IAB Ad Operations Summit 2012 Highlights
The sold-out 6th annual IAB Advertising Operations Summit opened with a warm and thought-provoking welcome from Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Advertising Technology, IAB. “What things are mobile?” he asked. His answer included: newspapers, bus advertising, and other unexpected mediums. “Really, it’s the media that’s mobile. It’s not the device,” he said—a compelling introduction to a day committed to exploring and solving the ad operations challenges of the multiscreen world.
First up, Todd Simon, Managing Director, Oppenheimer & Co. moderated a discussion about mergers and acquisitions with two individuals experienced in managing big deals: JT Batson, Chief Strategy Officer, Mediaocean and Mike Leo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Operative. The hands-on experts discussed the sensitivity of deal-related communications with employees, clients, and those involved with the deal itself. On the horizon, M&A opportunities include enterprises related to video, said Leo, or located overseas, said Batson. Good targets are those that are “sticky,” companies “providing true sustainable value to their clients,” Leo said.
The debut “IAB in Action” presentation centered on Do Not Track with an update by Mike Zaneis, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, General Counsel, IAB. The outcome of the DNT debate will impact everyone from the CEO through to the ad ops community and down to the bottom line, he said. Currently the focus is on a browser-based DNT solution, yet still much is unclear including the technical meaning of the DNT flag and how the advertising industry should respond. The best way forward, he advised, is participation in the Digital Advertising Alliance and its self-regulation program—which will soon be extended to mobile.
Mobile, its rapid adoption by consumers and the complexities facing the advertising community, took center stage next. Eric Ferguson, Vice President, Digital Client Services, Nielsen, moderated a deep-dive discussion with Angelina Eng, Vice President, Digital Media Operations, Carat USA; Richy Glassberg, Chief Operating Officer, Medialets; JiYoung Kim, Senior Vice President, Strategy and New Solutions, Ansible; and Grant Stratemeyer, Vice President, Business Development, Celtra. The biggest challenge cited is fragmentation: in definition and use of metrics, as well as ad sizes, operating systems, and devices. Eng encouraged the adoption of a more holistic view of mobile in relation to the larger ecosystem, while Stratemeyer encouraged a wide-angle outlook that includes the history of the industry and consumers.
After a refreshment break, Marc DeBevoise, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Entertainment, News and Sports, CBS Interactive provided a sneak peak into the marketing activity behind what currently stands as the largest social TV event in history. CBS saw a record 13 million social mentions in and around the 2012 GRAMMY Awards. DeBevoise emphasized the number of moving parts behind the scenes, including a battle of bands executed through YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook; innovative partnerships with Shazam and Zynga; editorial promotion; a network star enthusiastically Tweeting throughout the event; live web-only content; and an app, which rose to the number one entertainment app on iTunes.
Next up, an IAB Initiatives in Action update for Making Measurement Makes Sense. Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President, Research, Analytics, and Measurement, IAB, reminded the audience that 3MS is a cross-ecosystem partnership committed to identifying and defining digital media currencies and the core metrics for planning, buying and evaluating brand advertising across all platforms. One key element is the viewable impression. David Gunzerath, Senior Vice President and Associate Director, Media Rating Council revealed highlights from the viewable impression pilots. While the viewable threshold of 50% for one second was reinforced as reasonable, a couple of issues came to the fore. Viewable rates varied greatly, and viewability could not be determined for a significant portion of the campaigns, largely due to iFrames. Following the status update, George Ivie, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Media Rating Council; Joe Barone, Managing Director, Digital Advertising Operations, GroupM; and Julian Zilberbrand, Senior Vice President, Global Digital Director, Technology Activation Group, Starcom MediaVest Group joined the stage. The discussion focused on how to do business on viewable impressions now. Ivie recommended seeking a very transparent vendor.
Appropriately, the spotlight shifted to an IAB initiative offering mechanisms to support measuring whether or not impressions are viewable. SafeFrame 1.0 is a set of technical protocols that enable website publishers to safely manage content served from external sources, such as ads, while preventing external access to potentially sensitive consumer data. These specifications also help advertisers obtain new insights and more accurately assess an ad campaign’s success. Sean Snider, Senior Web Software Engineer, Yahoo!, and Co-Chair, IAB SafeFrame Working Group, presented the initiative to the standing-room only crowd. Zach Putnam, Vice President, Revenue Planning and Operations, ABC Television Network and Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Advertising Technology, IAB joined Snider on stage to discuss SafeFrame rollout in the field.
Before breaking for a networking luncheon, Neal Richter, Chief Scientist, Rubicon Project and Art Schram, Vice President, Adapt Platform, Glam Media candidly discussed how they worked together to help Glam make all of its inventory accessible to a programmatic buying channel, while controlling the inventory attributes available to buyers. “We need an approach that allows us to take demand from an electronic source as well as a direct source,” Schram said. “Because we control those attributes, we can control programmatic the same way we can control direct,” he said.
