Results tagged “iab” from IABlog

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In this installment of the IABlog series, “IAB Asks NewFront Sellers,” NewFront founders and presenters share their perspectives on the trajectory of digital video by answering this question: 
Is this the golden age of video? If so, how come? If not, when will we see a golden age, and what will it look like?

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

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

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

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

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

About the Author

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Kym Nelson

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

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In this, the first installment of the blog series, IAB asks 2014 Digital Content NewFronts founders and presenters to explore the relationship between digital video and traditional television, by answering the question:
In what ways do you see digital video filling in gaps that are being created in classic TV and/or creating new information and entertainment modalities?

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

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

Jason Krebs, Head of Sales, and Erin McPherson, Chief Content Officer, Maker Studios
Krebs: There are new connection points with consumers. But it’s also just as much about the technology and the screens. People are walking around with them in their pockets and their backpacks, so the combination of those two things became very important. Then, something that not a lot of people talk about is you really couldn’t get what was on your TV on the screen in your pocket. 
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McPherson: The way digital is filling gaps is very nuanced. One, the move to digital by consumers is keeping pace with the massive platform shift to mobile. Two, there’s a new genre that digital captured and that’s short-form. Short-form content and storytelling is something that was born really on digital platforms, and it’s become a major consumption point especially for younger audiences. They are playlisting content in the way we all playlist music. And short-form storytelling is really coming into its own as a genre. So there is the mobile shift. There is short-form. There’s video on-demand. Digital really enables non-linear viewing and on-demand viewing in targeted way that tradition television cannot. 

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

About the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts

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

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

IAB Standards Reach Japan

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As we hear of increased demand for IAB or IAB-like standards, guidelines and best practices in countries where IAB does not yet have a local IAB operation, we are intentionally seeking ways to engage in meaningful discussions and collaborate on specific initiatives in strategic markets like Japan.  
 
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IAB has been working in close collaboration with D.A. Consortium in Japan for nearly a year. As strong advocates for IAB standards and guidelines, DAC announced its launch of IAB Mobile Rising Stars in Japan and conducted research into their effectiveness in that marketplace. DAC has also translated and published on their subsidiary PlatformOne in Japan the IAB whitepaper “Programmatic and Automation: The Publisher’s Perspective”, part of IAB Digital Simplified Series.
 
Continuing this trend, the DAC team just recently they published a translation of the IAB whitepaper “Privacy and Tracking in a Post-Cookie World”. Click here to view the Japanese version or here for the original English version.

About the Author

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Alexandra Salomon

Alexandra Salomon is the Senior Director, International at the Interactive Advertising Bureau



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At a recent IAB Town Hall gathering supported by the Content Marketing Task Force and Social Media Committee, members met to discuss the rise of visual content marketing as part of the digital communications mix, focusing on the animated GIF.

In an entertaining presentation titled “Moving the Needle: The Power of the Animated GIF for Publishers & Advertisers,” Tumblr’s Creative Technologist Max Sebela presented the history and significance of the GIF as a file format—including its decline in popularity and recent resurgence as a prime communication tool, plus best practices and the “secrets” behind a great GIF. 

“GIFs were the first file format to give color and personality to the Internet, and they’re experiencing an exciting renaissance as an instrumental force in content creation, consumption and cultivating culture on Tumblr and across the web,” said Sebela.  “We’re seeing a pivotal shift in marketers embracing the animation platform to tell compelling brand stories, connect with consumers, and drive engagement and earned media.”

Members were invited to share their perspective on the GIF format as part of their content marketing mix.
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Buzzfeed, arguably one of the most prolific GIF users in the publishing world, added:

BuzzFeed2.gif“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a GIF is worth 10,000. GIFs are a mini-vehicle for storytelling, capturing emotions and communicating them in a concise way that words and pictures alone cannot.” -Joe Puglisi, Senior Creative Strategist, Buzzfeed

“People scroll past hundreds of images everyday on the internet without batting an eyelid. An animated element goes a long way towards bringing an idea to life, and turning an ordinary static image into an extraordinary, eye-catching concept. GIFs help us trim the fat and highlight the core emotional truth behind an instance or idea.” -Will Herring, Senior Creative, Buzzfeed


Animation credit: Will Herring, Buzzfeed

According to Sarah Wood, Co-Founder and COO of Unruly

“The GIF has been re-energized as a format, likely tied to the success and emergence of “sugar cube” content on Vine and Instagram Video.  Portable, postable nearly everywhere, featuring fast load times and quirky, jerky looping “video,” the animated GIF, like Vine, is a content gateway.  GIFs and Vines are both low cost forms of content creation that require the barest of tools and enable a new army of content creators to express themselves.  The limitations of these formats only add to the creativity required to make awesome content.  As short as a couple of seconds, the animated GIF broadens the dimensions of the video content spectrum, followed by Vine at 6 seconds, Instagram Video at 15, all the way to the 2-5 minute social videos we’ve seen trend on the Viral Video Chart.  Animated GIFs and Vine require zero budget—and highlight the democratization of online content.  Brands of all sizes can easily use these formats to drive their social conversation with custom content to win the hearts and minds of consumers, and get their feet wet before expanding to longer forms of video.”

Ahalogy’s Raman Sehgal, VP of Client Services, was quick to point out that Pinterest now supports GIFs and offered this suggestion to marketers looking to take advantage of this new content on the visual discovery platform, “When pinning, always remember the consumer context.  Pinterest is not just a social network, but a content discovery tool.  Marketers need to make sure their pinned GIFs add meaningful value for a user, and are in the right brand lens.  Many of our brand clients treat GIFs on Pinterest not as ads, but rather as inspiring short-form stories.”  See an example here.

