens. We are essentially competing for mindshare and time share -quality content coupled with a best-in-class user experience is the key to being an essential part of a consumers daily entertainment choices.NewFronts_LogoLock4.jpg

Erin McPherson, Chief Content Officer, and Jason Krebs, Head of Sales, Maker Studios

McPherson: A lot of folks from the TV industry side say, “TV’s never been healthier,” which in many ways is true. The data I’ve looked at most recently showed consumption rising on traditional television platforms, as well as on digital. The secret here lies in—I won’t even call it second screen because second screen has come to mean a screen that interplays with your first screen—I’ll call it multiscreen. They are watching YouTube videos while they have the game on. Or they’re watching video in their Facebook or Twitter feeds, while they’ve have a reality show on. So the television is on but are people watching?  How are they watching and how are they engaging? At Maker, consumers don’t just view, they engage. 

Krebs: It’s the classic lean back and lean forward. We have a lot of lean forward, people interacting with the content, with the comments, with the sharing, as well as interacting with the ads themselves. We have a pretty vibrant business in ad creative that is purely interactive, where people can dive in more. 

Ben Dietz, VP Sales & Business Development, VICE Media

It’s not like we study the Nielsen ratings and go “ABC morning news is down 20%.” It’s more anecdotal, what we hear from our millennial audience. They’re consuming more on mobile. They’re consuming more online. They’re consuming more in a time-shifted fashion, and then beyond that they’re looking deeper into content that falls outside of mainstream broadcasts. We hear loud and clear from our audience that they’re shifting away, and that we believe very firmly that with audience will come dollars. It’s not happening as quickly as we’d like and there are inequities in the marketplace such as the rate that we can get for mobile, which needs to come to parity quickly. But we see it happening, and it will happen more in the future.

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts
Each year, thousands of people attend the Digital Content NewFronts to witness great new original video content, learn marketing best practices, and hear headline-grabbing announcements about partnerships that will change the course of the digital medium. This powerful series of presentations proves that digital video is the right place for brands to engage with consumers because consumers are engaging with digital video. Presenters include AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo, and more. Learn More & See Schedule

IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace, Spotlight: Video, May 15, 2014
If you’re interested in digital video, IAB is bringing together thought leaders from both brands and agencies for the IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace. We’ll reveal how the buy and sell side are partnering to develop, deploy, and evaluate the success of multi-screen/multi-channel content and brand experiences, and the increasingly powerful role video is playing in this revolution. Learn More & See Agenda

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DCNF_logo_square_2014.jpg

In this installment of the IABlog series, NewFront founders and presenters reveal how they see the relationship between emerging video consumption devices and good, old TV. We asked them: 

There’s a theory that mobile video and connected TV will start taking big chunks of consumer and advertising time out of basic cable fare. Is this happening? If not, why not?

Jonathan Perelman, GM of Video & VP Agency Strategy, BuzzFeed

Over half of our views are coming on mobile. I wrote something recently that said, for the last 7-10 years, people have been wondering if it’s the year of mobile. The reality is every year is the year of mobile ever since then. I was on the subway this morning and someone was watching a full-on movie on their phone. That 5 years ago was not something anyone would ever consider. Mobile is only going to grow and become more and more important to consumers and thus to advertisers. 

IAB: Do you think mobile is competing with TV at all audience time or advertising budget? 

Perelman: No, but we do see a lot of BuzzFeed video being watched during primetime, which that means someone is presumably sitting on their sofa maybe watching something else while on a social network. Someone passes along a video to them, and they’re going to click and play it while they’re watching something else. So I think, there’s maybe a burgeoning competition, but in terms of numbers and dollars it’s not so much a completion. 

Peter Naylor, SVP Advertising, Hulu

Everyone is limited to just 24 hours a day. That’s a constant. The variable is how people choose to spend their time, of course. There’s been a trend for many years that points to the rise of time spent with media and the rise of multi-tasking. So the media pie is getting bigger, but the slices of the pie are getting thinner. People now have the ability to time shift, device shift and place shift their media, and they are taking full advantage of all screens. We are essentially competing for mindshare and time share -quality content coupled with a best-in-class user experience is the key to being an essential part of a consumers daily entertainment choices.NewFronts_LogoLock4.jpg

Erin McPherson, Chief Content Officer, and Jason Krebs, Head of Sales, Maker Studios

McPherson: A lot of folks from the TV industry side say, “TV’s never been healthier,” which in many ways is true. The data I’ve looked at most recently showed consumption rising on traditional television platforms, as well as on digital. The secret here lies in—I won’t even call it second screen because second screen has come to mean a screen that interplays with your first screen—I’ll call it multiscreen. They are watching YouTube videos while they have the game on. Or they’re watching video in their Facebook or Twitter feeds, while they’ve have a reality show on. So the television is on but are people watching?  How are they watching and how are they engaging? At Maker, consumers don’t just view, they engage. 

Krebs: It’s the classic lean back and lean forward. We have a lot of lean forward, people interacting with the content, with the comments, with the sharing, as well as interacting with the ads themselves. We have a pretty vibrant business in ad creative that is purely interactive, where people can dive in more. 

Ben Dietz, VP Sales & Business Development, VICE Media

It’s not like we study the Nielsen ratings and go “ABC morning news is down 20%.” It’s more anecdotal, what we hear from our millennial audience. They’re consuming more on mobile. They’re consuming more online. They’re consuming more in a time-shifted fashion, and then beyond that they’re looking deeper into content that falls outside of mainstream broadcasts. We hear loud and clear from our audience that they’re shifting away, and that we believe very firmly that with audience will come dollars. It’s not happening as quickly as we’d like and there are inequities in the marketplace such as the rate that we can get for mobile, which needs to come to parity quickly. But we see it happening, and it will happen more in the future.

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts
Each year, thousands of people attend the Digital Content NewFronts to witness great new original video content, learn marketing best practices, and hear headline-grabbing announcements about partnerships that will change the course of the digital medium. This powerful series of presentations proves that digital video is the right place for brands to engage with consumers because consumers are engaging with digital video. Presenters include AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo, and more. Learn More & See Schedule

IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace, Spotlight: Video, May 15, 2014
If you’re interested in digital video, IAB is bringing together thought leaders from both brands and agencies for the IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace. We’ll reveal how the buy and sell side are partnering to develop, deploy, and evaluate the success of multi-screen/multi-channel content and brand experiences, and the increasingly powerful role video is playing in this revolution. Learn More & See Agenda

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DCNF_logo_square_2014.jpg

In this installment of the IABlog series, “IAB Asks NewFront Sellers,” NewFront founders and presenters share their perspectives on the trajectory of digital video by answering this question: 

Is this the golden age of video? If so, how come? If not, when will we see a golden age, and what will it look like?

