Results tagged “advertising” from IABlog

For the past few years IAB has been encouraging companies to invest in their employees by having them take the Sales, Ad Ops and Data certification exams. We’ve been quite successful—over 7,000 applicants so far. But, not surprisingly, we hear objections from time to time. 


There’s one particular pushback that makes no sense to me at all. That’s the statement that certification merely increases the risk of a certified employee looking for a better opportunity somewhere else; in other words, encouraging employees to earn a credential that demonstrates professional capability actually hurts the company.

Or, as leadership specialist Peter Baeklund puts it, when someone says: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave?” the proper response is “What happens if you don’t, and they stay?”

Doesn’t it make sense that people would prefer to work for companies that invest in developing their capabilities and keeping their skill sets relevant through constant learning opportunities? Doesn’t this type of commitment to the employee foster a commitment to the company in return and contribute to a better corporate culture?

There’s no denying that retention is a major problem during the boom times in our industry, but depriving managers of learning and development opportunities isn’t the answer—and it’s definitely not going to help the company either. The only talent issue that’s greater than retention today is leadership; that is, the lack of training programs that target leaders at all levels, but particularly those in the middle.

Nearly half of all Millennials currently have some leadership responsibilities according to a Deloitte study, yet 66% of the companies Deloitte surveyed reported they have weak capabilities when to comes to providing leadership programs for that demographic.

IAB recognizes that not every company can create the type of leadership program that teaches core management skills, foundational understanding of business functions, and basic business and product strategy. And that is why we have created the IAB Digital Leadership Program. This is a new approach to helping managers not only acquire knowledge, but also the skills required to take on the roles and responsibilities that our fast-changing industry requires. This is a program that’s being developed by industry professionals and subject matter experts for industry professionals. The first semester kick off this fall in both a three-day intensive and one night a week classroom format.

I encourage you—as an individual interested in taking responsibility for your own professional growth, or as a team leader who has responsibility for the growth of others—to review the IAB Digital Leadership Program and consider making an extremely worthwhile investment in the development of your staff. If you have any questions just drop us a line at [email protected], we’ll be glad to answer them.

About the Author

Why did IAB prepare an In-Feed Ad Unit Deep Dive?

While the IAB Native Advertising Playbook (12/14) did a great job at identifying the six different types of native ad formats, the IAB Native Advertising Playbook V2 working group* felt it was time to take a deeper dive into the In-Feed Ad Unit Type given the growth and evolution of this ad unit type since the Playbook was written. We wanted to help marketers and agencies understand the variety of creative options available today. Senior industry leaders in the native space were surprisingly consistent in their feedback and recommendations about what should or shouldn’t be included in the Deep Dive Document. The entire Native Advertising and Content Marketing Task Force groups, totaling over 200 companies, were invited to comment on the initial working group draft document. 
 ~ Kayla Wilson, Senior Partner Manager, Global Alliances & Programmatic at InMobi, who served as the lead of the IAB In-Feed Deep Dive Working Group

Why focus on in-feed ads by feed type?

We focused on exploring the most commonly used in-feed ad types found on the three dominant feed types: Content Feeds, Social Feeds, and Product Feeds. Focusing on feed types helps buyers and sellers to have a common framework to assess existing and future opportunities for current and emerging new in-feed ad types on both web and mobile based on their goals. We felt this was important so that marketers and agencies know their creative options for in-feed advertising, particularly as more in-feed ads are served programmatically.
~ Dan Greenberg, Founder and CEO of Sharethrough and co-chair of the IAB Native Advertising Task Force  

This is about best practice guidance and principles, not about being prescriptive.

As both feed and ad formats continue to evolve, this deep dive helps provide a framework for evaluating the in-feed ad opportunities available today. Rather than dictating the exact ad experience, this document is meant to provide example implementations and guidelines on how to remain native within the feed context, ensuring the form and function of the ad align with the feed type to provide the best possible experience. 
~ Graham Harris, Sr. Director, Advanced Creative at Yahoo, co-chair of the IAB Native Advertising Task Force

IAB In-Feed Deep Dive Summary
The below infographic summarizes the possible combinations of the three main feed types and the four main ad types. Again, this is not meant to be prescriptive, but rather a view of potential combinations of the most common feeds and ad types used today. Additional wireframe examples are found in the Deep Dive document.
Deep Dive Infographic.png
The IAB Native Advertising Evaluation Continuum 
IAB Native Advertising Task Force members continue to recommend that marketers and agencies evaluate native advertising options, in-feed or other types, on the IAB five-point criteria as outlined in the original IAB Native Advertising Playbook and included in the Deep Dive.  

And, as always, disclosure remains of paramount importance. As outlined in the IAB Recommended Native Advertising Disclosure Principles, simply put: Regardless of context, a reasonable consumer should be able to distinguish between what is paid advertising vs. what is publisher editorial content.

In-feed ad unit adoption is growing across publisher sites with different ad unit types introduced and/or retired quickly.In addition, feed types are also evolving beyond the three main types (content, social and product), to mixed feed types that have variable aesthetics/content which don’t fall clearly into one bucket. But even with these changes over time, it is important that one thing remain the same and that is the need to evaluate the in-feed ads from the consumer perspective to ensure that they remain native, meaning that they are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.

It is our hope that publishers, marketers and agencies will find this deep dive into in-feed advertising options on different types of feeds to be helpful, particularly as more in-feed ads are served programmatically.  

*IAB acknowledges the Native Advertising Playbook V2 working group members from AdsNative, Bidtellect, Bloomberg, Demand Media, Disney Interactive, Disqus, GumGum, InMobi, Meredith Digital, Mixpo, my6sense, Nativo, OneSpot, Polar, PowerLinks Media, PubMatic, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Selectable Media, Sharethrough, The Daily News, Time Inc., TripleLift, Tumblr and Yahoo, plus the many IAB members of the Native Advertising Task Force who provided thought leadership leading to the final document.  

About the Author

Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives and IAB lead for the Content Marketing and Native Advertising Task Force groups, along with Social Media, B2B and Game Advertising Committees. 
She can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @susanborst


Programmatic Advertising: Fact or Fiction

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IAB’s Head of Brand Initiatives, Peter Minnium talks with Diaz Nesamoney, author of Personalized Digital Advertising: How Data and Technology Are Transforming How We Market, about this new media darling.

The “right message, right person, right place and time” is the oft-cited Holy Grail for digital advertising. While the industry has made great strides in the latter two, driven by an avalanche of tech and data resources, innovation has sorely lagged in the “right message” area. Until recently, brands have been serving 1990s-style ads with 2015 technology. Today, the capabilities exist to raise programmatic media to its full potential with tech-enabled creative - digital ads that pivot away from restrictive ad formats to become data-driven, dynamic canvases. Diaz Nesamoney, CEO and Founder of Jivox, feels so strongly about the potential that he wrote a book on the topic, and we convinced him to share his views.

IAB: As the founder and CEO of a rapidly growing company, you seem to be busy enough; why did you decide to write a book on personalized digital advertising? 

Diaz: For the eight years I’ve been in the digital advertising business, I’ve obsessed about the nearly complete lack of automation and technology applied to creativity. Over the years, there’s been more and more technology coming in to play in some parts of digital advertising, such as media, and woefully missing in others—particularly in the area of creative and delivery of creative. When I was approached by a publisher to publically address this issue, it was too good to be true. I jumped at the chance.

IAB: The first part of the holy trinity for digital advertising - Right Message, Right Person, Right Time - has been neglected for a long time. Why is the emphasis changing now? 

Diaz: The industry’s focus on programmatic buying and selling yielded critical strides forward in terms of scale and efficiency, but took us significantly backward in terms of creativity, suggesting that scale and content were inversely related. Big Data is proving that proposition to be patently false. We now have phenomenal amounts of data to play with as marketers. Two years ago, there was no such thing as a wearable health band, the iWatch, or Nest but now here we are and users are engaging with a plethora of devices that generate all sorts of data. People are willingly offering it in exchange for personalized experiences. So, in one fell swoop, we can change the value proposition of digital advertising and deliver 21st Century creativity at 21st Century scale.

IAB: I am very interested in the second part of this, around the plethora of data that is now available. How do marketers turn this Big Data into actionable signals that tangibly drive creative decisioning and serving? Isn’t that a missing link today? 

Diaz: It is. It’s almost to a point where you can’t listen to a marketing presentation that doesn’t have the words “Big Data” in it. It’s as though data alone will somehow magically make marketing better. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not really the data, in itself, that has value but rather the ability to harness data to create personalization. The missing piece has been data applications — how to tap into data to use it as a trigger. 