Demand Media has a dedicated GIF offering for their clients, says Christine Fleming, Senior Director of Content Strategy and Monetization:

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“The intent of our animated GIF offering is to have the best of both worlds: the instructions and the visualization of those instructions, all in one, without having to go back and forth between an article and a video for example.  We’ve seen an increase in CTR (as compared to related articles and videos) by adding GIFs to related content alongside articles.  We create content that meets the needs of people in their everyday lives, so this it’s a perfect format for step by step tasks that require in motion visual instructions, like cooking or fitness or even making a clothespin earbud holder!” 


Animation credit: Demand Media

Lastly, Business Insider shared an example of how they are incorporating GIFs into editorial content to help bring stories to life. Emily Allen, SVP Ad Strategy added, “They’re great for showing short snippets of video and are much more convenient for the reader.  GIFs are more dynamic than photographs.  They offer the same effect as in the Daily Prophet in Harry Potter - except without the magic.”  

From advertising to sponsored content to editorial usage, it is clear that GIFs are an exciting and powerful element in the visual content marketing toolbox for publishers, marketers and agencies alike.  IAB will continue to host sessions where members will share their content marketing best practices for industry gain. 

About the Author

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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

Make Mobile Work Kicks Off with "HTML5: The Mobile Opportunity"

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In case you haven’t heard - we here at the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence are on the charge to Make Mobile Work this year. Based on our research last year around marketer perceptions of mobile and roadblocks to broader adoption of mobile advertising we’re setting out to show brands and agencies how to overcome these issues (both real and perceived) and start engaging with audiences on all of their devices. 

Our first webinar took place last Tuesday, March 18 and was all about discovering the power of HTML5 to create superior mobile ad creative. More than 150 marketers, agency buyers and publishers joined in to hear the IAB, AOL and Google discuss the importance of mobile advertising and steps to get started using HTML5. The webinar showed the power of HTML5, increased engagement of these ads and a walk through of how one brand started down the path to adjust from a Flash-only strategy. You can view the webinar and accompanying materials here as well as explore upcoming sessions on Make Mobile Work.

To keep the conversation going, Mollie Spilman, EVP Global Sales & Operations at Millennial Media, one of the original signatories of our Open Letter to Marketers, shared the following findings:

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Through the use of rich media, agencies and brands are creating clear, meaningful experiences for their audiences. They’re going beyond the banner to leverage unique features such as gamification, swipe galleries, voice recognition, video, and more - and seeing the benefits in spades. 

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In our latest Millennial Media S.M.A.R.T., we report on the impact rich media and video ads have on click-through rate (CTR) vs. standard banners. Automotive rich media and video ads, for example, saw an average of 3.5 times the CTR of standard banners. We’ve found that automotive advertisers often use video in their campaigns to show in-action driving, or dynamic ads that allow a consumer to swipe through different vehicle models or colors. Rich media and video ads run by education advertisers also saw 3.5 times greater CTR than standard banners. These brands incorporate animation, short quizzes, and video to get consumers thinking about their learning needs and resulting careers. Similarly, consumer goods’ rich media and video ads saw an average of 2.6 times the CTR compared to standard banner ads. Consumer goods advertisers tend to use video and interactive games to drive brand awareness.

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EY (Formerly Ernst & Young) is one company taking its brand awareness to the next level through rich media. In an effort to stay top of mind for - and appeal to - business and accounting majors interested in post-grad entry level positions, EY tapped Millennial Media and Mediahub/Mullen to craft an interactive, highly-targeted campaign. The creative teams collaborated on a strategy to take the main pillar of EY’s campaign, “Amazing from every angle,” and turn the messaging into an engaging experience that allowed mobile users to choose from a selection of origami figures and create them virtually through their smartphones’ touch screen. To ensure the creative reached the most relevant audience, Millennial Media also added deployed geo-location targeting capabilities to pinpoint, within two miles, the 57 pre-selected university campuses.
Rich media capabilities will continue to evolve as mobile devices evolve - but don’t wait! Creative teams are pushing the limits of mobile, much to the benefit and satisfaction of advertisers and consumers. 




About the Authors


sp_smith_belinda_100x134.jpgBelinda J. Smith

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



Mollie Spilman_Millennial Media.jpgMollie Spilman

Mollie Spilman is EVP of Global Sales & Operations at Millennial Media



Just before Valentine’s Day we held an industry town hall style conversation in San Francisco on the romantic topic of mobile and cross-screen audience metrics and measurement.

Before an audience comprised of members of the IAB Mobile and Tablet Committees, and the Research and Ad Ops Councils, a diverse panel of experts shared what their companies are doing around mobile and cross-screen measurement, what buyers want from metrics, and areas where this part of the mobile ecosystem needs to improve.

I want to thank my great group of speakers, including:

  •  Yvonne Chou, Product Management, Ads, and Monetization, Flipboard
  • Anne Frisbie, VP and GM, Global Alliances, InMobi
  • Graham Mudd, Director, Advertising Measurement, North America, Facebook
  • Steve Yarger, Head of Mobile, Trulia

Particular thanks to the folks at Trulia, who kindly let us use their event space for this conversation.