Ben Dietz, VP Sales & Business Development, VICE Media

No. The golden age of digital video is yet to come. You look at a) the decreasing cost of production which is democratizing the format; b) the increasing capacity for things like live streaming and video-on-demand; and c) things like oculus rift that change the way we watch and the way that we experience video; and I would say the golden age of digital video is some years ahead of us. That being said, I think it’s a great time to be in digital video because you can make stuff that is intended for desktop, intended for mobile, intended for social and have it be premium enough and evolved enough that it can travel to the highest platforms in the world. You’ve seen digital shorts that we’ve made [turned] into feature films and win prizes at Sundance. It’s a tremendously exciting time, but the golden age is still a couple years off. 

Jack Bamberger, Head of Agency and Industry Relations, AOL

This is the golden age of premium content. If you don’t have good content that consumers engage with, share, like, want to watch, that’s meaningful to them and entertains them, delights them, surprises them, you’ve got nothing. And you’ve got to surprise them too. Ultimately this is about content. Do we want to connect it from convergence and pipe standpoint? You bet. But the content is ultimately the story. That is why AOL has invested so incredibly much in premium content. We have the largest video library in the industry, now over 900,000 pieces of content, growing rapidly on a daily basis. We are hugely invested in content creation and content curation. And our numbers continue to grow on an annual basis based on the premium content partnerships that we continue to build-on.

NewFronts_LogoLock3.jpgErin McPherson, Chief Content Officer, Maker Studios

I don’t think we’re there yet. We’re in the early age of video. We’re in the Jurassic stage of video. We haven’t even seen it yet. This is the beginning of massive, massive tidal wave.  

Peter Naylor, SVP Advertising, Hulu

It’s a great time for consumers. Mike Hopkins, Hulu CEO, just spoke at the Ad Age Digital conference earlier this month about this very topic - the “heyday” of television. There’s so much great content out there, and consumers who have grown up in a connected world have high expectations of how, when, and where they get their content.  Consumers who grew up in a three-network household are still wide-eyed at the abundance of programming available to them in this new on-demand world. Hulu can super-serve all audiences, so, yes, it’s absolutely a golden time to be in the video space.

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts
Each year, thousands of people attend the Digital Content NewFronts to witness great new original video content, learn marketing best practices, and hear headline-grabbing announcements about partnerships that will change the course of the digital medium. This powerful series of presentations proves that digital video is the right place for brands to engage with consumers because consumers are engaging with digital video. Presenters include AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo, and more. Learn More & See Schedule

IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace, Spotlight: Video, May 15, 2014
If you’re interested in digital video, IAB is bringing together thought leaders from both brands and agencies for the IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace. We’ll reveal how the buy and sell side are partnering to develop, deploy, and evaluate the success of multi-screen/multi-channel content and brand experiences, and the increasingly powerful role video is playing in this revolution. Learn More & See Agenda

 


DCNF_logo_square_2014.jpg

In this installment of the IABlog series, “IAB Asks NewFront Sellers,” NewFront founders and presenters share their perspectives on the trajectory of digital video by answering this question: 

Is this the golden age of video? If so, how come? If not, when will we see a golden age, and what will it look like?

Ben Dietz, VP Sales & Business Development, VICE Media

No. The golden age of digital video is yet to come. You look at a) the decreasing cost of production which is democratizing the format; b) the increasing capacity for things like live streaming and video-on-demand; and c) things like oculus rift that change the way we watch and the way that we experience video; and I would say the golden age of digital video is some years ahead of us. That being said, I think it’s a great time to be in digital video because you can make stuff that is intended for desktop, intended for mobile, intended for social and have it be premium enough and evolved enough that it can travel to the highest platforms in the world. You’ve seen digital shorts that we’ve made [turned] into feature films and win prizes at Sundance. It’s a tremendously exciting time, but the golden age is still a couple years off. 

Jack Bamberger, Head of Agency and Industry Relations, AOL

This is the golden age of premium content. If you don’t have good content that consumers engage with, share, like, want to watch, that’s meaningful to them and entertains them, delights them, surprises them, you’ve got nothing. And you’ve got to surprise them too. Ultimately this is about content. Do we want to connect it from convergence and pipe standpoint? You bet. But the content is ultimately the story. That is why AOL has invested so incredibly much in premium content. We have the largest video library in the industry, now over 900,000 pieces of content, growing rapidly on a daily basis. We are hugely invested in content creation and content curation. And our numbers continue to grow on an annual basis based on the premium content partnerships that we continue to build-on.

NewFronts_LogoLock3.jpgErin McPherson, Chief Content Officer, Maker Studios

I don’t think we’re there yet. We’re in the early age of video. We’re in the Jurassic stage of video. We haven’t even seen it yet. This is the beginning of massive, massive tidal wave.  

Peter Naylor, SVP Advertising, Hulu

It’s a great time for consumers. Mike Hopkins, Hulu CEO, just spoke at the Ad Age Digital conference earlier this month about this very topic - the “heyday” of television. There’s so much great content out there, and consumers who have grown up in a connected world have high expectations of how, when, and where they get their content.  Consumers who grew up in a three-network household are still wide-eyed at the abundance of programming available to them in this new on-demand world. Hulu can super-serve all audiences, so, yes, it’s absolutely a golden time to be in the video space.