IAB: Help me understand the definition of “personalized digital advertising” and how it differs from DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimization)?

Diaz: The idea of creative optimization itself is not new. In the beginning of web advertising, we knew absolutely nothing about users. In fact, the web was all about being anonymous back then; A/B testing was king, i.e., trying different variations of creative, seeing how users respond, and then picking the one that works best. Next, we went to a cookie world in which there was a potential to do something more interesting. This was the birth of DCO. Today, however, we are seeing a significant inflection point: we’re data rich and have a much more complete view of the user, not just “they went to my website and I can re-target them” or optimize creative somehow to perform better—but now I actually know their preferences, where they are and what they’re likely to respond to. So I can craft and scale very precise messaging to them. That is the difference between personalization and DCO: personalization is about having the 360º view of every user, using a broad set of data, and creating unique ad experiences for each of them.

IAB: In your book, you put forth what I think is a very provocative point of view that tailoring your audience to your advertising is less efficient than targeting your media very broadly and tailoring the message to the individual? 

Diaz: Audience targeting is useful up to a point, but the audience segments available today still require a “spray and pray” approach — throwing a lot of stuff out there and hoping something sticks. If you take a single product, such as an automobile for example, you and I could be considering the same car, but end up buying it for entirely different reasons that have to do with our personal tastes, what kind of sports we engage in, and where and how we drive. There are many different things that lead up to our decision to buy, so why should we be marketed to in the exact same way? We both belong to the same audience segment broadly speaking: professional men of a certain age group, but what does that really tell us? If you don’t have any other choice, certainly audience targeting is better than nothing, but I think technology and data are coming together to do better, to say, “This is specifically what we want to tell Peter because we know what Peter likes and what he doesn’t like.” It’s not unlike walking into your favorite restaurant where the maître d’ knows you, knows that you like to sit at the back of the restaurant, knows your favorite drink. You like that. People like that. People these days almost expect it. Technology is allowing us to do it at scale.

IAB: From a practical standpoint, what three things does a marketer or agency need to do, or start doing tomorrow, to take advantage of the capability to truly personalize digital advertising? 

Diaz: First, start small. Yes, you can use many, many data sources and create intricate logic trees, but rather than get caught up in analysis paralysis, first take a small step forward by using whatever you have that’s easily available and go from there. 

Second, embrace technology. Without the automation and the scale, it will end up being an incredibly frustrating experience for everybody involved. This has been the past experience with DCO, which is probably why it hasn’t really come together the way it obviously should have. 

Third, be careful what you measure. DCO was optimized for direct-response and clicks. Personalized advertising can have an impact well beyond these rudimentary actions that have led many to underestimate the value of a relevant, well-timed ad to register in somebody’s mind. Personalized advertising has a broader impact, changing attitudes and perceptions as well as behavior over time. These impacts are harder to measure. I am not saying that they can’t be measured, but rather that we should not be using traditional click metrics to measure the success of personalization.

IAB: Thanks, Diaz, and good luck with your book.

For more information and a deeper dive into programmatic creative, register for “Programmatic Creative: Fact or Fiction,” to be held in the IAB Ad Lab on July 15, 2015, 5-7PM.

About the Author
peter-minnium-headshot.jpgPeter 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.

TV and video media consumption no longer looks quite the same way it did when we tuned in to catch Friends, ER, or Seinfeld (that is…Seinfeld on Thursday nights on NBC, 20 years before Hulu could stream all 9 seasons on demand!). You know this with one glance around your own living room or at the other commuters waiting on the train platform.

Television content consumption that is unmoored from the living room and liberated from a specific broadcasting schedule is quickly becoming the new normal. Advanced TV advertising channels and solutions are playing an increasingly valuable and important role in this new world of VOD, OTT, time-shifting DVRs, connected TV, interactive television (iTV), IPTV, and myriad enhanced cross-device viewing experiences.

As the IAB’s 2015 Advanced TV Industry Primer outlines, now is also a time of unprecedented opportunity and new sources of value for advertisers, for media companies, and even for consumers of digital video and “Advanced TV” content. The technology that underlies Advanced TV content and advertising distribution also affords unheard-of levels of control for advertisers looking to locate and re-aggregate specific audiences, for media publishers looking to derive the highest premiums for their inventory, and for consumers who just want to watch what they like when and where they like… and maybe have a little fun with interactivity or even make a purchase.

Released during today’s IAB Video Marketplace event in NYC, the Advanced TV Industry Primer aims to provide a grounding for both buyers and sellers in what Advanced TV is, why the evolution from linear to Advanced TV is good for everyone, who the players are in the space, and specific opportunities and challenges.

As a teaser, here are some tips to keep in mind when venturing into the world of Advanced TV advertising:

  1. For now, think of Advanced TV as supplemental to the standard broadcast plan. The current scale and capabilities of Advanced TV advertising opportunities are a great supplement to, but not yet a replacement for, your traditional TV buy.
  2. Take advantage of precision targeting, but don’t get too excited about this capability and take it too far. While there is great audience targeting and re-aggregation possible, scale audiences at this time can’t get too specific - e.g. club-footed home-office radiologists in Michigan - or you will lose the ability actually to impact your brand.
  3. The currency of the space is largely impressions-based, for now. But watch this space, so to speak, for evolution in that area. And channel any feedback you have to the IAB regarding currency and measurement needs, as many of these standards and best practices are being worked out at this time.
  4. Multiple modes of distribution mean multiple channel contacts are necessary for planning and buying. It’s still worth it, but be prepared to manage this process.
  5. Agencies should be prepared to allocate additional resources to address the technical needs of Advanced TV and have specific workflow in place.

Download the IAB Advanced TV Industry Primer:

The IAB would like to thank the member companies of the Advanced TV Advisory Board for contributing their perspectives to the primer.

Learn about other Digital Video Advertising subjects at the IAB Digital Video Center:

About the Authors


Elaine Boxer

Elaine Boxer is the Director, IAB Digital Video Center of Excellence.

At the recent Advertising Technology Marketplace conference, I chatted about bad friction and good friction. The IAB Tech Lab was established to reduce friction by enabling standards creation, tools, and standards certification. At the same time, ironically, we also need to manufacture healthy friction to strengthen the barrier of entry.   

Standards do not just create interoperability for growth and shape markets. Standards create layers of transparency that lead to a healthier supply chain. This includes programs supported by IAB, Digital Advertising Alliance, and Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).  

This year, I am asking for every company to identify a compliance officer who is an inventory quality and audience specialist.  He or she should have executive powers with the support of the executive committee of the organization. 

Publishers, your compliance officer should know your traffic sources. Organic search, social, and purchased are all forms of sourcing.  The compliance officer should be reviewing the marketing, advertising operations yield management, and audience growth strategies and tactics. For example, if a partnership is growing audience at an unnatural rate for you in the off hours, it is time to find a new partner.  

Platforms, some of you have a compliance officer identified in the TAG programs. He or she should keep weeding out the wolf selling sheep’s wool to create further transparency that we all need and want in business transactions. This individual must be empowered to deny new inventory, recruited by the supply team, that goes against your internal controls and checklist of quality supply. 

Buyers, viewability is the new currency we’re striving toward. Low cost CPMs, even to refresh your audience pool, can harm the efforts to move to the new currency if not executed appropriately. Your compliance officer can help weigh the pros and cons.  

Small companies, take note. You are entering a market with ideas and innovation—a market with growing resources to provide guidance for best business practices and tools. I encourage you to use them.    

If you don’t have a compliance officer, get one. And in your organization, this individual needs to be empowered to say no.  This is not about growing business for the sake of top line revenue alone, it is about growing business the right way, which leads to the health of the bottom line and supply chain. Human Resources departments should support this executive with transparent, educational dialogue to the staff. The compliance officer is visible, public, and a trusted internal source for personnel.  

Finally, if your company uses standards, it’s important to declare your version centrally and keep it up to date with the latest issued in the market. Legacy versions of a standard, or enhancements to a current standard, need to be declared upfront in the pre-sales process. The compliance officer can help with these internal operations and language in your market transactions.  

IAB has a portal for your declaration. I encourage your company to keep this record up to date.  

For more information about the IAB Tech Lab, please visit, and to understand more about IAB Compliance programs, visit

Programmatic is the way business is done today. 2014 was a momentous year for programmatic advertising with a large amount of advertisers shifting their budgets into programmatic, as well as continued growth in mobile and video automation. According to eMarketer, automated advertising is expect to reach $20.41 billion, or 63.0% of US digital display ad spending by 2016. Programmatic-technology enabled automation and RTB-auction based internet ad buying are gaining market share, driving the need for universally adopted standards. 