After a hearty networking luncheon, the Ad Ops Summit spotlight turned to one of the most prevalent topics of the day: business continuity. Mitchell Weinstein, Senior Vice President, Managing Partner, U.S. Ad Operations, UM, explored how to be prepared for and manage operations during an unexpected crisis, like Hurricane Sandy. Among his valuable pieces of advice: teams should be cross-trained on the various vendors and clients to help out in a pinch; other office locations should be prepared to jump in when necessary and staffers should know who to tap; everyone should have access to all materials needed to work remotely; the force majeure clause in contracts should be evaluated for adequate protections; and after a disaster, client expectations about performance should be managed, if affected.
Rany Ng, Group Product Manager, Display Advertising, Google, pressed play on an inspirational discussion of video. “How can we create amazing ads for every audience everywhere?” she asked. Part of it is planning for the future, while still solving the challenges of today through efforts like VAST. She cited optimizing video experiences for specific screens, by adding a click-to-call button on cell phones or creating a more lean-back experience for tablet users, and preparing for a future of interactive video. Reaching audiences more effectively can come from giving them choice, like that which is made possible through the TrueView program that empowers users to skip ads. Being everywhere means extending the experience to all four screens (TV, mobile, tablets and PCs) to achieve a significant lift in key metrics.
Next up, getting out the vote. In this presidential election year, big data took center stage. Political campaigns are high-speed branding campaigns that require specialized knowledge of customers, said Elaine Harvey, Vice President, Software Engineering, Resonate. Big data is a part of this, collecting it, turning it into understanding, and then pushing it to take action. Joe Lichtenberg, Vice President, Edge Computing, Mirror Image Internet, said “Now that politicians are using big data in their campaigns, it’s safe to say that it’s everywhere.”
Peter Minnium, Head, Brand Initiatives, IAB introduced Jonah Goodhart, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Moat, and Meredith Levien, Group Publisher, Chief Revenue Officer, Forbes Media, to demonstrate the results of the IAB Rising Star ad units. The performance figures are based on two new IAB measurement metrics devised and implemented to compare the Rising Stars formats with the legacy standard units: Universal Interaction Rate (UIR), the percent of users who intentionally enter the frame of the ad for at least half a second, and Universal Interaction Time (UIT), the average amount of time users spend on the ad. Real data from Forbes showed a 252% higher interaction rate and 36% longer interaction time with Rising Star ad units. This publisher’s use of the innovative units reflects its sales philosophy. We used to be in the business of selling readers; then we sold users; now we sell participants, Levein said.
For the fourth installation of IAB Initiatives in Action, the Quality Assurance Guidelines took the limelight. The IAB Quality Assurance Guidelines are intended to provide brand safety assurances to advertisers that their ads will not appear next to inappropriate content. In October, the guidelines were expanded to apply not just to networks and exchanges, their original focus, but to marketers, agencies, DSPs, SSPs, and trading desks to establish greater marketplace trust on all sides. Rob Rasko, Founder, Managing Partner, The 614 Group, and Executive Advisor, IAB, interviewed Ari Bluman, Chief Digital Investment Officer, GroupM North America, about his role at GroupM and adoption of QAG to all parties.
Back to big data—Jonathan Margulies, Managing Director, Winterberry Group, presented results from a joint white paper with IAB entitled, “The Data Management Platform: Foundation for Right-Time Consumer Engagement.” It reveals that DMPs could potentially serve as a principal technology solution for multichannel data aggregation, integration, management and deployment. DMPs are technology tools that normalize disparate data sets so that marketers can better understand and utilize data from multiple sources. Specifically, the research cites DMPs as a catalyst to empower the industry to: unite the interests of advertisers, marketers, publishers and digital merchants around distinct, actionable audiences and present a foundational infrastructure for managing and optimizing, cross-channel customer experience management.
The Ad Ops Summit concluded with the voice of the participants coming through loud and clear. Earlier in the day, attendees broke out into intimate sessions to discuss three issues: turning data into dollars, monetizing linear video advertising, and yield management and optimization. One big idea from the data discussion: the industry should be clear about what how the data is used, not just a yes or no proposition. The monetization group had a lively dialogue—one take-away focused on convergence. We need standards like the IAB Video Suite to make the transition possible, they said. One theme from the yield management group: publishers don’t feel as though they have the same level of technology that the advertisers have.
Steve Sullivan concluded the Summit by inviting the full room of ad operations executives to drinks. “That’s a wrap!” he said.
#IABAO on Twitter