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts
Each year, thousands of people attend the Digital Content NewFronts to witness great new original video content, learn marketing best practices, and hear headline-grabbing announcements about partnerships that will change the course of the digital medium. This powerful series of presentations proves that digital video is the right place for brands to engage with consumers because consumers are engaging with digital video. Presenters include AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo, and more. Learn More & See Schedule

IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace, Spotlight: Video, May 15, 2014
If you’re interested in digital video, IAB is bringing together thought leaders from both brands and agencies for the IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace. We’ll reveal how the buy and sell side are partnering to develop, deploy, and evaluate the success of multi-screen/multi-channel content and brand experiences, and the increasingly powerful role video is playing in this revolution. Learn More & See Agenda

 


There is no doubt that mobile gaming is a hot topic that is attracting the notice of brand advertisers. Mobile gaming is growing significantly due to three key trends:
  1. Growth in smartphone and tablet usage (according to the IAB Mobile Center research, as of January 2014, 57% of all US adults owned a smartphone and 44% owned a tablet)
  2. Increasing sophistication in mobile app ecosystem
  3. Growing willingness among consumers to pay for virtual goods and accept mobile advertising
Mobile game monetization comes from:
  1. Virtual goods
  2. Paid apps and downloads
  3. Advertising
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Per eMarketer, mobile game monetization is projected to increase significantly over the next four years. All three of the primary monetization models—downloads, in-game/virtual goods, and ad-supported—will grow, but the mix will shift in favor of in-game/virtual goods.
 
For these reasons, the IAB Games and Mobile Committees convened a Town Hall discussion titled “The Future of Mobile Game Advertising.” Susan Borst, Director of Industry Initiatives and the IAB lead for the Games Committee stated that interest in game advertising has never been higher and bringing these two committees together is important given that nearly a third of all time spent on mobile is on games. Joe Lazlo, Senior Director of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence added that successful game advertising has much to teach the rest of the mobile ecosystem.

Following a welcome and some perspective on the state of mobile games advertising from event host, Jeff Colen, Ad Sales & Marketing at Zynga, Lewis Ward, Research Director of Gaming at IDC, shared some background information on smartphone growth and share, consumer spending on games and consumer sentiment for game play by device.
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MobileGraph.jpg
Lewis noted the growth of the tablet for game play, and in particular the iPad as gamer’s favorite iOS devices. He went on to say that significant demographic differences exist across the various mobile platforms, notably HH income and gender, which have obvious implications for game developers and advertisers. For instance, the IDC study showed a big disposable income gap between iOS and Android, and game play on Kindle Fire skews heavily female.

Defining and sizing smartphone and tablet ads is “tricky due to technology fragmentation and the rapid pace of market innovation and evolution,” said Lewis, and the audience agreed. This is an area where the IAB could work to provide some clarity. 


Source: IDC
PANEL DISCUSSION
The key takeaway from the Town Hall discussion is that there has been a significant and important shift in just the past year or so and the momentum is building.  
PanelGroup.jpg
Key Highlights:

  1. Ad format evolution taking place: From advertising that offers player rewards, value exchange video advertising, rich media creative, branded content and more native integration—ads on games are becoming less aggravating—and more frictionless. 
    • There is an overall increased acceptance of advertising among users when advertising is executed in a way that brings value to their experience, is contextually relevant, delivered in a format that is visually appealing or synergistic to their mobile experience. Benjani highlighted inMobi’s focus on “working with studios and brands to create deeply integrated native ad experiences to connect advertisers to audiences globally.”
    • Emotional targeting that is additive to game play (creating value exchange between advertiser and user) tapping into players’ emotions and serving ads in the right place at the right time with the right message is a win for both advertisers and consumers. This allows the brand to be a welcome “hero” for the player, taking part in the user experience and offering players rewards during moments of “achievement” or tips at points of “frustration.” 
    • “In-game advertising is the only way brand marketers can reach and reward, encourage and rescue players in a way that adds value to the user experience. For example, during Breakthrough Moments™ (BTMs™), brands can reach game players during moments of “achievement,” such as when they get a new high score or a longest jump. With this approach, people will reciprocate the brand’s gift and take a post ad action—such as purchase a product or visit a website—and further engage with the brand, giving marketers a unique way to make lasting, meaningful connections with people,” said Brandt.
  1. Increasing focus on brand metrics: As Lewis noted, CPM, CPC, CPA and CPV all have some traction in mobile games, but increasingly, better brand metrics, analytics and real-time decisioning are changing the way effectiveness is measured. “Keep in mind as to where your ads are running as not all impressions are equal. If your primary KPI is to deliver a positive brand experience and association, look at where the ad is running and ask if you were playing this game - would you feel interrupted by or helped by this advertisement? User experience is at the paramount of successfully advertising on mobile and simply porting over outdated ad units and placements from display advertising is not enough. These are personal experiences on mobile and the key is tailor advertising to match this new medium”, said O’Connor.
  2. More options for developers and advertisers: From in-app to HTML5, more options are emerging for game developers and advertisers to foster “native” experiences. Grossberg added: “Brands are also beginning to leverage HTML5 to create their own mobile web games (the game is the advertising!) to engage their target audience at scale through this preferred activity on mobile, and do so in a cost effective manner in a way that fosters social and viral growth.”
Mobile game integration is a reality and has become industry standard for marketers.  The IAB Games Committee is  finalizing a white paper titled “The Games Advertising Ecosystem” report which is intended to help the industry understand today’s game play, the core game types and advertising categories for marketers to reach consumers.  Stay tuned!

About the Author

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Kym Nelson

Kym Nelson serves as an IAB Games Committee Co-Chair and is Senior Vice President of Sales at Twitch TV, the world’s largest live-streaming video platform. In this role since May, 2013, she has created Twitch Media Group, launching an inside, direct-sales media group at Twitch. She is responsible for creating and leading a world-class sales organization that delivers completely new and innovative digital solutions on a platform that is spearheading digital media as we know it today. 

DCNF_logo_square_2014.jpg

In this, the first installment of the blog series, IAB asks 2014 Digital Content NewFronts founders and presenters to explore the relationship between digital video and traditional television, by answering the question:

In what ways do you see digital video filling in gaps that are being created in classic TV and/or creating new information and entertainment modalities?

Jack Bamberger, Head of Agency and Industry Relations, AOL

I don’t look at it as digital video filling gaps verses classic TV. We look at it as connecting it all. This is about connecting advertisers, creators, publishers, consumers, and really the connecting of digital and TV. That is what we see as the future, and that’s what were very, very excited about building toward with AOL video. This is about connecting, nothing more, and in fact, the theme of our NewFront this year is “Connected.” Because that’s really what it’s all about. It’s about all of this convergence that’s going on. It’s about cross-screen. We don’t even use the word “mobile” at AOL. We use the words “cross-screen”, because we look at this holistically. As an example, AOL is on 17 different over-the-top devices. I only see that number increasing. 