Even with the all the stats supporting the dramatic shift to automation, adoption of the latest version of OpenRTB, a common protocol that enables buy and sell side platforms to talk to each other, has been slow. Many DSPs are still only supporting OpenRTB 2.1, and are shying away from upgrading to OpenRTB 2.3 because they don’t have any immediate plans to break into the Native space. OpenRTB 2.3 isn’t just an industry shaping measure that provides a framework for Native to be transacted on programmatically -  the latest version of OpenRTB also provides significant support in other areas of Real Time Bidding. 

Upgrading to the latest model or software for our phones is a compulsion for many of us. We can’t wait to see what new features and improvements are being offered. It’s very unlikely for one to hesitate upgrading to the latest version of iOS because it has some features you may not have need of at this very moment in time. These upgrades provide more than just an increased feature set, they include bug fixes, improve battery life, and offer a wide variety of quality of life improvements. Yet when it comes to tech specifications, many companies make the mistake by waiting too long to update thinking it’s not relevant or valuable to them. You wouldn’t think twice about upgrading your phone, why would you stall on upgrading to the latest version of OpenRTB? Inventory that could be made available or made more valuable isn’t. Deals that could be made aren’t.  

When it comes to open standards in programmatic, it’s important to think of the bigger picture. As Nitin Gupta, Director, Product Management at Millennial Media puts it, “OpenRTB 2.3 isn’t just about native, it includes native.” In addition to native, the latest version of OpenRTB provides:

  • Significant upgrades that improve the programmatic workflow buyers and sellers
  • An indicator for mobile optimized sites, helping to ensure the right creative is available
  • Support for signaling supported image dimensions/resolutions, allowing bidders to make smarter buying decisions

Bidders should upgrade to OpenRTB 2.3 to take advantage of all the features and clarity brought, in addition to the support for Native.  

In fact, many SSPs are having to put extension options in place to support OpenRTB 2.1. Gupta explains, “Whether you are looking for parameters in 2.3 or extensions objects of 2.2, it requires the same amount of work from a development standpoint.” Regardless of whether or not a DSP has native aspirations in the immediate future, it’s important to note that all the additional fields that have been added in OpenRTB are optional. If you are interested in pixel ratio, you don’t have to go around looking for extensions and partners, it’s supported in OpenRTB 2.3. You can reap the benefits of 2.3 at the same short term cost as making 2.1 support features the marketplace demands - and be better positioned to adopt future iterations.

So if you already planned on upgrading your existing version of OpenRTB, take a note from your personal life. I encourage your product and engineering team to go that extra mile; skip OpenRTB 2.2 and upgrade to OpenRTB 2.3 - you’ll be surprised at all the improvements you didnt even know were there!

About the Author


Melissa Gallo

Melissa Gallo is Director of Product, Programmatic Automation and Data in the IAB Technology Lab, at the IAB.


The digital advertising ecosystem has often been portrayed with excessively complex diagrams featuring hundreds of logos and arrows indicating multiple flows and directions.

Yes, it is complicated — significantly more so than analog media — but it is not so foreign as to be unrecognizable to the trained marketer. Each additional capability merely adds new tools to help agencies, publishers, and marketers apply their skills more effectively.

As part of our Digital Simplified series we set out to, well, simplify the depiction of this valuable system with The IAB Arena. The resulting “Arena” illustration is designed to portray, from a marketer’s perspective, how advertising messages are delivered to consumers in the vibrant and ever-expanding ecosystem of digital advertising.

We just launched an interactive video of the Arena powered by Rapt Media, created for professionals and students of all levels to learn how the different players, parts and technology work together to create, sell, distribute and measure digital advertising. Users can easily navigate around the six Arena rings to select the parts of the ecosystem they’d like to learn more about. There is also an interactive diagram that explains the Arena at a higher level.  
As all media is increasingly delivered in on-demand, digital formats, the concepts and businesses that form the rings of the IAB Digital Advertising Arena will apply throughout the industry.

In a very short while, television will include addressable advertising elements, and ads will be served by computer systems that track interaction with the ads rather than just reach. Functions and capabilities developed for what was then known as “digital” will just be “media.”

The IAB Arena serves as a roadmap to the future of how all advertising will ultimately reach and impact consumers. Smart marketers, agencies, and publishers that are investing today to ensure their teams are experts across the Arena will reap benefits far into the future.

View the IAB Arena and video:

Learn about other Digital Advertising subjects with IAB’s Digital Simplified:

About the Author
peter-minnium-headshot.jpgPeter 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.

Brand marketers have long understood the power of audio messaging to connect with audiences. Whether delivered in a music, news, sports or political talk environment, the use of audio ads is experiencing a renaissance as advertisers take advantage of digital offerings that provide listeners with greater choice, control and customization of their experience. The result is a highly personal and exclusive advertising experience that creates a natural opportunity for brand alignment. 

Such an alignment makes digital audio a powerful tool for just about any marketer looking to reach virtually any type of audience. Here are 5 reasons that digital audio should be a part of every marketer’s media mix: 

1.  Digital Audio is exclusive. 
The digital audio market represents an environment with generally fewer advertising interruptions, while providing similar deep targeting capabilities as other digital ad units. Exclusively available within an audio content experience, digital audio ads are often native and “above the fold”, and given their nature, often have a very high share of voice. 

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2.  Digital Audio is becoming a “mobile-first” experience for many. 
The speed with which connected mobile devices have proliferated over the last few years is having a profound impact on consumer consumption of audio content. In fact, streaming radio comes out as a top activity for smartphones users, according to 2014 research by comScore and Millennial Media. 

Digital audio’s mobile ascendency began by adding new listening contexts. Enabled by “earbuds”, consumers were freed to listen during an array of activities traditionally void of audio companionship. The growth trajectory has increased as historical audio contexts like in-office and at-home have been disrupted by simple-to-use and more personalized experiences delivered through a broad variety of devices. 

Most recently, digital audio has gained traction as an in-vehicle choice, and as consumers turn to newer models at all pricing tiers they are finding connected technology a key differentiator in the car-purchase process. Simply put, in-car access leads to significant behavior change. 

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3.  Digital Audio is cool, because the consumer is now in control. 
Just about everyone seems to have chatted about Serial around the water cooler these past few months. Even well known musician and Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto told IAB’s 2014 MIXX audience all about what the power of sound has meant to him as an individual, and as a musician. 

As a consumer, audio has always provided a broad range of content offerings that cater to whatever mood you might be in. Today’s digital audio offerings build on that value proposition by offering listeners the freedom to select what to hear and when they want to listen, to match their moods. 

Maybe you’re into the latest podcasts on relationships, your favorite baseball team, or the latest episodic craze. Maybe you’re jammin’ to that fresh new indie-pop station you found over the weekend, or you’re feeling introspective listening to the remastered Dark Side of The Moon in its entirety. 

With mobile poised to become the device-of-choice for accessing audio content, such content becomes an extension of your mood and builds a background to your day. Underwriting such essential components to consumers’ lives can create impressive lifts in awareness, sales, and changes to long-held preferences. 

4.  Digital Audio is growing like crazy.  
As audio consumption shifts from AM/FM radios to smartphones and connected devices, the demand for digital audio is growing rapidly. Edison Research and Triton Digital’s Infinite Dial 2015 study showed that 143 Million Americans listened to online radio and streamed audio content in the past month, including 61% of all 25-54 year-olds. Digital audio has not only arrived; it has become a mainstream media.

5. Digital Audio complements any media plan. 
For marketers, digital audio provides a necessary, unique, highly measurable and highly accountable component of the media mix.

Mobile audio also has a distinct advantage over other media because it can easily be consumed while on the go. “Ultramobile” activities such as driving, walking, exercising and working don’t allow for visual advertising engagement. 

In fact, Nielsen estimates that 79% of audio consumption takes place while people are engaged in activities where visual media cannot reach them. Such opportunities now create scale with millennials on their own, or in combination with legacy audio choices for broader demographics.

The IAB, along with members of the Digital Audio Committee, have pursued a goal of educating marketers and agencies about digital audio advertising opportunities, and discussing best practices and guidelines for reducing operational costs while driving sector growth. With the release of today’s IAB Digital Audio Buyer’s Guide, we aim to dive further into these points and answer questions that creatives, planners and buyers have about investment in digital audio advertising. 