One topic we discussed was the traditional view of “reach” as an important metric—and the question of whether simply being the biggest was still a valuable differentiator for a network or media company.  The answer seemed in general that, yes, scale matters to ad buyers.  But raw, undifferentiated, mass-audience scale is not as valuable as it once might have been.  So InMobi, for example, tends not to talk about its raw reach number, but rather a smaller number (though still a big number—759 million) that counts only those end users for which it has some user-level targeting capabilities.

And of course where reach goes, so goes frequency, and to some extent duration as well.  I wondered (devil’s advocate-style) whether the age of audience buying meant that the good old GRP (reach x frequency) was obsolete.  None of the panelists really felt that way—indeed they all felt that there was increasing need for standardization of GRP-type metrics, for digital (including mobile) and then for cross-screen as well.  Making Measurement Make Sense deserves great credit for coming as far as it has, but the panelists agreed (and I think most 3MS participants would as well) that they still have a very long way to go.  Ad sellers are increasingly hearing demand from agencies to buy based on Nielsen OCR or comScore VCE, and see a role for IAB to help ensure those and any other GRP-style metrics are a sound basis for transactions.

And on the cross-screen frontier, there is a lot of interest, but a lot of concern as well. Vendors helping establish bridges between PC and mobile audiences are great, but some on the panel worry that they are either not transparent enough (or there’s no good way to validate their accuracy) and that on the consumer side there is not enough disclosure yet. Users need to accept and expect what you’re doing with their data, goes the sentiment, and with cross-screen data aggregation, there’s a risk of backlash from not-yet-informed or aware consumers.

Capping this part of the conversation I asked about the future of metrics and Alex from Weather said (half serious half in jest, I think) that we need an industry standard around cross-screen view-through conversions.  He’s probably right, but that’s an intimidating project.

Another point of metrics agreement among all five panelists was that clicks still matter too much in mobile.  First off, we shouldn’t even be calling them “clicks” or using the acronym “CTR” at all—in mobile the term is “taps.”  So even getting marketers talking about “tap rates” would be a minor victory.  But the major victory would be moving them from talking about taps to identifying and using better, deeper metrics to judge whether their messages are working.

I’ve been a proponent of trying this for some time, indeed IAB’s been on the “down with CTRs” message on desktop for ages.  But one interesting thing that came up in the town hall was that specific verticals have metrics they like, that they feel have proven (at least in terms of conventional wisdom) correlations to business results.

The two cited were:

Media and entertainment: movie studios look at trailer completion rates, believe a higher completion rate correlates with better box office.

Pharma: pharmaceutical companies look at the number of ad viewers who go three-clicks-deep into the content about a given drug. There’s a belief that people who do that are much more likely to go on to talk to their doctors and possibly get a prescription.

I am intrigued by these “magic metrics”—I’d like to start a collection of them for other verticals.  There’s a huge  value to simple, relevant, consistently defined metrics, especially if those metrics have an accepted correlation with actual leads, sales, or other valued business results.

Making mobile measurement make sense (which I’ve already heard referred to half-jokingly as “4MS”) is very much on the Mobile Center’s mind this year.  This town hall  was the first, but certainly not the last, industry conversation we’ll be facilitating, and Metrics and Measurement is going to be big at our upcoming Mobile Marketplace conference on April 7 here in New York.  I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on these issues, either there or in other venues later in the year.

About the Author

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Joe Laszlo

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

 

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IAB Launches the Programmatic Council to a Packed House

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Last Thursday, IAB officially launched the brand new Programmatic Council at the Ad Lab in New York City. More than 160 professionals from across the programmatic ecosystem joined in person or remotely.  

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The Programmatic Council aims to bring together publishers, buyers and ad technology providers to discuss the key business issues in the evolving programmatic marketplace. The focus of this Council will be to identify and tackle what is working and what can be improved to make programmatic work more effectively. The Council is the successor to the Networks and Exchanges Committee. It will build on the work done by the Programmatic Publishers Task Force who published three Digital Simplified pieces in 2013 on terminology, salesforce models and the need for transparency.


The Council agreed to focus on the full spectrum of Programmatic transactions - from Automated Guaranteed transactions (sometimes known as Programmatic Direct) through to the Open Auction.

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Building on the agenda set by the Programmatic discussions at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Palm Springs last month, the Council agreed to focus on four key issues over the coming year:

1) Building a transparent & fair marketplace - aim to come to a common agreement between buyers, sellers and vendors on what transparency means in an auction environment and agree how to achieve that.
2) Marketplace education and training - build understanding for both direct sellers and media planners, create training for C-suite executives, link to sales certification and create a common curriculum for companies to use.
3) Standardization of definitions, terminology, and best practices - start with updating existing terminology piece to incorporate buyer/ad tech inputs, and then look to create a comprehensive mapping of programmatic ecosystem including roles and definitions.
4) Making Programmatic work for brands - engage brand managers & CMOs, enable selling of new formats, build better brand metrics and make data more compelling.

The IAB will be creating working groups on each of these topics with representatives from across the ecosystem including buyers, sellers and ad technology providers. Members agreed concrete deliverables for the next 12 months for each of these four priority areas. In addition the Council identified a number of areas where this group would need to work closely with other initiatives including on trust and quality issues, data use and standards, technical standards, and video/audio committees. 


About the Author

Carl Kalapesi, Director Industry Initiatives, IAB 
Reach him via email [email protected] or Twitter @carlkalapesi



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IAB University - A Place For Learning

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I’ve been thinking about my job title for some time now. Something about it has been troubling me, and I believe I have finally figured it out.

