Results tagged “Networks & Exchanges” from IABlog

When I was learning to drive, my instructor told me that anyone could be a great driver if they were in the only car on the road. It’s all the other cars that make it hard. A similar dynamic has happened in the ad technology landscape. When the supply chain was just networks and exchanges, it was easy to be a pro at delivering digital ads. Yet, in the past few years, this ecosystem has become congested with all sorts of players. The resulting complexity has made it more challenging than ever to make business decisions. It’s become hard to be a good driver in the digital landscape.


For buyers and sellers, it’s become harder to know if you’re doing the right thing. You have more tools to optimize your stake than ever before, but this abundance of opportunities for improvement has created an uncomfortable level of uncertainty. How do you know you’ve built the right stack? Are you sure all of your providers will work together efficiently? Will they integrate with your established systems? If you’re a buyer, are you sure that your providers’ data segmentations are aligned? Do you know where your ad is going to run and that it’s brand safe? If you’re a seller, is your proprietary data adequately protected and, at the same time, well leveraged? Is your inventory being properly valued? Do either of you feel confident you made the best possible deal? I doubt it.

Four years ago, when we launched the IAB Networks & Exchanges Marketplace, networks and exchanges were the primary intermediaries between advertiser and publisher. An agency would go to a network, buy space across specific publishers, target particular demographics, and run ads across those websites. Today a transaction regularly incorporates DSPs, SSPs, retargeters, data aggregators, and more. The primary relationship is no longer between the agency and publisher or even between the agency, the network-exchange and the publisher. It is now likely that there are dozens of players in the mix.

In addition, industry-wide issues like consumer privacy protections and the upcoming tectonic shift of the viewable impression are real and changing the way all parties do business. The guiding light of providing engaging, breakthrough consumer experiences can easily become hidden behind all of these pressing matters. We can’t afford for that to happen.

This is why the IAB Networks & Exchanges Marketplace has evolved to become the IAB Ad Technology Marketplace. On June 21, 2012, participants from across the supply chain will converge at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in New York City to address the impact of technology on the industry. On stage, industry leaders will break down case studies and explain all of the partnerships that operate between brand and publisher, describing how the wheels turn. Speakers will provide insights into the future of programmatic buying for the burgeoning sectors of video and mobile, will demystify the phenomenon of private exchanges, and will delve into the enduring issue of attribution. Need-to-know best practices for big data usage and control as well as consumer protections will be explored. Bringing all of these topics to the forefront and having an open discussion about these advancements will propel us toward more clarity and shared understanding. Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or a technology provider, it will help make even your boldest business-building decisions safer and more assured.

Buying and selling is the bedrock of our industry; it is the responsibility of the IAB to protect interactive advertising’s effectiveness while nurturing and responding to its development. The reframing of the IAB Ad Technology Marketplace is just one of our efforts to do just that. I hope you’ll join us, and I wish you all safe driving.

About the Author

Patrick Dolan

Patrick Dolan

Patrick Dolan is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Mr. Dolan is responsible for finance, operation, costs, compliance, and risk management. In addition, he works closely with the rest of the executive management team to supervise strategy and revenue optimization. He can be reached on Twitter at @patrickdolan.


The Challenge of Self Governance: An Experiment in Herding Cats

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I have always been a fan of the expression, “As easy as herding cats.” The visualization of a cowboy riding horseback, while trying to keep a ‘herd’ of felines all headed in the same direction never fails to bring me a smile. I guess there is just something amusing about imagining a serious and earnest attempt to achieve what every rational person would think was not possible. And yet, I am also drawn to the expression, “Nothing worth doing is easily done.” For three years the members of IAB Networks & Exchanges Committee, charged with drafting and evangelizing the committee’s Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG), have lived at the confluence of these two expressions.

A self-imposed set of proposed best practices for ad networks and exchanges, the QAG were drafted to assure advertisers a necessary level of transparency into their online advertising placements. The idea is that ‘compliant’ players will wear their ‘certification’ as a sort of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, allowing advertisers a way to separate the good eggs from the bad. And, while we know that the QAG initiative must be an ongoing process in order to keep up with a rapidly evolving industry landscape, speaking as a member of the committee, I can certainly say that we are all very proud to have taken this important step toward making the industry more desirable to prominent brand advertising budgets.

As an original member of the committee’s QAG working group, I can testify that committee members often had opposing interests on specific points, and there were any number of ‘grey’ issues to consider and weigh. “What actually constitutes ‘porn’?” “What should constitute ‘direct’ vs. ‘indirect’ relationships with publishers?” And even, “Does a cartoon involving a not-so-clever coyote and a seemly sadistic road-runner constitute ‘animal cruelty’?”

Luckily, the importance of what we were doing won the day, and in June of last year the committee officially unveiled the guidelines.  22 ad networks have already pledged to adopt the new standards of practice and have committed to be fully compliant in early 2011. And now for the next step in self-governance: universal adoption.

Committed to making the display landscape a safe place for scalable brand budgets, I have volunteered, along with my colleague, Matt Boyd, SVP at ValueClick, to co-chair the marketing working group responsible for educating the industry on the importance and significance of the guidelines. We will, of course, evangelize these guidelines to potential compliant companies. And the task of evangelizing to the buyers of ad network inventory will be equally important. Without buyers seeing the value of this initiative—and choosing to work only with compliant networks—the guidelines would end up little more than then the paper they are printed on.

Be on the lookout for our first piece of content, a QAG marketing group produced video, showcasing the people of the committee and their dedication to this project. The video will debut later this month at the upcoming IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in La Quinta. It will document thoughts on the importance of this effort from some of the most active members of the drafting committee.

With the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting as a jumping off point, the marketing workgroup will be executing a number of additional initiatives throughout the year. If you’re an IAB member and would like to participate, please email [email protected] or phone (212) 380-4715. We look forward to your involvement and support.

Much thanks,

Rob Rasko

Rob Rasko is COO & President of CPX Interactive and a member of the IAB Networks & Exchanges Committee.