Ben Dietz, VP Sales & Business Development, VICE Media 

Broadcast TV, by definition, has to be broad in its appeal. Digital video, because it can be made inexpensively and it can be made by niche groups, means we can tell everyone’s story. We can tell stories that are the most compelling, not just the most widely appealing. Second, digital video can be used in conjunction with other technologies to tell a new kind of multi-layered story… Digital video allows us to incorporate social; it allows us to incorporate events; it allows us to incorporate disparate personalities in a way that the broadcast medium and linear formats don’t. For our partner AT&T we made a film called The Network Diaries. It’s based on a true-life event that’s brought to life as a scripted recreation. If you text in a short code prior to the film’s beginning, you get text messages that correspond to developments in the film

Jason Krebs, Head of Sales, and Erin McPherson, Chief Content Officer, Maker Studios

Krebs: There are new connection points with consumers. But it’s also just as much about the technology and the screens. People are walking around with them in their pockets and their backpacks, so the combination of those two things became very important. Then, something that not a lot of people talk about is you really couldn’t get what was on your TV on the screen in your pocket. 

Logos.jpgMcPherson: The way digital is filling gaps is very nuanced. One, the move to digital by consumers is keeping pace with the massive platform shift to mobile. Two, there’s a new genre that digital captured and that’s short-form. Short-form content and storytelling is something that was born really on digital platforms, and it’s become a major consumption point especially for younger audiences. They are playlisting content in the way we all playlist music. And short-form storytelling is really coming into its own as a genre. So there is the mobile shift. There is short-form. There’s video on-demand. Digital really enables non-linear viewing and on-demand viewing in targeted way that tradition television cannot. 

Jonathan Perelman, GM of Video & VP Agency Strategy, BuzzFeed

Digital video is different than television, and the advertising that works on each platform is very different. At BuzzFeed just about 50% of our video views come on a mobile device. What we believe is that we can create really compelling videos, and we do create really compelling videos. We can do that for brands as well, and we’ve done that. So what’s interesting to me is to look at ways that brands can tell great stories using video that’s different from television. It really focuses all on sharing. You think about why someone will not only engage with video meaning to watch it but also then ultimately to share it. I think that’s the highest marker, saying, “I like this, you’ll like it.”

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts
Each year, thousands of people attend the Digital Content NewFronts to witness great new original video content, learn marketing best practices, and hear headline-grabbing announcements about partnerships that will change the course of the digital medium. This powerful series of presentations proves that digital video is the right place for brands to engage with consumers because consumers are engaging with digital video. Presenters include AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo, and more. Learn More & See Schedule

IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace, Spotlight: Video, May 15, 2014
If you’re interested in digital video, IAB is bringing together thought leaders from both brands and agencies for the IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace. We’ll reveal how the buy and sell side are partnering to develop, deploy, and evaluate the success of multi-screen/multi-channel content and brand experiences, and the increasingly powerful role video is playing in this revolution. Learn More & See Agenda

DCNF_logo_square_2014.jpg

In this, the first installment of the blog series, IAB asks 2014 Digital Content NewFronts founders and presenters to explore the relationship between digital video and traditional television, by answering the question:

In what ways do you see digital video filling in gaps that are being created in classic TV and/or creating new information and entertainment modalities?

Jack Bamberger, Head of Agency and Industry Relations, AOL

I don’t look at it as digital video filling gaps verses classic TV. We look at it as connecting it all. This is about connecting advertisers, creators, publishers, consumers, and really the connecting of digital and TV. That is what we see as the future, and that’s what were very, very excited about building toward with AOL video. This is about connecting, nothing more, and in fact, the theme of our NewFront this year is “Connected.” Because that’s really what it’s all about. It’s about all of this convergence that’s going on. It’s about cross-screen. We don’t even use the word “mobile” at AOL. We use the words “cross-screen”, because we look at this holistically. As an example, AOL is on 17 different over-the-top devices. I only see that number increasing. 

Ben Dietz, VP Sales & Business Development, VICE Media 

Broadcast TV, by definition, has to be broad in its appeal. Digital video, because it can be made inexpensively and it can be made by niche groups, means we can tell everyone’s story. We can tell stories that are the most compelling, not just the most widely appealing. Second, digital video can be used in conjunction with other technologies to tell a new kind of multi-layered story… Digital video allows us to incorporate social; it allows us to incorporate events; it allows us to incorporate disparate personalities in a way that the broadcast medium and linear formats don’t. For our partner AT&T we made a film called The Network Diaries. It’s based on a true-life event that’s brought to life as a scripted recreation. If you text in a short code prior to the film’s beginning, you get text messages that correspond to developments in the film

Jason Krebs, Head of Sales, and Erin McPherson, Chief Content Officer, Maker Studios

Krebs: There are new connection points with consumers. But it’s also just as much about the technology and the screens. People are walking around with them in their pockets and their backpacks, so the combination of those two things became very important. Then, something that not a lot of people talk about is you really couldn’t get what was on your TV on the screen in your pocket. 

Logos.jpgMcPherson: The way digital is filling gaps is very nuanced. One, the move to digital by consumers is keeping pace with the massive platform shift to mobile. Two, there’s a new genre that digital captured and that’s short-form. Short-form content and storytelling is something that was born really on digital platforms, and it’s become a major consumption point especially for younger audiences. They are playlisting content in the way we all playlist music. And short-form storytelling is really coming into its own as a genre. So there is the mobile shift. There is short-form. There’s video on-demand. Digital really enables non-linear viewing and on-demand viewing in targeted way that tradition television cannot. 

Jonathan Perelman, GM of Video & VP Agency Strategy, BuzzFeed

Digital video is different than television, and the advertising that works on each platform is very different. At BuzzFeed just about 50% of our video views come on a mobile device. What we believe is that we can create really compelling videos, and we do create really compelling videos. We can do that for brands as well, and we’ve done that. So what’s interesting to me is to look at ways that brands can tell great stories using video that’s different from television. It really focuses all on sharing. You think about why someone will not only engage with video meaning to watch it but also then ultimately to share it. I think that’s the highest marker, saying, “I like this, you’ll like it.”