Since we launched the IAB Certification program nearly two years ago I’ve been Vice President, Training and Development.  Now, at the IAB we don’t go out of our way to be cute or creative when we use titles; they are meant to be accurate, expressive, and to-the-point. No Senseis or Shepherds here. As a result no one has ever not understood what my role is at the IAB.

Still, the longer that I’ve had this position, the more the title has seemed inappropriate to me. It’s the word training that bothers me. Training is something that’s done to people (or dogs!) Training sounds passive. It conjures up the image of a student held hostage in a classroom, passively absorbing information. Training is what managers send employees through.

classroom.jpgBut learning is completely different. Learning is active, not passive. We choose to learn. We all want to learn, all the time, to experience new things. Learning occurs in the classroom, but it also happens on the job, at home, anywhere and everywhere; with others or by oneself. Others might control my training, but I control my learning. Which one is more likely to stick with me?

That’s why we created IAB University (IAB.U), an industry educational hub where everyone across the ecosystem, from every level, can come together to learn from each other. At IAB University you can be on the receiving end of digital advertising education or you can teach your peers. Plus, participants receive IAB Learning Credits good towards IAB Digital Media Sales or IAB Digital Ad Operations recertification programs, if they need them.
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The IAB is flush with subject matter experts. Experts abound. Need to learn the latest on programmatic? Interested in how native advertising works? Unclear on what a viewable impression is?  If there’s something you need to know about digital advertising, our members have the answers. The IAB has always been a tremendous resource for thought leadership and cutting-edge expertise; that’s truer today than ever as our industry continues its remarkable growth.

We realize more and more people come to the IAB to learn. We are attracting more junior level employees and people relatively new to the industry. Learning comes in all flavors— a webinar, a conference, a panel of experts, a town hall of newbies. Just about every program the IAB offers is a learning experience, and we hope you will take advantage of those learning experiences whether you are seeking recertification or just want to stay abreast of what’s happening out there.

But here’s our hope—that many of you will share your expertise or newly-found research with others in our community. Did your company just release a piece of research? Turn it into a webinar for IAB members. Are you an expert on some new trend? Put together a panel so that IAB members can discuss, at your place or ours. Let’s figure out a way to make learning continuous and collaborative.

We’re already beginning to put together a free program of learning opportunities. If you are interested in learning more about IAB University or want to be part of the IAB University “faculty” to let us know what you want to teach please start here iab.net/iabu.

And with that…

 About the Author


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IAB Launches Digital Advertising Regulation 101 Guide

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Are you familiar with Section 5 of the FTC Act?   Do you know how the government enforces its privacy laws?  What are the important state and federal laws that are relevant to your business model?

 Historically, the U.S approach to regulating privacy has been largely sectorial, meaning that there are a number of laws in place that address individual industries (e.g., healthcare or financial services) versus the far more comprehensive approach taken by the European Union.

To provide digital advertisers with a basic working knowledge of the current privacy laws applicable to the industry, the IAB has created a Digital Advertising Regulation 101 resource

This guide is for those with a limited understanding of current privacy law who are looking to learn a little bit more about the U.S.’s basic approach to these issues.  It is not meant to provide extensive detail into legislative histories or prognosticate on the outcome of pending privacy cases winding their way through the courts, but instead to give those new to the world of privacy a lay of the land.  

The guide covers all facets of digital advertising regulation.  It explains the basic rules that businesses need to follow, outlines both federal and state regulation, and provides summaries of sector-specific rules pertinent to digital advertising (all linking out to further information for those interested in delving deeper into a certain topic).  

This new resource is a supplement to the IAB’s Legislative and Regulatory Tracker that went online in October of last year.  It is meant to provide a general overview of the policies already in place, while the Legislative Tracker shows up-to-date developments on individual pieces of pending legislation in the context of digital advertising.

About the Author

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Stephen Hicks

Since February 2009, Hicks has served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Ziff Davis, LLC. and its predecessor. Hicks is co-chair of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) legal affairs committee. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Hicks served as General Counsel and Secretary for: MTM Technologies Inc. a publicly traded IT services provider and product resller; OutlookSoft Corp. a VC backed international financial software corporation acquired by SAP; and AMICAS Inc. (formerly VitalWorks) a publicly traded medical software corporation. Hicks also worked on the executive staff of Dennis Vacco, the New York State Attorney General; and was an associate at a New York law firm.
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What's a VAST?!? Understanding IAB Digital Video Suite

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Digital Video has become a thriving advertising channel that enables rich, DigitalSimplifed.jpgengaging creative messaging and provides interaction opportunities with consumers. You may not know about the technical nuts and bolts behind digital video advertising, so to help you, we’ve created a short educational video, “IAB Digital Simplified: Understanding IAB Digital Video Suite”.  This video, narrated by Adapt.tv’s Founder and Chief Product Officer, Teg Grenager, breaks down the processes of digital video advertising and illustrates the technical concepts of the IAB Digital Video Suite (V-Suite). Now you can quickly gain baseline knowledge on some of the critical work developed by IAB members to benefit the interactive advertising industry.

VsuiteVideoImage.jpgAs for digital video advertising, it may not have ever scaled without the help of VAST and VPAID, two specs that are part of the V-Suite. In December 2013, 188.2 million Americans watched a staggering 52.4 billion online content videos.  This amounted to 35.2 billion video ad views and 13.2 billion minutes spent watching video ads for the month.  Additionally in December, 86.9% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.* Recent estimates show U.S. digital video ad spending will nearly double in four years, climbing from $4.14 billion in 2013 to $8.04 billion in 2016.**

Adoption and use of the IAB V-Suite technical specifications have helped in this growth of the digital video marketplace and IAB seeks to encourage further adoption.  We know the full specification isn’t easy reading, so we invite you to check out this video and share it with your colleagues and partners. You’ll be empowered to speak about digital video and these specifications.