Happy reading!



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In May of 2014 the IAB published a position paper on the role and evolution of our major creative specifications, VPAID for video, MRAID for mobile rich media, and SafeFrame for friendly iFrames on the web. We observed that the worlds of each of these individual standards, which were created to facilitate distinct kinds of digital ads, were fast converging. As a result, technology vendors and ad designers increasingly found themselves seeking ways to combine their capabilities.
Today, IAB has solved one aspect of this industry challenge by releasing a final version 1.0 of the Video Addendum to MRAID. This new ad specification facilitates creating mobile video interstitial ads that incorporate MRAID-style rich interactivity and also benefit from VPAID’s standardized methods for counting video plays, partial and complete views, and other core metrics.

This is an important step toward helping video ads propagate throughout the mobile internet. MRAID has become a true industry standard for mobile rich media, and now we have standardized a way to run video ads in mobile interstitial rich media placements.

This project presented a number of interesting challenges, as a “container” that runs MRAID ads (that is, the software within a mobile app) plays a somewhat different role than a video player that runs digital video ads. Simply figuring out how to start playing an ad in this hybrid scenario—how the ad should signal that it needs both MRAID and VPAID support, and how the container should respond—took significant time and effort. But we’ve devised a good and practical solution, while keeping implementation as simple as possible. I don’t have space here to acknowledge the many people from rich media companies and video companies alike who tremendously helped make this specification a reality, but they have my sincere thanks for their time and expertise (and their bosses have my thanks, too).

The next step is for vendors that offer MRAID-compliant containers - the mobile rich media community - to evaluate this specification and determine whether and when to build its capabilities into the next version of their products. I expect it will take a little time for addendum-compliant containers to become widespread, but given the importance of mobile video, I’m sure that we’ll see strong adoption. I’m happy that we’ve achieved today’s milestone, and with my fellow IAB Mobile Center and Tech Lab staff, look forward to continuing to extend MRAID’s capabilities and usefulness in the always-changing mobile world.

About the Author


Joe Laszlo

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



Adopting Encryption: The Need for HTTPS

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It’s time to talk about security. 

In fact, last year was the time to talk about security. From The New York Times to Google, the call went out for websites to encrypt communications with their users, protecting the integrity and privacy of information exchanged in both directions. Even the U.S. government heard this call, and is working to require HTTPS delivery of all publicly accessible Federal websites and web services.

This year, the advertising industry needs to finish catching up. Many ad systems are already supporting HTTPS - a survey of our membership late last year showed nearly 80% of member ad delivery systems supported HTTPS. That’s a good start, but doesn’t reflect the interconnectedness of the industry. A publisher moving to HTTPS delivery needs every tag on page, whether included directly or indirectly, to support HTTPS. That means that in addition to their ad server, the agency ad server, beacons from any data partners, scripts from verification and brand safety tools, and any other system required by the supply chain also needs to support HTTPS.

Let’s break that down a bit more - once a website decides to support HTTPS, they need to make sure that their primary ad server supports encryption. That ad server will sometimes need to include tags from brand safety, audience and viewability measurement, and other tools - all of which also need to support encryption. The publisher’s ad server will often direct to one of several agency ad servers, each of which will also need to serve over HTTPS. Each agency ad server also may include a variety of beacons or tags, depending on how the deal was set up, all of which similarly need to have encrypted versions available. That’s a lot of dependencies - and when one fails to support HTTPS, the website visitor’s experience is impacted, initiating a costly search for the failure point by the publisher.

While the need to support HTTPS delivery will only continue to grow, getting there isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. As those who have already adopted know, there’s management overhead with acquiring certificates and making sure these don’t expire, increased resource requirements on servers to handle the encryption, and other costs. Carnegie Mellon has a great paper on some of the more esoteric impacts of adopting HTTPS. It’s therefore important that you communicate your experiences developing support for encrypted delivery with those who haven’t.

A core function of HTTPS is to prove the origin of a resource delivered from a server to the web browser. Each server delivering encrypted content has to acquire a certificate that’s signed by a trusted authority and issued to their specific domain. This results in a larger set of consistent identifiers for servers, which has beneficial implications in the fight against malware - it’s more expensive for malware peddlers to set up shop on an HTTPS server, and easier to identify the same peddler across occurrences.

Adopting encryption on public-facing servers is an important step in protecting the privacy and security of the public. It also sets the stage for broader support of server-to-server encryption, securing our business communications from eavesdropping when they’re routed over the public internet. Here at the IAB, we feel that broad support for HTTPS on public servers is a best practice for the industry, and that encrypted communications and strong origin identifiers are of growing importance as we tackle issues of fraud, malware, and piracy as a part of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG).  

About the Author


Brendan Riordan-Butterworth

Brendan Riordan-Butterworth is the Director of Technical Standards at IAB.


IAB Releases Mobile Programmatic Playbook

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We’re at an inflection point where programmatic advertising is becoming more sophisticated with the buy and sell side applying their power to a broader, more diverse set of opportunities. The benefits of programmatic across the digital spectrum are clear. With mobile an increasingly important part of the consumer’s daily life, reaching on the go consumers via this 24/7 channel is a top priority for marketers, just as learning how to fully monetize their mobile applications and mobile websites is a key goal for publishers. 

Given the growth of mobile advertising over the past year it’s clear that programmatic can be a major contributor to almost all aspects of mobile campaign success due to the combination of decision making intelligence and speed across the programmatic value chain. Brand marketers are leveraging programmatic channels to achieve the massive scale they need for their awareness campaigns, and advertisers now have access to numerous rich media, video and native mobile ad formats which excel at capturing the consumer’s attention.

There are many positive trends emerging among buyers and sellers. Both parties value native, rich media and video ad formats all of which provide better experiences to the consumer. However, in the mobile ecosystem where cookies are less prevalent, a key point to note is that programmatic buying requires greater transparency in terms of mobile data signals to enable publishers to more effectively optimize their yield and brands to achieve greater ROI. 

As the co-chair of the IAB’s Mobile Programmatic Buying Working group I am incredibly excited for us to officially release the IAB Mobile Programmatic Playbook today. This playbook is the first IAB programmatic document that covers all aspects that are unique to the mobile programmatic environment so that publishers, third parties, advertisers, agencies and marketers have a guide to learning more about the current state and evolution of the mobile programmatic market when planning their strategies. 

In addition, as further evidence that mobile programmatic is making waves, it will be one of the main subjects discussed at the IAB Mobile Marketplace conference on March 30th in New York.

About the Author

Rob Kramer

Rob Kramer is General Manager of Mobile at OpenX


3 Reasons Advertisers Need Advanced Television Now

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Advanced Television truly has… advanced. An estimated 75-100MM Americans watch TV content over IP across a host of devices. TV Everywhere video starts grew by over 100% last year. Addressable TV already reaches tens of millions of households across DISH, DIRECTV, Cablevision and Comcast, and soon could jump by about another 50% with the addition of multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD’s)/multi-system operators (MSOs) such as Charter, Cox, and Verizon. 

With staggering numbers like these, what we’ve been calling “Advanced TV” rightfully should be called, simply: “TV.”

The underlying technologies of Advanced TV have enabled innovation in content delivery and interaction, which has led to radical consumer behavior shifts. The way people watch TV—how, where, and on what devices—has changed. And in this shift, the IAB sees tremendous opportunity for advertisers’ strategies around media, creative, and measurement to evolve as well, generating greater value for advertisers, for publishers and distributors, and yes, for viewers.

To step back and define Advanced TV: it is the evolution of television, far beyond the linear television viewing experience and :30 commercials of the past 50 years. Non-traditional television consumption methods - such as time-shifting on DVRs, VOD and interactive television (iTV) — and enhanced cross-device viewing experiences — such as TV everywhere and Over-the-Top (OTT) viewing — have enabled unprecedented consumer control and choice. New content delivery platforms and functionality enable marketing nirvana: better targeting and addressability, more efficient and automated buying and selling methodologies, more holistic measurement and robust insights, and all of this enabling more impactful and influential campaigns. Advanced TV brings the best capabilities of digital advertising to TV advertising. 

To help accelerate innovation and adoption in this space, the Advanced TV Advisory Board of the IAB has begun work on an industry primer, to be published in Q2 2015. The primer will serve as a resource and buyers’ guide, pointing the way to help brands and agencies access the 3 core advantages of Advanced TV advertising:

First, the highly effective targeting technologies available through Advanced TV platforms help advertisers find their audiences — and re-aggregate them at scale — cross-device and at any time and place. And the addressable technology of Advanced TV makes that reach and scale more relevant to that audience when and where they are found.

