IAB Networks & Exchanges 2011 Recap

Networks & Exchanges: IAB Marketplace - May 16, 2011

It's Time to Stop Digital-on-Digital Crime

The 2011 IAB Networks & Exchange Marketplace kicked-off with a stage full of powerhouse industry authorities. Randall Rothenberg, President & CEO of IAB, wasted no time putting out the call to stop the fighting over margin scraps and focus on reducing complexity, assuring quality, and putting consumers (and marketers) first.  Our industry is not only about science and data—but about art and craft as well, he said. We must get past the marketplace confusion caused by the presence and growth of networks and exchanges and truly think of ourselves as stewards of brands, focusing on how brands and publishers can do bigger, better business—together. Before leaving the stage, Randall also called out the IAB Data Usage & Control Primer as a valuable resource to be used across the industry.

Event hosts, David Jacobs, Senior Vice President, Publisher Services, Advertising.com, and IAB Networks & Exchanges Committee, Co-Chair;  David Moore, Chairman, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer, 24/7 Real Media, and IAB Board Member; and Jay Sears, General Manager, Exchange, CONTEXTWEB, and IAB Networks & Exchanges Committee, Co-Chair, reemphasized the mandate to advance the conversation beyond the pain points that plague the interactive industry. Before turning the stage over the morning’s keynote speaker, Jay recognized the first 18 industry-leading companies that have already completed the IAB Networks & Exchanges Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG) Certification Program (recognized onsite with ribbons on their representative name badges) and the 13 additional companies that are committed to self-certify later this in 2011.
Doug WeaverThis market is not in a hurry to anoint winners—built to flip is out and built to last is in, said Upstream Group’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer Doug Weaver, as he asked, then attempted to answer “Nine Disruptive Questions That May Define the Marketplace.” His last question—What about the consumer? As an industry, we tell them they are going to get better advertising. But have they?  We tell them we are going to keep the Internet for free, yet they consumers pay for their service each month. And, we need to realize that when the consumer says STOP. It all stops. That’s why we need a proactive, positive approach to privacy—we must make it a core part of our values. See Doug’s full slide presentation here.

Twice throughout the day the audience participated in short, intimate, fast paced sessions presented by solutions providers, and designed to educate advertisers and publishers. Attendees selected eight of the eleven presentations to help them cut through the clutter and determine which options are best for their business.

David VladeckA much anticipated session rounded out the morning’s learnings as David Vladeck, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, addressed the hot topic of self-regulation vs. government regulation.  The commission recognizes that behavioral advertising benefits consumers, he said right away.  But, he noted, it also raises serious privacy concerns. He called out three key points of the FTC’s Do Not Track proposal. 1. Privacy and security must be built into systems 2. Consumer choice must be simplified. 3. And, we must increase transparency, so consumers can finds what they need to make choices—similar to the Digital Advertising Alliance’s Advertising Option Icon. With “privacy by design” as a goal Vladeck outlined five key features for a successful self-regulation mechanism.

  1. Options must be easy for consumers to find, use, and understand
  2. It must be effective and enforceable
  3. It must be universal, not company by company, or network by network
  4. It must allow consumers to opt-out, not only from the use of tracked data, but also from the collection of the data
  5. It must ensure that consumer’s choices will be persistent. They should not have to reset every time they close their browser.
He also commended the IAB and the recently introduced Code of Conduct for reinforcing consumer’s choice and privacy. For more on this issue, read Bob Liodice’s, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of National Advertisers (ANA), response on behalf of the Digital Advertising Alliance to David Vladeck from the recent 4As Transformation Conference on March 9 in Austin, TX.

The dynamic team of Marleta Ross, Director of Global Prepaid Interactive, American Express, and Joanna O’Connell, Senior Analyst, Interactive Marketing Professionals, Forrester Research, took us behind the scenes of a brand marketer’s thought process in working with ad networks. Ultimately, said Marleta, technology hasn’t changed the role of a marketer. Her goals remain the same, but the environment in which she has to reach those goals is changing drastically. What does she need from networks and publishers? Help reaching those goals with technology that will add value to what she already has—not the same systems with slightly different features—but technology that will differentiate what she’s doing.

Case studies in audience buying kept attendees fully engaged after the second round of marketplace learning sessions in the late afternoon. Five teams of brands and ad technology providers—a DSP, SSP, a network and an exchange—shared real-world examples of how they work together to find audiences and do bigger, better business through audience targeting, predictive segmentation modeling, and more—with impressive results. Featured campaigns improved client ROI by 823% in one case, 571% in another, and increased conversions rates 8x for an e-commerce advertiser. One common theme that carried across all the case studies—marketers care about brand safety controls and transparency.

In the final session, moderator Jay Sears stumped the agency trading desk panel by asking them to play a game of word association. As he named major players in the space—Google, Yahoo!, DoubleClick, Microsoft—panelist Teri Gallo, Vice President, Marketplace Development, Cadreon; Neeraj Kochhar, President, Varick Media Management; Brian Lesser, Senior Vice President, General Manager, Media Innovation Group; and Kurt Unkel, Senior Vice President, VivaKi Nerve Center, cautiously shared their straight-forward insights and opinions. Responses included “fantastic brand,” “evolving,” “disappointing,” “workhorse.” They also reemphasized the need to minimize complications throughout the digital industry.

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Videos from the stage courtesy of Freewheel  FreeWheel