The IAB and its member companies have worked extensively to create an interoperable environment for video ad delivery across the digital supply chain. IAB Digital Video Committee working groups representing the industry have invested in long-term collaboration to create a suite of protocols that helps reduce operational complexity for video ad delivery. The result is the IAB Digital Video Suite, which includes three specifications: VAST, VPAID and VMAP. Each one plays a different role to enable communication between video ads and video players, and to simulate a TV ad experience with enhanced interaction.

As with many things in our industry, we’re only going to see more development and progress out of Digital Video. In fact, we’ve already seen attempts at integrating these specifications to work with technology involving connected TVs and cable networks. To stay on top of the issues and learn more about what’s happening in Digital Video, get looped into the Digital Video Committee.

For more information on the IAB Digital Video Suite go to: iab.net/vsuite or email [email protected].








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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what is Content Marketing?

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

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

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

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

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

The Need for Transparency and Disclosure

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

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

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

About the Author
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Andrew Susman

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


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A Conversation with James O’Neill, VP, Director of Interactive Media at RJ Palmer, and Diaz Nesamoney, CEO of Jivox.

The increasing capabilities of digital advertising formats provide new opportunities for marketers to engage prospects and turn them into customers. Central to this endeavor are advertising agencies who translate brand objectives into effective communications programs. Just as important, these agencies also provide the bridge to the most appropriate and effective digital execution technologies to optimize client return on investment. Given the scope and speed of change, the importance of the partnerships between agencies and technology providers cannot be underestimated. It takes close collaboration between marketer, agency, and technology partners to get the most out of digital advertising. 

One such example is the collaboration between RJ Palmer, a leading agency and member of the MDC family, and Jivox, a cross-screen interactive ad platform company and winner of the IAB Digital Video Rising Stars competition. IAB asked James O’Neill (JO), VP, Director of Interactive Media at RJ Palmer, and Diaz Nesamoney (DN), CEO of Jivox, to elaborate on this partnership.

IAB: The team at RJ Palmer were early adopters of the Digital Video Rising Stars. How did you bring this about?

(JO) Many of our clients have a high level of comfort with video being the dominant focal point of their interactive plans.  Since we have been trying to accomplish additional engagement and social interaction goals via various avenues, it serves us well to embed that functionality into the tactic on which clients focus most.

IAB: How have these formats worked for RJ Palmer clients?

(JO) These units have worked really well for us because they continue to realize not only the primary purpose of video - reach, comparable to how television is measured - but also the supplemental benefit of aiding in the achievement of social and engagement milestones.

IAB Full Player Digital Video Rising Star - Zicam demo (courtesy Jivox)

IAB:  What have you learned from your early experiences, and what advice would you give to other agencies considering in-stream interactive digital video advertising?

(JO) The biggest realization has been in the positioning of the performance. When all stakeholders are on board with a campaign’s primary focus and all else is complementary, no one is underwhelmed with what may seem like a low performance for specific interactions. For example, if additional interaction includes a coupon print, no one should compare the number or cost of the coupon prints to a digital consumer promotions campaign with Coupons Inc.; that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.

(DN) We have learned that less is more - greater user engagement comes not from overloading the ad with lots of buttons and interactions but rather from providing a meaningful set of options with which the user can engage and then leading them into a further immersive experience rather than overwhelming them with choices. We have to keep in mind that the video is the main creative asset, so we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

IAB: How do you measure success with these Digital Video Rising Stars formats?

(JO) Success of these formats still relies on the primary metric of video views but involves more nuances, with engagement rates acting as the differentiator between in-market or interested parties. For example, if reach is the same, wouldn’t a particular execution demonstrate greater value if it proved that the consumers were more likely to engage?

(DN) We use engagement rates measured as the number of times users interacted with the interactive elements in the ads. This is often coupled with engagement time - which measures how much time the user spent engaging with the ad experience. Both of these measures show value in interactive video as a way of creating greater user engagement. 

IAB: All digital display and mobile advertising is interactive, at least via a click-thru, yet the majority of digital video advertising is still not interactive. How do you see this changing?

(JO) I think the death of the click-thru as a primary metric is the reason that digital video is not interactive. The community views digital video more akin to TV, which isn’t interactive at all, so the interactivity and engagement shows no immediate benefit under this construct. In a black-and-white world, splashes of color do nothing until we start applying value to the color.

(DN) We think digital video is where display banners were 10 years ago. The first generation of banners looked much like their newspaper classified ad counterparts, i.e. static and non-interactive. They have, of course, since evolved to where now 40% of banners are rich interactive ads. With digital video, the number is something like 15% of ads being interactive; video ads are still generating high engagement rates even without being interactive, but once we start getting the equivalent of video ad blindness, we will probably see more rich interactive video ads as a way to make them stand out. 

IAB: What technical or operational issues did you have to overcome to launch these campaigns?

(JO) There’s a great deal of inherent risk when suggesting activations like this from a media perspective because we don’t hold the keys to creative assets or thinking. It takes a degree of loosening the grip of control of the process, from both the creative and media sides, to deal with this type of activation.