Second, the richly interactive technology of Advanced TV enables greater engagement. Audience choice — viewers choosing their content and influencing or potentially even choosing which ads they see — ensures deeper engagement with that content and the advertising that goes with it. Richer data return on what audiences are choosing helps further refine the addressability of the platform, since based on the viewers’ choices of both content and advertising, the ads being served can be optimized.

And third, that same data return offers advertisers more effective and meaningful measurement of campaigns. Brands can be more certain that they actually reached their audience effectively, and gain insight into viewers’ usage and engagement. These insights feed back into the top of the cycle, helping advertisers target, reach, and engage their audience more and more effectively.

In short, with Advanced TV, advertisers have the opportunity to deliver more targeted messages and interactive content, with accountability far beyond simple media exposure. Stay tuned (so to speak) for the publication of this industry resource to help smart advertisers achieve exactly that. Until then, here are two more ways to derive more value from this space:
If you are an advertiser interested in exploring Advanced TV advertising, be sure to bring it up with your agency and ask for recommendations. 

If you are a publisher or a distributor of Advanced TV content or advertising, the IAB will be seeking sponsors for the development of this resource and for independent research in the area of Advanced TV advertising; contact [email protected] if you are interested in sponsorship.

About the Authors


Elaine Boxer

Elaine Boxer is the Director of Industry Initiatives at IAB.


Chris Falkner

Chris Falkner is the Senior Vice President of Advanced TV, NBC Broadcasting at NBCUniversal.


Adam Lowy

Adam Lowy is the General Manager of Interactive & Advanced TV at DISH


The Power of Open Source Collaboration: We Need You

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There is a major demand in our industry today when it comes to providing tools and code needed to implement technical specifications. In order to help fill that gap, as well as provide transparency, certification and validation in the marketplace, IAB created structures such as its newly formed Tech Lab to augment the written specifications it currently produces. The IAB Tech Lab is tasked with researching and defining the necessary Open Source tools and code needed to quickly and easily put such specifications into practice. The lab is built around three core pillars: specifications, protocols, certification and tools. The “Tools” pillar, the focus of this post, is comprised of three different elements:

  1. Tools.jpgThe IAB CodeBank: The advertising industry’s repository of Open Source code, tools and implementation solutions;
  2. An Open Source network of developers which collaborates with the Tech Lab, donating their time, development cycles and resources to issues of interest to the IAB community; and
  3. A platform of utilities and testing tools that allow members to work with the specifications the IAB produces in order to help solve their real-world implementation needs.
One of the tools in this newly formed toolbox is the IAB’s SafeFrame technology, a managed API-enabled iframe-like vehicle that opens a line of communication between the publisher’s page and externally framed content such as ads. The bad news is that since its inception, the support materials surrounding SafeFrame has been limited to human-readable documentation, code excerpts and loosely coupled specifications. The good news is that is about to change. Since June of this past year, IAB members, Open Source developers, and technology enthusiasts have all banded together to jump start this important technology; and the results have been substantial. In six months, testing tools have been created. Roadmaps, both product technology as well as adoption, have been defined. Use cases are being created. Documentation updated.  In short, what had been an idle idea has now gotten an infusion of life thanks to the power of Open Source collaboration.

Contributions from IAB Members
In order for the industry to succeed as a whole, the IAB must be responsible for producing and promoting code that supports its standards, and do so with the help of the community in order to gain traction, as well as adoption. But, just supplying them with code is not enough. Ancillary products such as testing tools and other supporting materials must be part of the mix. In other words, what good is a piece of code if you have no way of ensuring that it will hold up to its intended purpose? This was one of the major roadblocks that prevented SafeFrame from moving ahead.

This is not to imply that the SafeFrame technology has been laying dormant for the last year. On the contrary, IAB members have been actively working with it, but in their own proprietary way. Microsoft and Yahoo have both integrated the SafeFrame technology in one form or another in several of their products. The problem though is that these integrations leverage each company’s own in-house technology and does not lend itself to a robust, general purpose solution that others can easily implement on their own. With that said, we know that without proprietary innovation, general standards lay dormant. The first step in any evolution is the need to fill a void. For Microsoft and Yahoo, their needs focused around “providing a solution to enable 3rd party ads while preserving user privacy and security, and doing so with least amount of work for their publishers and properties” and leveraging a technology that offered the end user with a platform that could ensure accountability, respectively.

Prabahakar Goyal, Chief Architect of Display Advertising at Microsoft, and one of the original authors of the SafeFrame utilizes this technology from a practical standpoint:

Safeframe is a standard which enables publishers to include 3rd party advertisements, including advanced ad formats such as richmedia, while mitigating the risk of data leakage or broken page because of the ad and page content interferences. It also provides a standard way to measure viewability across cross-domain iFRAME. Most recently we have deployed SafeFrame on one of our largest properties - Outlook. This is laying the foundation for serving 3rd party ads while making sure that our user’s data is protected and privacy is maintained.

Sean Snider, Senior Web Software Engineer at Yahoo and the original SafeFrame co-author currently leverages SafeFrame at Yahoo by integrating it into their core mindset:

“One of the largest benefits of digital advertising is how dynamic it is. The entire industry works toward delivering the most relevant and captivating advertisements to individual users. But being that dynamic comes with huge tradeoffs in terms of level off effort, safety, privacy, and consistent metrics. The whole idea with SafeFrame, is to have a foundation on the web for such advertising to reside, so that we can mitigate those tradeoffs, as well as move towards the future. Rolling out and developing SafeFrame and other standardizing technologies like it, is in of itself a large challenge. And that’s why it’s a very big win, for the IAB to take a leadership role creating and managing the technology required. Standards and specifications are the first step, but it’s critical to have open technology platforms that enforce and deliver on those standards.”

Without the proprietary work that is going on at companies like Microsoft and Yahoo, the community doesn’t move forward, and no one benefits. Luckily for IAB members, the creators of these types of solutions also happen to be the co-authors of the Open Source version of SafeFrame as well.

Contributions from Non-IAB Members
Because of the historical scarceness around support for SafeFrame in the past, Open Source developers began experimenting on their own, and needless to say, out of necessity came innovation. One company in particular, Streamwize spent so much time creating one-off solutions they took it upon themselves to write their own SafeFrame testing tool:

“The ‘Patcher’ is the first in a series of tools and services being offered by Streamwize to help accelerate and simplify SafeFrame adoption by both advertisers and publishers and raise the floor of ad capabilities for the industry. It is an enhanced, open source web-based tool that advertisers can use to inject, test and view their creatives on nearly any web site with both SafeFrame and Friendly iFrame simultaneous format support. Within the tool, you simply put your own creative code snippet or ad tag, the web site you wish to target for testing and either auto select or enter the CSS expression of where the creative will be rendered on the targeted web site page. The tool supports all IAB layout designs including floating lightboxes and expanded ads as well as the ability to define height and width. It then works by proxying any selected URL, injecting the SafeFrame publisher-side framework into the web site, and then loading the selected creative into the specified location. You also get a unique URL you can share with others so they can also see how your creative would look and operate, in context on the targeted website before certification or client review. 

Streamwize is further developing tools for publishers to ease the transition to SafeFrame by allowing them to simultaneously support SafeFrame with older standards until they are ready to make a full switch over to SafeFrame. Building tools for both publishers and advertisers on top of SafeFrame allows publisher and advertisers to leverage some of its advantageous features, including support for measurement and contextual advertising. 

Such is the critical importance of SafeFrame adoption across the industry in dealing with thorny issues such as mitigating publisher risk, consumer protection and viewability, that Streamwize will offer the “Patcher” tool free and will shortly be launching a dedicated web site to showcase why it is committed to the SafeFrame cause and it’s growing capabilities and benefits for advertisers and publishers.”

Another company, SquareOffs, interested in implementing SafeFrame but didn’t know where to look for help, reached out to the IAB and donated their developers’ time to work with us in order to implement SafeFrame directly into their product. What may have taken them weeks to do with little success was overcome in a matter of days working directly with Chris Cole, SafeFrame’s chief developer. According to SquareOffs CEO Jeff Rohr:

“The way that the IAB has been willing to work with real world companies on the ground is remarkable. SquareOffs is extremely grateful to be one of the first participants in the IAB Tech Lab and we are delighted that they see the huge win-win scenario going on here. It’s so valuable for an organization, such as the IAB, to experience the gaps and pitfalls present with any specification (or product) in it’s infancy that would never come up on a whiteboard. Getting out of the building and obtaining a big enough sample size of feedback is crucial to defining whether the needs are truly being met. We are glad that the IAB is taking this head on, while being wise enough to realize that a collective group approaching a problem from many different angles will reach the goals of the project and produce thorough documentation at a much faster pace.

