Results tagged “Programmatic direct” from IABlog

Just the Facts, Please............

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Since releasing the IAB PwC Internet Advertising Revenue Report for the first half of 2013 on October 9, 2013, the IAB has seen misconceptions about the report, mostly centered on programmatic. Speculation about why the report does not cover programmatic revenue came from a highly esteemed and particularly smart writer and editor. We’ve seen guesstimates of programmatic’s contribution to overall interactive ad revenue based on the IAB numbers.

Why we do not report programmatic buying revenue

There are two primary reasons for not breaking out programmatic revenue in the IAB PwC Internet Advertising Revenue Report:

  1. The industry has yet to reach a consensus on how to define programmatic buying, spend and selling.  If we cannot define it, how can we collect credible revenue information?  Does anyone really expect that a revenue bucket or a spend bucket that has not yet been clearly defined is being accurately tracked by any of the entities we would have to get the information from?

  2. Programmatic is a FORM of selling.  It is not a format or medium of distribution.  Currently and throughout its history, the IAB/PWC report has explored formats and mediums; it’s never looked at selling mechanisms.

Guesstimates of programmatic revenue based on the IAB PwC report are not sound

Based on how the revenue data are collected and how they are reported, it is simply not possible to estimate programmatic ‘s contribution to growth in overall revenue.  This would be true even if we had an agreed upon definition of programmatic to use in order to make inferences.  That is why we do not engage in speculation about how much programmatic contributes to spend in the official report. 

It is PwC that independently collects the data and authors the report on behalf of the industry and the IAB.  It is PwC that is charged with maintaining the quality of the data collection and reporting. And it is both PwC and IAB that consistently opt to be rigorous on methods and in reporting.

It would be irresponsible to include guesstimates in the official, published revenue report.  It would also be inadequate to release the report without providing context.  That is precisely why we host a well- attended webinar with our members and members of the press together to hear the revenue numbers from the report along with context from PwC, the IAB and a guest speaker.  This occurs twice a year to coincide with the releases of the half yearly and the annual reports.  Contrary to what we’ve heard lately, programmatic has been part of the discussion.  The materials are posted to the IAB site and readily available to all.

IAB activity aimed at understanding programmatic buying: what it is and how it impacts the broader marketplace

Revenue reporting aside, the IAB recognizes that programmatic buying and selling are an important part of our ever evolving marketplace.  In order to serve our members and the larger ecosystem, it is our responsibility to convene thought leaders, experts and practitioners to clarify and illuminate how market forces are operating and changing.

We have the following key efforts underway in the programmatic arena. 

In July, we convened the IAB Publishers Programmatic Task Force, a group of 40 publishers working to identify the issues surrounding programmatic selling and understand which ones can have actionable solutions through consensus. 

In September 2013 we released a programmatic terminology piece that explains the four dominant methods of selling programmatically entitled, Digital Simplified: Programmatic and Automation - The Publishers’ Perspective.

On the technical side, the Digital Advertising Automation Task Force is working to standardize, implement, & support adoption of common datasets for IOs, media plans & invoices.  The Open RTB & Exchanges Working Group supports the development of OpenRTB specifications.

The IAB regularly holds Town Hall meetings where different ecosystem players convene to discuss and debate some of the bigger challenges we all face.  These town halls provide inspiration for many solutions that ultimately make our businesses better.  Coming soon is a Town Hall on programmatic selling and buying.

Will the IAB add revenue reporting capabilities?

Yes. We will be trying to supplement revenue reporting so that we capture dynamics and transactional forms that are outside of the purview of the IAB PwC report. We seek the right way to measure programmatic spend and the support from our members to provide this kind of research.

About the Author


Sherrill Mane

Sherrill Mane is SVP, Research, Analytics and Measurement, at the IAB.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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