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts
Each year, thousands of people attend the Digital Content NewFronts to witness great new original video content, learn marketing best practices, and hear headline-grabbing announcements about partnerships that will change the course of the digital medium. This powerful series of presentations proves that digital video is the right place for brands to engage with consumers because consumers are engaging with digital video. Presenters include AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, Yahoo, and more. Learn More & See Schedule

IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace, Spotlight: Video, May 15, 2014
If you’re interested in digital video, IAB is bringing together thought leaders from both brands and agencies for the IAB Cross-Screen Marketplace. We’ll reveal how the buy and sell side are partnering to develop, deploy, and evaluate the success of multi-screen/multi-channel content and brand experiences, and the increasingly powerful role video is playing in this revolution. Learn More & See Agenda

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



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 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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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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On May 31, Kevin Conroy, the President of Digital and Enterprise Development for Univision Communications, one of the largest premium Hispanic media companies in the United States, wrote a heartfelt plea in Advertising Age titled, “The Third-Party Cookie Divide Is Debilitating the Industry.”  Pegged to the controversy aroused by the Mozilla Corporation’s announcement that it intended to block third-party cookies by default, Mr. Conroy correctly noted that “third-party cookies are not all bad or all good.”

“The companies behind these controversial tools are established members of the digital-advertising supply chain that provide an array of services, and their relationships with other industry participants should not be defined or determined with one broad stroke,” he added. “All-or-nothing proclamations and actions on this matter represent a dangerous over-simplification that’s creating conflict and putting the industry at risk. This face-off must be replaced with thoughtful and productive discussion recognizing the subtleties of the marketplace, the individual interests of businesses, and the true north that all parties invested in this discord and its resolution share: the desire to deliver value to consumers that is dependent upon trust, comfort and control over their privacy.”

We have taken Mr. Conroy’s admonitions to heart, not just because he is a member of the IAB’s Board of Directors, but because he is right. Conversation is better than isolation; negotiations trump obstinacy; “win-win” is preferable to “you lose.” So we were heartened when Mozilla executives started reaching out to advertising, media, and ad technology industry companies, professing to want to include them among the stakeholder groups whose opinions matter as Mozilla goes about reconfiguring its Firefox browser, which controls 20 percent of the world’s access to the Internet.

Unfortunately, a review of Mozilla’s latest scheme for blocking third party cookies shows it to be worse than its earlier proposals. While Mozilla executives say they are taking in criticism from multiple stakeholders, the company’s own statements and explanations indicate that Mozilla is making extreme value judgments with extraordinary impact on the digital supply chain, securing for itself a significant gatekeeper position in which it and its handpicked minions will be able to determine which voices gain distribution and which do not on the Internet. 

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The Cookied Web

Third-party cookies are an essential part of the Internet content supply chain, and date to the earliest days of the commercial Web, in the mid-1990s. Stored inside a user’s Web browser, they help the browser remember the user’s previous activity. While first-party cookies, as Wikipedia notes, “are cookies set with the same domain (or its subdomain) as your browser’s address bar,” third-party cookies “are cookies set with domains different from the one shown on the address bar.” 

Although third-party cookies have been controversial mechanisms - their privacy implications, particularly the concern that they could be used to maintain identifiable dossiers of consumers and consumer activities, were subjects of Federal Trade Commission hearings in 1996-1997 - they have been part of the way Internet advertising has been delivered, measured, analyzed, optimized, and compensated for more than 15 years. Were they to be embargoed tomorrow, billions of dollars in Internet advertising and hundreds of thousands of jobs dependent on it would disappear.

On June 19, Mozilla - which is both a nonprofit foundation and a for-profit corporation - announced a new plan for blocking third-party cookies in Internet content distribution. In collaboration with Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, it said it would establish a “Cookie Clearinghouse,” a body that would “develop and maintain an ‘allow list’ and ‘block list’ to help Internet users make privacy choices as they move through the Internet.”

The Cookie Clearinghouse replaced Mozilla’s earlier concept for controlling the use of third-party cookies: a patch to its Firefox browser which essentially would have blocked all third-party cookies except those specifically allowed by the user. After an uproar from Internet advertising and retail organizations, including the IAB, Mozilla put that plan on hold, announcing that it produced too many “false positives” and “false negatives.”  Specifically, it would block third-party domains even if they share the same owner and operator as a primary domain - an almost pure act of business interference - and failed to block cookies on sites users went to by accident. Mozilla Chief Technology Officer Brendan Eich said “the only credible alternative” to the blunt, poorly designed Firefox patch was “a centralized block-list.”

Centralized solutions may, in fact, be necessary to improve performance, user control, and the safety of the Internet advertising and media supply chain.

We believe the “open source” Internet advertising supply chain, while a foundation for enormous innovation, also introduces vulnerabilities into the advertising and media ecosystem, and we are eager to work with legitimate participants to improve the functioning and safety of this supply chain.  IAB already participates in several such centralized solutions. A prominent one is the Digital Advertising Alliance’s self-regulatory program for online behavioral advertising. This program allows consumers to see how they are being tracked online and by which advertising-related companies, and to selectively opt in and opt out of such tracking. In February 2012, Jon Leibowitz, the then-Chair of the FTC, called the DAA program “a significant step forward.”  Today, trillions of ad impressions a year carry the DAA’s notification icon; millions of consumers have clicked on it and visited the DAA’s Aboutads.info site; and hundreds of thousands have opted in and out of various forms of targeting via the DAA program.

And just this week, the White House praised another IAB initiative, our Quality Assurance Guidelines, a centralized compliance program that, among other things, will help combat the piracy of intellectual property in digital advertising environments.

So our initial opposition to the new Mozilla announcement was not based on hostility to centralized solutions. It was based on our skepticism about Mozilla’s motives and with its ability to follow through on its commitments.

Anti-Business Bias

Mozilla executives say they are not opposed to advertising. Indeed, at the same time the organization is threatening to choke off the ability of Long Tail publishers to monetize their advertising inventory, it is  testing the market for a new advertising product of its own - a suspicious confluence of events, to say the least.

But that aside, the company’s civic positioning and public character are heavily freighted with antipathy toward advertising and the commercial Internet. For example, Mozilla is the world’s largest distributor of Adblock Plus, a browser add-on that impedes advertising delivery on the Internet. Adblock Plus boasts nearly 15 million Firefox users, and is the browser’s no. 1 add-on by far, with more than twice as many users as its no. 2 add-on, Video Download Helper.