SquareOffs has reached two product initiatives in our embedded debate technology at warp speed thanks to the IAB and Chris Cole: the ability for our embed to expand onto the page and the ability to dynamically match the content of the page where the embed is placed. Both of these enhancements directly impact our customer base and will be showing up much earlier than expected on sites near you. Our iframe solution would not allow for these capabilities and building a javascript solution to accomplish them would have come with much more overhead. The implementation of this new technology was a smooth process and we look forward to giving back to the community by documenting our use cases and those that come in the future.”

It is the collaborative efforts of companies like Streamwize and SquareOffs, in addition to their drive, passion and innovation that make the difference in whether a piece of technology ever sees the light of day, and really ever truly succeeds.

We Need You
Microsoft, Yahoo, Streamwize, and SquareOffs are only the beginning of the story. Much more work is needed in order to ensure technology such as SafeFrame makes it to the marketplace. The power of Open Source collaboration is unquestionable, but the realization of it takes time, effort and commitment. The IAB, with the creation of the Tech Lab, understands this, but it only works if our companies and individuals alike step up and push the boundaries of what is possible, so together we can collectively “raise the floor” on what can be done.

In closing, it should go without saying that the IAB can no longer simply sit back and rest on the laurels that it has produced best-of-breed standards. It must take a much more active approach and involvement in order to support the industry it serves. This means it must also execute on the specifications it delivers. Must roll up its sleeves and place “hands on keyboard” if ever it is to help its members succeed. The main impetus for the creation of the IAB Tech Lab was to provide an open environment where members could contribute, learn and grow in a collaborative manner. The only piece that is still missing… is you.

About the Author


Alan Turransky

Alan Turransky is the Senior Director of Technology and Ad Operations at IAB.


Top 5 Trends in Digital Out of Home

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We tend to spend a lot of time outside and on-the-go, getting from one place to the next. It’s no surprise, then, that the average global consumer is exposed to various Digital Out of Home Media for 14 minutes per week, and investments in the space are expected to grow 14.2% year-over-year between 2011 - 2017. New York City’s Fulton Center in Lower Manhattan has recently reopened, accommodating up to 300,000 daily riders and boasting more than 50 digital screens available for marketers. The largest and most expensive digital billboard debuted in Times Square this past November, with just as many pedestrians expected to pass through the area daily. The overlapping powers of digital, mobile, outdoor, and Out of Home content seem to be stepping up.

Digital Out of Home (or “DOOH” as the channel is commonly referred) encompasses a variety of screen shapes, sizes, and levels of interactivity. From digital billboards and signs on taxis, to digital signage at airport gates and gyms and waiting rooms, these varieties underline a necessary bridge between context and location in relevance and favorable recall - vital components of any media campaign. The IAB sees norms and expectations from the online advertising world informing and expediting the growth of DOOH, and the IAB’s Digital Out of Home Taskforce launched this past fall with aims to define the DOOH channel while positioning its place within the larger interactive advertising industry.

As we collectively say “hello” to 2015, the Taskforce shares its thoughts on the Top 5 Trends in DOOH.
photo courtesy of Luke Luckett, IAB Consultant

“Top 5 Trends in Digital Out of Home”

1. Cross-platform targeting opportunities are on the rise. As mobile devices become more advanced and ubiquitous, the proliferation of captive digital screens in home and out of home has been growing. Interactions with consumers have become more prominent via new mobile technologies like NFC, beacons and more accurate geofencing capabilities. Such technologies may allow a marketer to personalize the consumer’s experience and even allow for immediate interaction.

2. DOOH will provide increasingly relevant messages in locations that matter. The amount of time spent outside and in transit is increasing in many regions.  New forms of targeting and subsets have made the art of reaching specific audience segments in ideal locations easier - and in our highly distracted modern experience, a consumer’s receptivity to new concepts outside the home can be highly impactful. In fact, a recent study by YuMe and IPG Media Lab found that consumers are 41% more receptive to advertising in public places than at home, and 16% more receptive at school/work than at home. As a consumer, the device you carry with you creates a natural tie-in to your visual experience outdoors, and relevant DOOH messages enhance the value via existing screens throughout popular locations.

3. Data is (literally) where it’s at, locally and programmatically. According to BIA/Kelsey, marketers spent $1.4 billion on location-targeted mobile campaigns in 2012. By 2017, spending on location-targeted mobile advertising will reach $10.8 billion, representing a 52% share of all mobile ad dollars. (In fact, next month the IAB’s Location Data Working Group will release a primer on using location data for attribution and ad effectiveness.) DOOH is benefiting from this rapidly growing segment, using big data to reach the same mobile consumer on larger, higher impact screens and enabling marketers to craft cross-screen, location-based strategies to maximize the impact of advertising to consumers outside the home.       

At the same time, finding scale and ease of buying in DOOH is being made easier through programmatic conversations and data-driven media buying. Programmatic solutions are developing in DOOH, and are leading to a deeper connection with the mobile and interactive marketplaces. Programmatic DOOH has the potential to drive standardization and reduce overall fragmentation in the marketplace. The 1st and 3rd party data sets that allow buyers and sellers to better define audiences exposed to DOOH media is also rapidly evolving. Programmatic bidding enables buyers to more accurately target the most appropriate audience, while sellers benefit from yield optimization of their media assets.

photo courtesy of Outfront Media

4. Out of Home creates a unique canvas for top-notch creativity. From street furniture and cinema ads to augmented reality and live experiences on outdoor screens and vehicles - the ability to build awareness and drive impressive results is getting easier in DOOH. Whether it’s part of a larger cross-media effort or a locally focused campaign, DOOH offers opportunities to reach a unique audience, creating unexpected parallels between location (as content and backdrop) and messaging. DOOH has huge potential to drive immediate impact and scale close to point of purchase; it also can garner award-winning praise and even the Direct Grand Prix at Cannes

5. There is a rise of new measurement and addressability opportunities in DOOH. New location and mobile data sets are leading to new ways of measuring attribution in experiential and out of home media. Location, as an audience definer, is just as important to DOOH as it is to mobile advertisers. Retargeting in the real world is more than just copying the online model; the best context is location - where we are and who we are. It is about delivering real-world context and campaign messages that are close to point of purchase. A consumer’s exposure to these mediums can now be verified beyond the self-reported opportunity to see, improving marketers’ confidence in their ability to isolate the impact of DOOH from other mediums in the cross-channel mix

Looking forward, the space is heating up. The number of digitally connected screens is growing, and all signals indicate that inventory and creative options in digital out of home media will continue to grow. Watch this space as the IAB and its DOOH Taskforce combine the talents of key players with out-of-home, mobile, local, and video expertise to build and expand upon this growth.
photo courtesy of Titan
We start the New Year by addressing a question that’s on many people’s minds in the digital industry… 

Will the FTC provide guidance on native advertising in 2015
and, if so, what might we expect?


At December’s IAB Native Advertising Disclosure Workshop, which was attended by Laura Sullivan, Senior Staff Attorney, Division of Advertising Practices at the Federal Trade Commission, along with nearly 200 IAB event registrants, there was some speculation that the FTC had plans to provide guidance for native advertising. 

I sat down with Mike Zaneis, Executive Vice President, Public Policy & General Counsel from the IAB’s Washington, DC, office to get some perspective on what FTC guidance for native advertising might entail. 

When the FTC provides “guidance” on a specific advertising topic, what does that mean? Why do they do this?
Companies may be familiar with legal regulations that have been promulgated by the FTC, such as those issued last year under the COPPA statute. These regulations have the force of law and must be followed by companies. The FTC also brings enforcement cases against “unfair or deceptive” business practices.  Because this authority is extremely broad, the FTC sometimes helps companies understand what may be expected of them by issuing formal guidance. These documents provide examples of good or bad business practices and may provide direction in new or emerging marketplaces. 

Although it is speculative at this point in time, what might we expect from guidance on native advertising disclosure?
In the past, the FTC has issued broad-based guidance as well as guidance for specific business models. In the native advertising space they have only delved into the search advertising space, issuing guidance in 2002 and then providing an update in June of 2014. It is hard to predict what type of guidance they may issue in the future, but the focus on multiple business models during their 2013 native advertising townhall is a clear indication of the scope of their interest.  