(DN) The varying sizes of video players - ranging from full-episode, TV-like video players to small players that are banner ad sized - posed a bit of a challenge to delivering creative that looked good regardless of the player size. We developed a “responsive” layout model similar to that used by mobile ads, in that our platform automatically selects a correctly sized layout to match the size of the video player. VPAID support by publishers was also a bit of limiting factor, but that has since largely been addressed now, with most publishers supporting VAST and VPAID standards for interactive video.

About the Author

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Peter Minnium 


As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.
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The Digital advertising industry exists in a complex legislative and regulatory environment. Policies in Internet governance, privacy, advertising, taxation, and intellectual property all have significant impacts on the growth and direction of the industry.

 And these policies are not being developed in one place. Within the Washington, DC beltway, laws and industry guidance are promulgated by regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission, the judicial system and past precedent set by court cases, and legislation enacted by Congress.

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To make this policy landscape even more complex, the digital advertising industry must also be cognizant of local and international laws. As those working in the industry know, digital advertising is borderless in nature and therefore depends upon a base level of legal cohesion among countries and regions. Disruptions stemming from policies in one nation, or U.S. state, are felt globally. Take, for example, two recent anecdotes from Europe.

On October 21, a data privacy bill before the European Parliament passed through committee on its path to becoming law. This draft bill, created in response to the recent revelations about U.S. national security data-tracking practices, directly impacts the digital advertising industry in several ways. For one, the bill calls for explicit consent before a wider variety of processing activities. The bill would also create new barriers to transferring information about EU citizens to the U.S. Perhaps most importantly, the bill proposes a new definition of personally-identifiable information that includes “online identifiers.” The European Parliament will now negotiate with the Council of the EU to reach a compromise agreement.

Contemporaneously, the EU is considering whether or not to allow the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework to continue. This framework allows participating U.S. companies to comply with EU privacy rules through a streamlined self-certification process. Under this framework, Over 4000 companies, and many IAB members, have demonstrated their high level of privacy protection in order to work with European companies and serve European citizens. Although Safe Harbor is focused on addressing commercial privacy practices, the value of the Framework has been questioned in recent months in association with national security concerns.

Were digital advertising practices and technologies static, there would already be a complicated set of rules to follow. But industry practitioners know that digital advertising is never static. Innovations are constantly created that raise new public policy questions. This is evidenced by the FTC’s recent interest in native advertising and the Internet of things.

To help the digital advertising industry identify the policies relevant to them, the IAB has created an online Legislative and Regulatory Tracker. This webpage summarizes draft legislation and regulations that will impact our ecosystem, and categorizes these proposed laws by subject, such as children’s privacy, location privacy, and trade. It also offers IAB’s positions on the draft laws, providing further insight into how IAB is working to promote growth in the interactive marketplace on behalf of its members. Whether you’re a publisher, advertising network, or marketer, we hope you find this service helpful in navigating the complex policy environment.

This tracker will continually be updated and expanded, so check back regularly for up-to-date information on the policies that could affect your business. For more updates on the IAB’s public policy work, visit the IAB public policy website. If you have questions about the tracker or IAB’s other public policy initiatives, please feel free to email me at [email protected].

About the Author

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Alex Propes

Alex Propes is Senior Manager, Public Policy, at the IAB.

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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

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Sherrill Mane

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


The just-completed IAB MIXX Conference & Expo 2013 themed “Advertising is__________?,” explored the changing definition of advertising, with the two days focused on showcasing competing points of view, highlighting their differences, and looking for points of commonality. As part of this debate, the IAB convened a discussion on “Native Advertising: Fact and Fiction,” with the similar goal of creating a framework for understanding this hot new concept.

This session complements the work of the IAB Native Advertising Task Force, a group of companies 80+ members strong who are working to establish a framework for the native advertising space by putting forth a prospectus that clearly lays out today’s “native” landscape. This prospectus, targeted to advertisers, publishers, and ad tech providers, will provide a focused, guiding light to the industry while being broad enough that it can expand over time. In addition, it will provide a basis for further IAB initiatives in this space.

While the Task Force plans to publish their work in the fourth quarter, the IAB MIXX session attendees were given a sneak peak and chance to comment on the Task Force’s early findings. A panel of industry stakeholders led the feedback: Task Force Co-chair Patrick Albano, Vice President, Sales, Yahoo!; Steve Kondonijakos, Sr. Marketing Director, Federated Media; Stacy Minero, Leader, Content Marketing, Mindshare; Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist, Edelman; and Geoff Schiller, Chief Sales Officer, Hearst Digital.

The session kicked off with a discussion of the duality of “native advertising,” with the concept encompassing both an aspiration as well as a suite of ad products.  On the one hand, we all aspire to deliver “paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated with the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”  On the other, tactically, advertisers must use ad products to achieve this, and the IAB Native Task Force has identified six categories commonly used today in pursuit of this goal:

1. Search Units, e.g. 
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2. Promoted Listings, e.g.:
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3. Recommended Content Units, e.g.:
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4. In-Feed Ads, e.g.:
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5. In-Ad (IAB Standard) Units, e.g.:
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6. Custom, e.g.:
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The group discussed at length the core dimensions of ads that feel native, including form, the extent to which the ad fits with the overall page design; function, how well the ad matches the editorial feel of the content in which it is nested; and technology, the degree to which the viewer can treat the ad like they can any other content on the site.  Amid a spirited debate, consensus is emerging that you can achieve a native experience through three, two, or even one of these, depending on the site, brand message, and audience mix. 