Like the piracy of music and movies online, ad blocking appears to be a victimless endeavor, but in fact is a possibly illegal activity that deprives a cascading chain of legitimate enterprises of income. In some markets, Adblock Plus is responsible for stopping as much as 50 percent of mainstream publishers’ ads, significantly harming their revenue stream. For small publishers, the effect is devastating. Niero Gonzalez, the proprietor of the gamer site Destructoid.com and a member of the IAB’s Long Tail Alliance, says that half his users are blocking ads. “This means we’re working twice as hard as ever to sustain our company,” he has written.

When asked about this, Mozilla executives give a figurative shrug and say they are merely responding to their users’ interests, and that Firefox add-ons are community contributions, about which Mozilla does not pass moral judgments.  But of course, this is, at best, a rationalization, and perhaps wholly disingenuous. Like all organizations, Mozilla makes choices and passes judgments every day, which reflect the organization’s values. Mozilla’s active, prominent promotion of Adblock Plus suggests a value system hostile to advertising and the businesses and people dependent on it. If the organization felt strongly about the economic impact of ad blocking on small Web publishers and retailers, it could curb it - or at least cease aiding and abetting it.

An organization’s values also are represented by those with whom it chooses to associate. Here again, Mozilla’s values reflect an aversion toward advertising and the consumer economy to which it is central. The Cookie Clearinghouse launched by Mozilla with Stanford is led by Aleecia M. McDonald, the Director of Privacy at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society. Dr. McDonald co-chaired the Worldwide Web Consortium’s Tracking Protection Working Group, a body that was supposed to join stakeholders from industry, academic institutions, NGOs, and regulators in developing standards for browser-based mechanisms to enable users to opt out of tracking. Dr. McDonald’s leadership of the group was widely perceived as unsuccessful, in no small part because of her Manichaean point of view that pits privacy interests against business interests, and her impatience with alternative perspectives on the W3C Task Force.  Last July, for example, she said, “Whatever standard the W3C produces will put a number of third parties out of business, but that is okay because that will be a good day for privacy.”  Only since her departure from the W3C has the body managed to struggle closer to a consensus standard.

Dr. McDonald’s insensitivity was on display again last month, when she chose an anti-business extremist for the Advisory Board of her Clearinghouse - Jonathan Mayer, the Stanford graduate student who designed the cookie-blocking patch, and whose intemperate public opposition to the ad industry, consensus-generating processes, and stakeholder negotiations led Mozilla, in a May industry forum, to publicly disavow its connections to him. That Mozilla would subsequently turn to such people to lead a body that will make decisions regarding the life and death of businesses is an indication of the organization’s indifference to the economic stakes involved in its efforts to unilaterally reconfigure the Internet advertising supply chain.

But at least as telling as the presence of anti-business radicals on Mozilla’s “cookie court” is who and what is absent. There are no publishers on it - the people whose livelihoods depend on the sale of digital advertising. There are no executives from ad networks - the companies that are almost solely responsible for helping small publishers earn any income. There are no executives from brand marketers, ad agencies, retailers, e-tailers, or ad technology companies - not a single representative from an ecosystem responsible for creating 5.1 million jobs in and contributing $530 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

In light of this criticism, Mozilla may lean on Stanford to change the composition of its Cookie Clearinghouse, but that alone cannot change the character or complexion of Mozilla or the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, which appear to be those of elitist organizations that hide under the shield of populism to make value judgments about who is worthy of earning a living in the digital age.

The Atomized Individual

We saw this anti-business value system reflected again in the operating details Mozilla has begun to unveil for its Cookie Clearinghouse. These specifics have been doled out sparingly in blog posts and in a sparsely attended discussion Mozilla convened on July 2 at its San Francisco headquarters.

At first blush, Mozilla’s ideology seems inarguable. “We simply believe that when personal data is collected to deliver these [personalized Internet] services, the collection should be done respectfully and with the consent of the consumer,” the company said on its Mozilla Blog on May 10. Its decision to block third-party cookies by default was made “to strike a better balance between personalized ads and the tracking of users across the Web without their consent.” 

Seemingly benign, Mozilla’s ideology is weighted down with counter-historical presumptions. The entire marketing-media ecosystem has subsisted on purchase-behavior data and other forms of research being available without individuals’ consent. R.L. Polk & Co. receives automotive ownership data from some 240 sources, including state governments, auto manufacturers, and financing companies, to create profiles of nearly every vehicle on the road and the people driving them. This data has been central both to the health of the auto industry and to improvements in cars, driving, and auto safety over the years.  

U.S. Census data, too, is a foundation of U.S. economic development. The U.S. Census Bureau maintains a site full of case studies describing how this most personalized data source of all can be used by businesses that want to “gauge the competition,” “calculate market share,” “locate business markets,” “design sales territories and set sales quotas,” and engage in myriad other activities. Not only is this use of anonymous, personal data central to the American economy - it is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Were such sources of data suddenly to become unavailable - or if they were to shift from default-available to default-closed - whole industries would suffer, and along with them the people they employ and the communities in which they operate.

This is exactly what Mozilla is proposing to do - and what its self-styled libertarian patrons are (paradoxically) urging it to do.

Words like “privacy” and “respect” seem incontestably clear and insistent. Yet they have no single meaning. They are social constructions - and different social constructions have different trade-offs, one of which is the diversity of content, and ideas, on the Internet.

At this moment in the evolution of the Internet, third-party cookies are the technology that makes small publishers economically viable. Their elimination will concentrate ad revenues in a shrinking group of giant media and technology companies. It is incumbent on Mozilla, which claims to defend openness and diversity on the Internet, to reconcile its public values with the diminution in diversity that is bound to occur from its proposed actions.

The Mozillan Ideology

There are four major ideological presumptions underlying Mozilla’s decision to block third-party cookies through its Cookie Clearinghouse:

  • It presumes that blocking third-party cookies by default is better than allowing them by default. 
  • It presumes that an Internet supply chain dependent on a centralized clearinghouse will continue to operate equitably. 
  • It presumes that human involvement only during counter-challenges to the Clearinghouse’s decisions is reasonable and scalable.  
  • It presumes that the establishment of a centralized body to determine which third parties should be exempt from this default behavior is consistent with Mozilla’s mission. 

All of these presumptions are questionable.

Blocking third-party cookies by default is neither better nor worse than allowing them by default- but it does reflect a value judgment which affirms that the sanctity of the individual, in any way he or she chooses, transcends all other values, including important functions of civil society.