The IAB, via its Native Advertising Task Force, issued the Recommended Native Advertising Disclosure Principles below as part of its Native Advertising Playbook (published 12/13). How similar or different might the FTC’s guidance look?

The IAB disclosure principles are a good example of the broad-based guidance that I described above. At their core they simply attempt to apply the existing law around advertising disclosures to the emerging field of native advertising.  In this case we might expect similarly broad language from the FTC, accompanied by specific examples in several native advertising categories such as In-Feed and Recommendation Widgets as outlined in the IAB Native Advertising Playbook. This was how they developed their “.com Disclosures” guidelines in the past.

Jan6Blog3.png Disclosure document. Source: FTC

Do you have any suggestions on what, if anything, publishers/marketers/agencies could or should do in anticipation of potential guidance being issued for native advertising?
As an industry we should strive to be proactive versus reactive in this area. At the IAB’s recent native advertising townhall event we heard from more than a dozen companies about how they are evolving their disclosure practices. These developments ensure that consumers understand where the content on the page ends and the advertisement begins. Many of us long assumed that disclosure and consumer engagement were countervailing forces, but we are discovering that, to the contrary, an informed consumer is a happy, engaged consumer.

How does the FTC announce that they are providing formal guidance?
There is no set process for issuing guides. In the ideal scenario they will publish a draft and solicit public comment before finalizing the document. However, they have sometimes simply issued new guides without a comment period or, in the case of search advertising, just sent letters to a number of companies to provide details on the updated guide.

If guidance is issued, how should publishers/marketers/agencies respond?
While they do not carry the same legal weight as a regulation, guides provide insight into the types of areas where the FTC may bring future enforcement actions. Therefore, companies should pay close attention to the “advice” provided in these documents and double check their current business practices against them. Guidelines are usually just that, guidelines, and they should provide room for variation, responsible experimentation, and future innovation.

For those who had questions about potential FTC Native Advertising Disclosure Guidance, we hope these answers were helpful. The IAB will continue to advocate that disclosure is of paramount importance for this growing source of digital advertising revenue. We will continue to provide updates on potential FTC guidance as/if available.

About the Author


Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives and IAB liaison for the Content Marketing and Native Advertising Task Force groups, along with the Social Media, B2B and Game Advertising Committees at the IAB. She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst 


About the Author


Susan Borst

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

- See more at:
Tsusanblogpic.jpghe year 2014 marked an important turning point for game advertising … for all the right reasons. Driven by new technology and social and mobile adoption, the gamer landscape has rapidly evolved. The evidence is clear that the demographics for games are more inclusive than ever with time spent playing growing at an unprecedented rate. And now more than ever, savvy marketers are viewing games as valuable and highly engaging content that fits in both content marketing and paid advertising strategies. 

The IAB’s new “Games Advertising Ecosystem Guide” was developed to help marketers and agencies understand today’s game play, the core game types and advertising categories to reach consumers. The guide provides an overview of today’s game play and a summary of the game advertising system outlining:

  • The evolving and dynamic gamer landscape and trends 
  • The two main categories of games that can be played across multiple devices
  • The three main types of advertising formats available to marketers and agencies with examples
  • The most common performance models
  • The most common revenue models
  • The future evolution of game advertising

On the importance of this guide, Sandro Camarao of MediaBrix, who led the Game Advertising Ecosystem Guide working group said: It is important for buyers to understand how to leverage gaming content for maximum brand impact. Gaming has grown exponentially, and with its growth, new opportunities for brands to forge emotional connections with key audiences. The IAB Games Ecosystem Guide comes at a critical time for buyers who are determining how best to integrate gaming into their media plan.  

IAB Game Committee co-chairs added:
quotesnew.PNGIn looking forward to 2015, the IAB Games Committee will take deeper dives into each of the three main types of advertising formats to provide more guidance for marketers and agencies who seek to deploy game advertising in their content marketing strategy and media mix.

On a related note:  Be sure to check out the IAB’s recent (11/14) research study “Mobile Gamers:  Who They Are, How They Shop, and How to Reach Them.” This report examines the behaviors and economic outlook of mobile phone owners who use their smartphone for all of its functions as compared to the general US Adult 18 and over population.

About the Author


Susan Borst

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

- See more at:

About the Author


Susan Borst

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

- See more at:

About the Author


Susan Borst

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

- See more at:

About the Author


Susan Borst

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

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Forging the path to Data Demystification

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Data had a landmark year in 2014. This year we saw everyone get interested in data. Brands, agencies, publishers, automakers, consumers, legislators and even the Supreme Court was fixated on issues surrounding digital data. Most of these issues centered on the data captured, stored and shared by our mobile phones. 

As the device that goes everywhere with us throughout the day, the industry is now just starting to realize the immense data opportunities created by Mobile. On the revenue side, Mobile continued its unhindered ascension to digital dominance. The IAB half-year ad revenue numbers showed Mobile revenues increased 71% in 1H14 capturing 24% of total internet revenues or a total of $2.8B in ad spend.  

With this continued monumental shift to Mobile comes an ever-growing list of terms, acronyms and the confusion that accompanies any nascent industry. We at the IAB are no strangers to helping supply the tools to enable nascent markets to grow. Our Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence was started four years ago with the sole purpose of growing Mobile budgets and today we have taken another leap towards facilitating that goal. 

I’m excited to announce the release of the IAB’s Mobile Data Primer - a companion document to our updated Data Primer released in 2013. This Mobile Data Primer marks an important step in helping us coalesce, as an industry, around the data opportunities, classifications and use cases available in the Mobile Advertising Market. It also provides important Mobile data best practices and an updated code of conduct. 

Beyond providing clarity and transparency, our aim is for this primer to be used as a foundation that will enable deeper conversations around the Mobile data opportunity in the coming year. Now that we have a common knowledge base, we can explore more sophisticated use cases and can leverage Mobile data as part of an overall marketing automation strategy to inform better messaging and creative, and foster deeper consumer relationships. 

I would like to thank the IAB’s Data Council for their continued work to help truly demystify data for the digital industry, and also for their leadership in the creation of this primer. We are excited to continue these conversations as data maintains center stage in the coming years. 

About the Author

headshot.jpgBelinda J. Smith

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


Who are Mobile Gamers and Why Do They Matter?

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Mobile Gaming apps are the most popularly used mobile app type, according to the recently released IAB study “Mobile Gamers: Who They Are, How They Shop, and How to Reach Them” which is based on an IAB analysis of Prosper Insights data and represents the self-reported media behaviors of about 15,000 US adults 18 and older (A18+). Not only is Mobile Gaming the number one app type, but Mobile Gamers represent a substantial 37% of the US adult population. 
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Who are Mobile Gamers and why should marketers and digital publishers care? Mobile gamers are likely to be women (56% vs. 51%A18+), professionals (35% vs. 28%), higher earners ($68k vs. $62k) and purchase influencers (40% vs. 32%). They earn more, they spend more and they’re more likely than the general population to be planning both major and minor purchases. A full 16% are planning to buy an auto (vs. 12% A18+). Female mobile gamers are more likely to be planning a vacation (25% vs. 18%A18+) while male mobile gamers are more likely to be shopping for a new mobile device (17% vs. 10% A18+). This is a desirable audience.

But perhaps most important to digital publishers, Mobile Gamers are heavy mobile media users who can also be reached on digital media via their mobile devices. While male Mobile Gamers tend to be heavy gamers (74% play videogames during the week), female Mobile Gamers’ video gaming habits are more reflective of the general population (49% game during the week vs. 44% of A18+). Female Mobile Gamers are casual gamers and they spend their time online, taking in all forms of media on their computers and smartphones.

As heavy digital and mobile users, Mobile Gamers’ purchases are much more influenced by various forms of digital and mobile media than the general adult population, providing ample opportunities to reach them using these ad formats. Not only is this desirable audience more likely to watch online video (73% vs. 56% A18+) and mobile video (65% vs 41%A18+) but they’re also more likely to watch the video ads (62% vs 34%A18+) and even say that their Electronics (18% vs. 13%A18+) and Clothing (12% vs. 8%A18+) purchases are influenced by mobile video.  