There was a great deal of enthusiasm in the room about the unique benefits that the advent of “native” has brought to display advertising. First and foremost, display advertising has been freed from the “ad ghetto” of the right rail and leaderboard to which it has long been confined and now has license to settle anywhere on the page. The horse is now out of the barn, and advertising will not be forced back into solely those positions. A corollary benefit of this move is getting advertising into the user’s natural activity stream—where print and TV advertising have always been. Allowing the viewer to interact further without leaving the site is much preferred to clicking through to a new website.  Finally, “native” is decidedly and overwhelmingly a form of brand advertising, a category that display has long fought with marginal success to conquer.

The lively conversation provided useful feedback to the IAB Native Task Force. Audience members encouraged the IAB to find the right balance between standardization and customization—giving enough firm guidance to help make the market, but not too much to stifle it—while best practices around disclosure were also highlighted as a need. 

Have we answered the question, “Native Advertising is__________?” The IAB Native Task Force and feedback for the IAB MIXX session clearly show that there is real agreement around what it is not: a single, uni-dimensional ad product. Rather, it is an end goal—an aspiration—that folks seek to attain via a number of paid advertising tactics. The IAB Native Task Force will absorb the advice and carry forward the enthusiasm of the IAB MIXX session as it works to publish the IAB Native Prospectus that details these principles in the fourth quarter.

About the Author
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 Peter Minnium


As the Head of Brand Initiatives at IAB, Peter Minnium leads a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of creative brand advertising online. He can be reached on Twitter @PeterMinnium.

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The IAB's Top 8 Digital U.S. Universities

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The latest annual ranking of U.S. universities by U.S. News & World Report came out on Tuesday, and while I’m personally pleased with how some higher learning institutions performed (Go Tigers!), I’m a bit dismayed that none of the top 10 has much of a reputation for their Digital Marketing or Advertising programs. In fact, only one school in the top 20 offers an undergraduate major with a digital focus.

Why does any of this matter? Because there’s a growing disconnect between the needs of the market and the available resources at universities. Marketing and Advertising— digital marketing, in particular, and digital advertising—are driving the mobile and digital revolutions which have created billions of dollars in equity value and hundreds of thousands of jobs.  While academic programs struggle to incorporate current trends into a semester-long course, IAB member companies express exasperation at finding qualified college graduates to fill entry-level positions.

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The timing is right for all of this to change. Struggling under mountains of college debt, students (and parents) want assurances that their degrees will lead to careers, not just jobs. Colleges face their own financial crises and as the competition for students increases, every institute of higher education—from community colleges to state universities to liberal arts colleges—will recognize that there are worse academic sins than preparing students for life and work after the classroom.

The IAB Digital University Study

Digital advertising and marketing aren’t the only sectors of the economy that are growing, of course. But they might be the most underrepresented among university programs. IAB recently commissioned a study of current offerings of undergraduate programs in advertising, marketing, and digital media studies at recognized U.S. institutions. Choosing “best” of anything is clearly subjective, and so we chose our criteria carefully. We looked at five requirements for colleges to satisfy in order to make our list:

1. The university is nationally and internationally recognized in various disciplines

2. The university offers undergraduate degrees in advertising, marketing, media studies, or business

3. The advertising program includes an emphasis in interactive advertising, digital media, or at least offers several courses with a focus on interactive and social media advertising

4. The marketing program allows for elective courses outside the business school

5. The university offers courses in digital media design that are available to non-art majors

Location, while not a primary factor, was also taken into consideration. Programs in New York and California received additional attention.

The following programs, in no particular order, show the most promise in addressing the five factors (the U.S. News & World national rankings are listed in parentheses after each university):

  • University of Texas at Austin - BA in Advertising with an emphasis in Media Studies (#52)
  • New York University - BBA in Marketing or BS in Media, Culture and Communication (#32)
  • Syracuse University - BA in Advertising (#62)
  • University of California at Berkeley - BA in Media Studies (#20)
  • Southern Methodist University - BA in Advertising with Media Emphasis (#60)

The following programs have established and recognized interactive advertising programs but may not meet other requirements.

  • Michigan State University - BA in Advertising with an emphasis in Management and Media (#73)
  • University of Washington - Master of Communications in Digital Media (#52)
  • University of Michigan, Dearborn - BBA in Digital Marketing (#36 Regional Ranking)

There’s a lot here to consider. The digital industry needs more top schools to introduce relevant digital courses and majors. IAB, as an industry leader, need to become actively involved in the programs that are being offered and figure out a way to enhance their reputation.

And here’s why: In order for the digital economy to continue to flourish, the current and next generation of post-secondary students must be prepared for interactive advertising careers. On-the-job training can only go so far and can be much more efficient if new employees have the requisite skills and knowledge before entering the workforce.

IAB is committed to professionalizing the digital advertising workforce of the 21st century, creating accredited credentials that set industry-wide standards of knowledge and expertise. We started in 2012 with the Digital Media Sales Certification program and have certified nearly a thousand sales professionals in little more than a year. Now, this week, we launched the Digital Ad Operations Certification program, the first-ever certification for digital ad ops professionals at ad agencies, digital publishers, trading desks, demand and supply-side platforms, exchanges and brands. We will continue our efforts in 2014, introducing new certification programs wherever the marketplace deems necessary.

But education, training and workforce development need to occur further upstream. Private industry—the digital employers who represent the greatest need for a trained and capable workforce—must make its need for qualified graduates known to colleges and universities, and to partner with these institutions, providing scholarships, endowing chairs, funding programs, and joining faculties. IAB sees a major role for itself in helping to make these partnerships possible. Look for further developments in 2014. 