Consider, for example, the role of commerce - the freedom to engage in which was a fundamental spark to the American Revolution. Although it may not be as apparent as when a customer enters a physical store, visiting a web site is a commercial act, during which a value exchange occurs.  Consumers receive content, and in exchange are delivered advertising.  The value of the delivered ad is currently calculated based on two essential points of data - where the ad is being delivered, and to whom.  By blocking third-party cookies by default, Mozilla is turning off the anonymized but behaviorally relevant “who” signal, thereby reducing the value of most ads.   The user effectively has been granted a right to engage in a commercial transaction without anyone knowing anything about that transaction, including the other party to the transaction.  This social decision carries costs. By reducing the value of advertising, consumers and businesses will shoulder higher prices, in the form of more ads, more intrusively delivered. Or they will pay more for content. Or they will be asked for more explicitly personal information in return for the content.

The same would be true if another source of prevalent, anonymized, personal data - bar codes and retail scanners - was suddenly embargoed. Costs in the retail supply chain would skyrocket, as stores, distributors, and manufacturers struggle to maintain optimal stocks of goods. No one would benefit - margins would decline everywhere, and consumer prices would rise - but the worthiness of the individual, and his freedom from intrusive inspection of his anonymized toothpaste purchases, would be sanctified.

As the internet becomes further entrenched in modern life, assuring sufficient consumer control grows in importance.  Yet simply flipping a default preference for all consumers does nothing to empower them. Instead, it degrades the opportunities businesses have for delivering conveniently available high quality content, and it promises to raise various kinds of consumption costs on consumers.

Social costs also factor into the equitability of Mozilla’s proposal for a centralized Cookie Clearinghouse. At this time, Mozilla hasn’t made clear the formats for its proposed “block-list” and “accept-list.”  The accept-list is to contain a list of third parties that are exempt from the blanket ban on third-party cookies. This accept-list has two possible implementations of which we are aware:

  1. It could list the domains that are allowed to use cookies in a third party context.  For example, “XYZ can set cookies in a third party context.” 
  2. It could list the domains that are allowed to use cookies in a third party context, and specify which domains on which they are allowed to do so.  For example, “XYZ can set cookies in third party context, but only on ABC and DEF.”  

The first possible implementation introduces a fixed cost to anyone who would want to use third-party cookies for any reason.  This cost would have a higher proportional impact on smaller players, thereby increasing the barriers to entry for new competition.  Depending on the criteria used to evaluate exceptions, this may block several existing business models - those of advertising networks and data brokers, certainly, but also such functions as web analytics, on-page social sharing buttons, and other widgets. 

The second possible implementation introduces significant scaling costs to anyone who would want to use third-party cookies.  It will definitely block social widgets, “share” buttons, “like” buttons, and any other popular business model that depends on user interactions with cookies while the user is away from the first-party “proprietor” site.  At best, the centralized clearinghouse skews towards the incumbent, reducing the opportunity for small innovators to gain a foothold and compete.  At worst, it completely eliminates certain business models. 

Another troublesome, complex, and socially costly feature of Mozilla’s Cookie Clearinghouse involves the use of human intervention to determine which cookie-settings are acceptable and which are not. As currently drafted, the clearinghouse proposes an automated handling of most requests through a “challenge” process, and a manual handling of any contested request through a “counter-challenge” process.  This is troubling, for it empowers unscrupulous actors to leverage the clearinghouse as a tool for disruption of service and to gain competitive advantages.  Specifically, without human oversight, the following situations may occur:

  • An attacker can counter-challenge the exception for a legitimate third party, thereby temporarily blocking the ability of that third party to set cookies. 
  • Multiple attackers can counter-challenge a wide range of legitimate third parties, thereby overloading the staff of the Cookie Clearinghouse, further damaging those legitimate third parties. 
  • Multiple attackers can file challenges as well as counter-challenges to those same challenges, to further increase the workload of the Cookie Clearinghouse staff. 
  • An unscrupulous actor can indicate that it is a legitimate third party, thereby gaining the ability to set third party cookies, and can then migrate to a new domain as soon as a counter-challenge is raised. If done in tandem with a persistent attack on the ability of the Cookie Clearinghouse staff to review counter-challenges, this advantage may be longstanding. 

The creation of a centralized, automated “toggle” exposes all web sites that depend on third party resources to potential disruption.  However, staffing to validate each and every challenge manually is not feasible, either.  By attempting to enhance individual isolationism on the Web, Mozilla could instead turn it into a bureaucratic war zone of competing interests.

Firefox’s Henhouse

For years, Mozilla has portrayed itself as one of the good actors on the Wild West of the Web - a digital Jimmy Stewart out to tame the evil-doing Liberty Valance’s of the virtual world, making it safe for the citizenry to raise barns and families and towns.  “Our mission,” Mozilla proclaims, “is to promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web.”

Underlying this mission is a declaration of sorts, something the California foundation labels “The Mozilla Manifesto.” Among its 10 principles are:

2.       2. The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible

6.       6. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.

The creation of a centralized gate to participation in the digital economy seems to run counter to the goals of an open, accessible, decentralized Internet.  Deciding centrally what is best for consumers - and rendering explicit judgments that individual isolationism is preferable to a diversity of information on the Internet - appears to defy Mozilla’s charter.

Perhaps worse is the organization’s blindness to its own potential, as it evolves inside a cocoon spun by techno-libertarians and academic elites who believe in liberty and freedom for all, as long as they get to decide the definitions of liberty and freedom. By dealing exclusively with the issue of controls around cookies, Mozilla is missing a great opportunity to talk about the options for identity management and safety in a larger scope.  A solution that empowers consumer choice in both the mobile OS and desktop browser spaces would bring significantly more value to all involved parties, and allow Mozilla to promote thought leadership with its nascent Mobile OS.

We’d like to work with Mozilla and other browser makers to get there. In fact, Mozilla should consider this an open, public invitation to join the IAB. We’ll even waive its annual dues for the first year, just to get its people participating in what we do and understanding more deeply the concerns of the digital advertising industry. The same goes for the browser teams at Apple, Google, and Microsoft. These companies already are members of the IAB, some of them highly participatory, but their browser teams remain generally uninvolved in what we do. We are looking to these browser makers, and the other would-be gatekeepers of the Internet, to work with us to resolve a critical social, economic, and cultural dilemma - how to balance the desire for privacy with the value of cultural diversity. 

