IAB Advertising Technology 2013 Highlights

Videos from the stage courtesy of Freewheel  FreeWheel

Breaking news opened the 2013 IAB Advertising Technology Marketplace. The White House has commended IAB for its ongoing support of the many, growing industry efforts to fight copyright piracy and counterfeiting, Randall Rothenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, IAB, announced. Self-regulation measures, such as the IAB Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG), are critical to sustaining the integrity and future expansion of the digital landscape, the White House stated. “The Administration’s endorsement of our program is a milestone,” Rothenberg said. We have been able to establish guidelines that protect copyrights while allowing digital economy to flourish; it’s a win-win, he said. “Not all of you are aware of QAG,” Rothenberg told the audience. “But you should be.”

More major news was announced by Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Advertising Technology, IAB. To help fuel the multi-screen movement, IAB has released “HTML5 for Digital Advertising 1.0: Guidance for Ad Designers & Creative Technologists.” This document addresses the challenges inherent in leveraging HTML5 across screens, while providing a series of time and cost-saving recommendations on topics such as HTML5 display ad units (non-rich media) and in-banner video advertising and animation. In addition, to continue to demystify data, IAB released an update to the IAB Data Primer, which includes new sections on mobile data usage, DMPs, and ad exchanges.

The first keynote of the day put a spotlight on the all-important consumer. Doc Searls Customer Evangelist, Author of The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge, opened minds with an expansive and historical perspective on the internet and the role of the consumer in commerce, demonstrating the opportunity for consumers to gain greater control of their relationships with brands, and how this would benefit brands themselves. Business in our culture is focused on price, and advertising is stuck working within the current cookie-based system. These realities are in contrast to a more productive system where meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships are built between businesses and people, he said. One solution is “intent casting,” where consumers announce what product they need and their shopping preferences, and businesses respond to them.

Next up: the programmatic buying landscape. Jay Sears, General Manager, REVV Buyer, Rubicon Project, and Co-Chair, IAB Advertising Technology Council, provided an insightful look into the future of the industry. He emphasized the great potential for growth, using the trajectory of eBay as an example. It evolved from selling used Pez dispensers to selling one new car every minute. That’s the potential of programmatic buying. It could expand from composing just 20 percent of the marketplace and selling primarily remnant inventory to encompassing the rest of the market. He also explored the qualities of the would-be winners and losers in this era of ad technology consolidation, asking for three words from the audience and industry leaders that would characterize each. His three words describing would-be winners? “Scale. Platform. Open.”

Youssef Squali, Managing Director, Global Head, Internet and Media Equity Research, Cantor Fitzgerald, looked at the future of the programmatic buying industry from the lens of an investor. The trend toward automated buying is only in its infancy with great room for growth through premium, video and mobile advertising, he said. “Any ad unit traded at scale is ripe for automation over time,” he said, noting also that the real-time bidding market is expected to grow faster than the overall Internet advertising marketplace. As for winners and losers, he said niche, point solutions would give way to larger, more integrated offerings. His three words to describe winners? “Strategic focus. Flexibility. Scale.”

The next presentation dropped jaws and ignited vibrant conversation.Michael Tiffany, Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder, WhiteOps, offered attendees a sneak peak into advertising fraud: how it works, how it is compromising industry economics and decision-making metrics, and what can be done about it. Among his eye-opening insights: Third-party estimates put fraudulent internet traffic at between 20-60 percent of all traffic, he said. Many perpetrators of fraud survive by hiding fake traffic within the human traffic, with many botnets actually utilizing the machines of regular consumers. Fifteen percent of American broadband households are participating in a botnet, he said. One major impact of fraud on the marketplace is that “bot traffic makes online advertising inventory appear infinite, even though it’s not.” Oftentimes current detection efforts only catch the fraud they’re looking for, not that which flies under the radar, which is the intent of the cyber criminals. He suggested the only way to defeat the bad guys is to disrupt the way they get paid.

Delving deeper into the battle against fraud,Chris Paul, General Manager, VivaKi, was interviewed by Penry Price, President, Media6Degrees, and Co-Chair, IAB Traffic of Good Intent Task Force, to get the buy-side’s perspective on this critical issue. The opportunity in the automation of executional work is that it leaves time for people to think about new ways to connect with consumers, Paul said. However, the less human review you have, the more opportunity there is for bad actors to come in, he noted. The solution, Paul said, must focus not only on shaming the bad guys and taking money away from them, but holding up the good players who provide transparency and the assurance of quality. “Our eyes are open and we’re trying to look for solutions,” Price said, emphasizing that the solution must come at an industry level.

Following workshops on such topics as performancemarketing in mobile, improving ad effectiveness with big data, and building the RTB industry, as well as a networking luncheon, attendees returned to the main hall for an after-lunch wake up call. Seth Demsey, Senior Vice President, Global Advertising Products and Strategy, AOL, brought to the fore this call to action: “We need to start competing with TV, not each other… We don’t have an ecosystem, we have a shark tank and we’re all biting each other’s fins off.” He talked of an incoming era of compression, where companies will be working together to present clients with easy-to-purchase and easy-to-implement solutions. This is opposed to the current environment where individual businesses are producing their own proprietary, soup-to-nuts solutions thatdon’t integrate with others.

After deep-dive track sessions and an ice creambreak—perfect for the 90-degree day—attendees reconvened for two presentations on using technology to build brands. Erin Levzow, Executive Director, Hotel Marketing and eCommerce, Palms Casino Resort, revealed how Palm Casino Resort used data to drive bookings while maintaining ROI goals with the help of Quantcast’s prospecting capabilties and Facebook’s Facebook Exchange. Jag Duggal, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Quantcast, and Natalie Minor Ponte, Manager, Partner Marketing, Facebook, joined her on the stage to discuss the project. Next, Saneel Radia, Founder, Finch15, and Executive Vice President, Product Innovation, VivaKi, a Publicis Group Company, talked of the opportunity in operating non-tech brand assets like APIs, using AmEx Open Forum and Lego Cuursoo as examples. He suggested brands identify underutilized brand assets, establish innovation priorities, and then use those assets to engage third parties to their innovations.

Then the tables turned with attendees doing the talking—over drinks! Attendees broke into three groups to pose questions, share experiences, and exchange insights with conversations facilitated by an industry leader, who would later report back on the most prominent ideas. Topics of the day’s Marketplace Conversations: Self-Defense 101: Keeping Video Advertisng Safe; Third-Party Data…Accuracy, Value and Usage; and Going Premium Programmatic.

The final presentation of the chockfull dayexplored the future of HTML5 advertising. Cory Hudson, Creative Director, AOL, and Chair, IAB HTML5 Best Practices Working Group, said “HTML5 is the only technology available to put engaging Flash-like experience across screens and devices.” But it has its challenges, including cross-browser support, the need of talent with a new skillset, and a lack of industry guidelines—an issue currently being addressed by IAB and the HTML5 working group.

The day ended with brief reports from the Marketplace Conversations and a networking reception where the sharing of big ideas continued into the evening.

News from IAB Advertising Technology Marketplace 2013

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