To learn more about IAB Professional Digital Certification Programs go to iab.net/certification or email [email protected]t.

 About the Author


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The Fourth Quarter Countdown to Viewability

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Marketers love digital media, plain and simple. The digital platform gives marketers opportunities to create conversations and consumer relationships that heretofore were not possible. Brands are being built and results are being generated due to digital’s expansion within the marketing mix.

But marketers are also frustrated by the lack of “viewability”. In 2012, according to various sources, 1.8 trillion display ads were paid for, but could not be seen. We are close to realizing a material improvement to this fundamental issue: viewability. Yes, the viewable impression is nearly here. The Media Rating Council (MRC) expects to lift its Viewable Impression Advisory by the end of this year, and at that time marketers will eagerly start buying digital media on viewable metrics. Publishers and agencies, we hope you’re ready.

Marketers reportedly waste billions of dollars annually in display ads that are not viewable. ANA’s Board of Directors and the larger marketing community have demanded that viewability become the basis for digital currency and transactions. 

In February 2011, when ANA joined with IAB and the 4A’s to start the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative, we recognized a tremendous shortfall in digital spending productivity. We saw a substantial confidence gap in understanding the value of marketing investment in display and video advertising. We were horrified that the media that was “supposed to be the most accountable” was turning out to be the least accountable. With great anticipation, we are now just a few months away from resolving a significant driver of this dilemma.

The foundation of this excitement is the overdue shift from served impressions to viewable impressions. It gives marketers the assurance that consumers get to see the ad that they paid to place. Critically, it opens the opportunity for apples-to-apples cross-platform comparisons that will increase marketer confidence in the development of intelligent and capable multi-screen marketing plans. It provides marketers with the accountability they need to embrace digital more enthusiastically. There’s also a great benefit for publishers, agencies, and others that succeed in making the transformation to viewable, as they will become the preferred partners of these hungry marketers. The upside is enormous for all those that make the shift.  

We recognize, however, that the move to viewable is rattling many businesses to their cores. Publishers need to adopt SafeFrame to increase the proportion of their inventory that is measurable for viewability, and to adjust the very constitution of their operations to manage this important currency change.

We understand that the system will be imperfect. Refinement of viewable impression transactions will continue even after the MRC Advisory is lifted. For example, new complexities in discrepancy resolution will need to be explored and resolved

There is no turning back. The marketing community has waited too long and wasted too much money not to make the leap to viewable. We cannot be frozen by fear or perfectionism either. Without forward motion, we will undermine the advancements already established. We will also undercut future enhancements that will make digital media a more appealing brand-building investment for marketers.

The viewable impression will be the foundation of fundamental innovations such as the Digital GRP. Creating a GRP that is comparable to that in other media is crucial for the evolution of cross-platform analytics. Marketer’s inherent challenge to enhance integrated marketing would be dramatically reduced by a “common GRP.” This would facilitate improved decision-making and resolve cornerstone issues such as marketing mix modeling and media budgeting decisions. Combined with the growing use of the common coding power of Ad-ID, marketing measurement for publishers, agencies, and marketers would be turbocharged.

For the digital media industry, the only question is how fast we can implement these historic changes. The MRC is bounding onwards, completing the work needed to lift the advisory and continuing to guide us toward a more accountable media marketplace. For agencies, forward motion means being ready to rely on the clarity provided by these new metrics to advise and act in the best interests of marketers. For publishers, it means adopting SafeFrame now and being ready to satisfy marketer demand for viewable impression transactions by the end of the year. 

This is the age of accountability. If you’re ready to meet the demands of the day, you’ll be greatly rewarded. But if you’re not a participant, you’ll run the risk of being left on the sidelines. Let’s do this all together and move the industry decidedly forward. 

About the Author

bliodice.jpgBob Liodice

Bob Liodice is President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of National Advertisers






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

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

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

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

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The Cookied Web

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anti-Business Bias

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Atomized Individual

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mozillan Ideology

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

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

All of these presumptions are questionable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Firefox’s Henhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About the Author
sp_rothenberg_randall_100x134.jpgRandall Rothenberg

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

For marketers just getting their feet wet in mobile, it can be hard to understand return on investment. At the macro level, spending on mobile advertising is booming (new research from IAB and IAB Europe pegs mobile ad revenue at $8.9 Billion USD worldwide in 2012). However, an overly narrow view risks undervaluing the benefits that mobile advertising brings. That’s why we are pleased to unveil the newest IAB Mobile Center web tool: Mobile Value.

Mobile Value enables a holistic view of the multi-channel impact of mobile advertising.  Our calculator consists of a series of simple, fill-in-the-blank web-based forms that invite marketers to input basic data from a recent (or ongoing) campaign—no names or details needed. 

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The Mobile Value tool incorporates five key mobile value-drivers:

  • Calls
  • App downloads
  • Cross device purchases
  • Mobile site visits
  • In-store sales

Of course, not all of these will apply to all campaigns or all marketers, but completing a full circuit of the tool’s components results in a calculation that demonstrates, in dollars and cents, the value a marketer derives from its mobile ad investment.

Complementing each component is a set of measurement tips to help a marketer find (or estimate) the data they need, along with case studies that drive home how each of these components contributes to the total return from mobile advertising.

We’d like to thank our friends at Google for their help creating this tool, and we hope that marketers find it a useful compass as they navigate mobile’s waters!

About the Author 

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Joe Laszlo


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