Unfortunately, the new proposal from Mozilla is not that resolution. Rather, it and other browser makers continue to fight their solo war against each other, leaving the rest of us as potential collateral damage.

So to summarize, here’s what we would like to see from Mozilla:

  • Block the ad-blockers, and turn your backs on those who delight in destroying others’ livelihoods.
  • Don’t align yourself with individuals and groups whose history shows them unwilling to strive for consensus among multiple stakeholder groups.
  • Strive to protect user privacy and anonymity, but understand that these are different than user isolationism.
  • Show publishers, agencies, and marketers that you care about their businesses, and work toward solutions that help content get distributed and fairly compensated.
  • Elevate the diversity of Web content to your highest value of all. And work with us to achieve it.


About the Author
sp_rothenberg_randall_100x134.jpgRandall Rothenberg

Randall Rothenberg is President and Chief Executive Officer, Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Last week, after a round of visits with advertising organizations and private declarations that its cookie-blocking plan was not a “done deal,” Mozilla Foundation, the lucrative nonprofit whose Firefox browser controls 20 percent of the world’s access to the Web, launched a new proposal to “address privacy concerns related to third party cookies in a rational, trusted, transparent and consistent manner.”

But Mozilla’s “Cookie Clearinghouse”  is neither new nor a proposal, inasmuch as the no. 2 browser-maker seems hell-bent on implementing on a tight deadline cookie-blocking by fiat. It is not a clearinghouse for cookies - it is a kangaroo cookie court, an arbitrary group determining who can do business with whom.  It replaces the principle of consumer choice with an arrogant “Mozilla knows best” system. It is not “independent,” as Mozilla claims, but is stocked with self-interested academic elites with whom Mozilla has long histories. Nor is it rational, trusted, or transparent, as I will describe below. 

kangaroo_cookie_cutter.jpg

But oh, is it consistent - consistent with the history of large technology providers with substantial market shares wielding the indisputably virtuous concept of “consumerism” as a weapon to fight competitive battles. These browser warriors are indifferent to the collateral damage they might create among the small publishers, retailers, and other businesses that employ more than 5 million Americans, account for 3.7 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, and define the Internet’s richness and diversity.

In February 2012, the IAB and the other groups comprising the Digital Advertising Alliance agreed eagerly with the White House and the Federal Trade Commission to work with the major browser companies to honor browser-based choice for the DAA Principles - principles that underlie a successful self-regulatory mechanism to enable consumers to manage their data in digital environments, including the management of third-party cookies. That agreement, which involved several stakeholder groups, earned praise from the Obama Administration, the Commerce Department, and the FTC. It contrasted sharply with the ongoing challenges experienced by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), the NGO that manages the Internet’s underlying technical standards, in developing similar consensus-based consumer-choice mechanisms for the management of data, privacy, and “do not track” options.

Mozilla’s “Cookie Court” is just another blatant attempt by a powerful tech company to destabilize efforts by multiple stakeholders to reach consensus about how lives and livelihoods should be aligned in the Internet era. Mozilla is reassembling the players whose inexperience and antipathy to negotiation and consensus have subverted the early W3C processes. Its members have blithely gloated about their willingness to “put a number of third parties out of business.” They include technological totalitarians who dismiss negotiations with the haughty declaration that “it’s very difficult to see a long-term consensus approach,” and who equate corporate imposition of “the technologies at the browsers’ disposal” with “the consumers’ side.” 

We admit we were hopeful when Mozilla proffered that its new system for managing cookies would make exceptions for “sites complying with DAA opt-out and supporting DNT.” But its proposal does nothing of the sort. Hundreds of companies, representing thousands of Web sites, belong to the DAA program; yet their advertising will be peremptorily blocked by Mozilla’s system.  Tens of millions of consumers who have visited the DAA site and affirmatively opted to do nothing — effectively choosing to allow ads relevant to them to be delivered — will find their choice sabotaged.  And Mozilla’s argument that sites “supporting DNT” may still be able to deliver relevant advertising is disingenuous.  Since there is not yet a consensus definition for DNT - partly because Mozilla allies have so mismanaged or undermined the process for reaching consensus - it’s not currently possible for sites to support it. 

Worse, there is nothing in the Mozilla system that recognizes, let alone offers solutions for, the particular needs of the many thousands of small publishers and retailers that depend on the Internet supply chain and the third-party cookies that, however imperfectly, are a central component of it. By making it punishingly difficult for advertisers to reach highly engaged audience segments through small publishers dependent on this third-party-cookie supply chain, Mozilla’s new system will prompt marketers to concentrate their ad buys among a tiny handful of giant Internet companies that dominate the deployment of first-party cookies. This fear has led almost one thousand “long tail” Internet companies to sign a petition asking Mozilla to reconsider its determination to block third-party cookies by decree.

The open-source Internet supply chain is a wellspring of strength; it has fostered one of the greatest fast waves of economic and cultural innovation in modern history. It is also a source of weakness, because it creates vulnerabilities in securing individuals’ and companies’ data and in assuring their desire to keep certain activities and interests private. But acknowledging and correcting for those weaknesses doesn’t require taking a blunt sledgehammer and destroying the digital supply chain. Rather, we need rational, consensus solutions that will meet all major stakeholders’ needs.

That Mozilla doesn’t understand this is unsurprising. After all, it represents nobody. It is part of a global distribution cartel whose members have been in a perpetual state of war with each other for 15 years. Browser makers should not be dictating the kind of economic and cultural policies Mozilla is trying to implement any more than television set manufacturers should be deciding which shows make it to your home.

The IAB, our constituents, and our partners in the DAA, have engaged in a serious effort to participate in consensus-building around the complex issues of protecting consumer choice and privacy while enabling the commercial activity that supports a diverse and robust internet.  We welcome other serious participants. We do not welcome Mozilla’s proposed kangaroo court led by the very people who have thwarted consensus in the past … and who have evinced not an iota of concern for the publishers, small businesses, and hundreds of thousands of people that depend on Internet advertising for their livelihood.

About the Author
sp_rothenberg_randall_100x134.jpgRandall Rothenberg


Randall Rothenberg is President and Chief Executive Officer, Interactive Advertising Bureau. 

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