Being digitally savvy and mobile focused, 94% of Mobile Gamers regularly research products online (vs. 89% A18+) and on their mobile devices before buying. Interestingly, the products they’re most likely to research (Electronics and Clothing) are also the ones that digital advertising is most likely to persuade them in, presenting an ideal environment to serve such ads. Internet ads and Email ads have more influence on them than Cable TV and nearly as much influence as Broadcast TV. One in three Mobile Gamers say their Electronics purchases are influenced by Internet Ads (vs. 24% A18+) or Email Ads (vs. 25% A18+). Female Mobile Gamers are heavier Social Media users and 23% admit that their clothing purchases are influenced by Social Media (vs. 13% A18+). Thus, ads served to them while researching products, whether online or in the store on their phones, will likely be rewarded.  

Mobile Gamers are more likely to own a smartphone (52%) than a desktop computer (45%) and they regularly showroom. They’re also much more likely than the general US adult population to make purchases using their mobile devices. While Mobile Gamers ‘showroom’ regularly, consisting mostly of reading product reviews and price checking, they most often end up buying the product in person at the store or at a competitor’s store. Interestingly, Mobile Gamers are more likely to both check email on their smartphones (90% vs 62%A18+) and to be influenced by email ads, providing another opportunity to reach them in store. Since they’re reachable on the go via mobile while in the stores, targeted ads, offers or email coupons during their shopping experience would likely sway their purchases. After they’ve left the store, many Mobile Gamers will buy the product online, offering a second chance for advertisers to reach them through digital media.

In summary, Mobile Gamers are a desirable audience that is planning to spend and they shop armed with a smartphone. As heavy mobile users, they are reachable online and are always connected. Their overall media consumption profile implies that a sequenced media mix to these Mobile Gamers could be effective. An ad on a mobile video game, followed by a targeted ad online while they’re researching the product, then followed up with an email offer or targeted in-store offer (for those who are reached by beacons) to catch them while they’re showrooming could win Mobile Gamers’ dollars. Digital and mobile ads are likely to influence Mobile Gamers’ purchases so intercepting their online activities with ads and offers is likely to pay off. A savvy marketing mix that makes good use of the variety of digital formats and mobile technologies could transform Angry Birds into Happy Marketers and Words With Friends to Advertisers With ROI.

About the Author


Kristina Sruoginis

Kristina Sruoginis is the Research Director at IAB.

On October 23rd, thinkLA and IAB were thrilled to host a Programmatic Summit in Los Angeles, in association with eMarketer. Our first ever collaboration focused on the rising tide of programmatic within digital media. Over 500 brand marketers, media buyers, online publishers, ad networks, ad exchanges, and other solution providers came together to discuss and debate the next evolution of programmatic. 
Here are the top 10 takeaways from the event about programmatic:
  1. Programmatic is more than RTB. There is a lot of confusion over the term programmatic, which many people mistakenly believe is only real-time bidding (RTB) or used only for remnant inventory. Ultimately programmatic is the process of buying and selling media in an automated fashion. This includes four main types of transactions - open auctions, invitation-only/private auctions, unreserved fixed rate/preferred deals, and automated guaranteed/programmatic guaranteed deals. Every time someone says the word “programmatic” make sure you ask what exactly they mean. Watch this Digital Simplified video that explains how one part of programmatic, RTB, works step by step.
  2. Lots of challenges still exist to enable programmatic to work. Concerns that were addressed throughout the event included transparency, fraud, and trust; limited understanding and knowledge; confusion over terminology; moving from direct response to branding dollars, moving from mostly standard banners to native, video, rising stars, and audio ad formats; internal organizational challenges for brands and publishers; and delivering different creative through programmatic.
  3. Programmatic is big and getting bigger. The programmatic market (including auction, and direct deals) is expected to top $10B in 2014 and grow to $20B by 2016. For now, RTB remains the dominant part of programmatic spending (92% in 2014), but is expected to fall to under 60% of total programmatic spend by 2016 as programmatic direct increases. Within RTB, open auctions account for 88% of total RTB spend, though this is changing with private marketplaces growing significantly faster. While display is still dominant for now, mobile and video programmatic are growing fast.
  4. Fraud and trust are big issues, but are being tackled by the industry. Bots and fraud have become a big issue mainly due to the large sums of money involved. The IAB and the industry are building a trust stack to tackle fraud, malware, piracy, and transparency and include these in a joint cross-industry accountability program) building on the existing Quality Assurance Guidelines. Advertisers and buyers should make sure they know their supply sources, choose their vendors carefully, and always remember “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!” Publishers need to ensure they are coordinating between sales, marketing, operations, and analytics to identify any strange traffic patterns and remember if they are doing audience extension they need to apply the same controls as buyers should.
  5. Publishers can hit a home run with programmatic video. The concern that programmatic has been perceived as a “race to the bottom” for rates and yield has not been the case in video due to restricted supply. Publishers can use programmatic to fund the creation of quality video content particularly by helping to monetize traffic spikes. Ultimately efficiency doesn’t have to mean lower CPMs; it can also mean more effective engagement.  
  6. Measurement matters even more in a programmatic world. Brand marketers are looking for transparency, inventory quality, and technology simplicity. Buyers should ensure they are reaching the right audience, use a consistent, comparable metric to plan, buy, and sell audiences, use brand data to ensure advertising resonates, and ultimately ensure that the campaign drives the desired action.
  7. Attribution is essential to effective programmatic spend. Last touch attribution is outdated and is like giving all the credit in a relay race to the last runner. Attribution models should incorporate the “first site visit” separating the funnel into prospecting and retargeting, and set the right incentives to each part.
  8. Brands in automotive are leveraging programmatic. Leading brands are looking beyond the simple retargeting of ads and embracing programmatic across the consumer path to purchase from unaware to loyal purchasers. The agency automation “stack” includes four layers - unified data platform, open access to media inventory, single metrics regime, and dynamic ad creation/production/serving platform. Brands are finally learning from programmatic media to employ new tactics in automated creative—not creating by machines, but optimizing ad variables based on real-time, impression level data.
  9. Publishers need to re-org to capture the value of programmatic. Publishers are adopting programmatic as a core part of their monetization strategy. However, this can pose internal challenges. The top five ways to build a successful programmatic publisher organization were the following: align incentives and compensation; educate direct sellers and have them attend Programmatic 101 training; programmatic team to focus on supporting direct sales (agencies) and covering programmatic buying entities (DSPs, trading desks, retargeters); establish a programmatic rate card; and have internal and external quarterly budget reviews.
  10. Creativity and programmatic are not enemies. Every ad should be dynamic and leverage the same audience signals used in programmatic media buying to make the creative relevant. This can be done by infusing first or third-party data on demographics, location, and previous website behavior to alter the headline call to action, image, or assets of the ad unit to ensure the message resonates with the user. Doing this can double yield on interaction rates and increase engagement by 50%. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the global impact of the mobile media revolution lately. Advertising Week brings with it IAB’s annual Global Summit, a gathering of representatives from IAB branches worldwide. In conjunction with that event we have published our third annual anthology of IAB mobile perspectives, The State of the Mobile World.

For 2013, IABs in 30 countries participated—more than double our previous editions, providing a truly global view.  Where our Global Mobile Ad Revenue study provides the cold-hard-cash point of view on the mobile regionally and globally, State of the Mobile World offers a more nuanced, qualitative picture.

And what is the state of the mobile world? Well, growing—the participation of more and more IAB’s in our anthology project underscores how important mobile is becoming across national and regional divides. But beyond overall growth, mobile is very diverse from country to country, and depends on whether the dominant mobile technologies are feature phones or smartphones, and slower data speeds or mobile broadband. Below are a few common themes that I discern.

  • Marketers are playing catch-up. Whatever the state of mobile itself in a given country, in every market it feels like consumers lead the way, media companies are doing their best to follow, and agencies and brands, on average, tend to lag a bit, puzzled by mobile or unsure how to respond to the shift of the digital audience to phones and tablets.
  • Location gets people excited. Regardless of the phase or state of mobile adoption, location is the universal unique selling point of mobile. It’s the thing that piques marketers’ interest, and first sparks creative thinking about mobile’s possibilities as a distinct medium.
  • Video is coming up fast. Many participating IABs also cited video as a major mobile opportunity. This makes perfect sense, since video content is abundant and, assuming networks can handle it, an attractive content type for mobile consumers.
  • Improving creative is our common task. In terms of industry challenges, better ad formats was very common, and clearly a place where the global network of IABs needs to focus our efforts over the next 12 months. Building future-proof mobile creative is a huge challenge, but collaboratively the IABs are poised to meet this challenge in the coming year.

We hope the IAB State of the Mobile World provides a useful reference for anyone looking to learn more about mobile’s evolution across countries and continents.

About the Author


Joe Laszlo

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