IAB Annual Leadership Meeting:
Randall Rothenberg welcomed the audience to the final day of the 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting by sharing big news: the launch of the IAB Advertising Technology Council. The new Ad Tech Council represents the first time IAB has aimed to organize companies whose business isn’t sales but the technical foundation of transactions. The IAB Data Council launched “Data Driven Advertising,” a web-based resource designed to demystify a complicated and misunderstood area of the industry for advertising professionals. A standardized, electronic Digital Advertising Invoice is on the way from the IAB Digital Advertising Invoice taskforce, to reduce inefficiencies and errors in the media buying workflow.
David Kohl, Advertising Sector Leader, Media & Entertainment Advisory Services, Ernst & Young, revealed results from the 2012 Interactive Ad IQ Survey demonstrating the serious need for industry training. A startling proportion of respondents reported being uncomfortable explaining why mobile, social media, and online video should be part of an advertising buy.
More valuable and surprising insights from research are now available here. Rothenberg announced the debut of the IAB InsightCenter, a free online service for publisher members to access additional research data via the IAB Web site. The series will include findings from BIGinsight’s monthly Consumer Survey, an ongoing survey that summarizes results from 8,500 interviews conducted each month since 2001, and the Media Behaviors & Influence Study, which polls some 25,000 respondents twice a year.
While time and space sales are getting marginalized, a great deal of investment is spent optimizing how advertising time and space is utilized, Rothenberg said in his introduction to Magid Abraham, Ph.D., President, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Founder, comScore. He took the audience on an eye-opening exploration into the economic problem of unlimited impressions and the positive implications of the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative. In the current environment, when it comes to digital impressions, constraints are virtually non-existent, he said. There is no scarcity, and ad prices are declining. Counting unlimited served impressions is hurting the advertising economy. Citing the need for viewable impressions, he reported that three out of 10 ads served were never actually seen, and that placement above the fold didn’t guarantee visibility. He recommended introducing scarcity into the system by only counting impressions that reached a real user. Among the criteria for counting an impression: the ad must be in view—similar to the viewable impression called for by 3MS; it must be delivered in the target geography; and it must be displayed in a brand-safe environment. This would create a model similar to television: the constraints are how much time people spend online and how much media they can view. Even if this caused CPMs to go up, this new measurement would provide a truer picture of the ROI of digital advertising and would attract more advertising dollars for digital. Click here to view his full presentation and publisher economics spreadsheet that he referenced in his speech.
Next on the agenda: ad technology and ad operations CEOs got put in the hot seat to explain their complex and often confusing landscape. Doug Weaver, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Upstream Group, authoritatively moderated short-burst presentations and a heated Q&A session featuring on-stage speakers Frank Addante, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, the Rubicon Project; Rajeev Goel, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PubMatic; Brian O’Kelley, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, AppNexus; Bill Wise, Chief Executive Officer, MediaBank; and Joe Zawadzki, Chief Executive Officer, MediaMath. From the audience, Peter Naylor, Executive Vice President, Digital Media Sales, NBCUniversal, and new Chairman of the IAB Board of Directors, asked if premium publishers’ perception that RTB stands for race-to-the-bottom was dead wrong. Another audience member bluntly pointed to the profitability problem facing these intermediary companies. And Bill Wise wowed the audience with the point: “You can execute a seven-figure TV buy easier than a $10,000 digital test.” The conversation admittedly did leave room for more demystification, but there could be a day when it’s not needed. Zawadzki said, “If we can make marketing work better for buyers, a lot of the downstream navel-gazing about how ad tech works doesn’t matter anymore.”
The sold-out conference rose to a grand finale for the Great Debate themed “Resolved: The Future of the Media Agency Is...” Dave Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, Simulmedia, squared off against Rob Norman, Chief Executive Officer, GroupM North America, and Chief Executive Officer, GroupM Interaction Worldwide, to answer the question: Will media agencies be able to compete with more purely technology-enabled companies? Norman opened strong: “Reports of the death of the media agency are exaggerated,” he said, paraphrasing Mark Twain. Advertisers can’t do it for themselves; vendors can’t do it either. Our goal is to act transparently on behalf of advertisers to drive value for them, which intermediaries rarely do, he said. Morgan didn’t argue for the utter demise of the media agency, but he did say, “The media agency as we know it is at risk. It is not predestined.” It is up to the people in the room, he said, who would be simplifying the complex landscape. With a perceptive top-level view of the industry, he reminded the audience: “For those of you who like to spout that content is king, you forget that distribution was always King Kong.” The two ended the session agreeing that the media agency model would have to evolve and shook hands intending to share whatever the future may be together.
The final General Session of the 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting adjourned with a look forward to next year’s event to be held at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix and a golf tournament immediately following the meeting in Miami.
IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in the News
Videos from the stage courtesy of
The Great Debate at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
Ad Tech in the Hot Seat at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
comScore's Dr. Magid Abraham on Online Ad Economics at 2012 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting
IAB News Releases—Fresh off the Wires