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The IAB Ad Operations Summit — 2010 Recap

The ad operations community—marketers, agencies and publishers a like—gathered for the most-high level conversation of the year at the IAB Ad Ops Summit on November 1 in New York City. The sold-out event focused on how the true profit protector of the interactive industry—ad operations—can decrease discrepancies, encourage creativity, drive growth and build relationship, ultimately shifting share to interactive.

IAB Vice President of Digital Supply Chain Solutions, Steve Sullivan and Chairman for the day’s events, greeted the crowd for the first time since his move from active IAB member to IAB leader, describing the industry’s evolution, achievement and victory over technical battles by developing “bend and flex” solutions that move the needle forward.

Keynote presenter, Donna Speciale, President, Investment & Activation and Agency Operations, echoed a similar theme, describing the need to establish scale deal structures that make sense for digital convergence and a “cross-athlete” structured position responsible for navigating, negotiating and activating across all channels to break down the silos and allow the full expansion of marketing. She also emphasized the importance of data comparability for our mediums growth and survival.

An engaging debate ensued on the need for ad verification, tags and industry education in order to drive greater spend online. ”Ad verification is like an insurance policy for clients,” said Grace Liau, Senior Vice President, Ad Operations Center of Excellence, VivaKi, stressing the value of third-party technologies to panelists David Jacobs, Senior Vice President, Publisher Services, Advertising.com; Oren Netzer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, DoubleVerify; Daniel Blasko, Senior Manager, Strategy & Business Development, Cars.com and moderator, George Ivie, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, The Media Rating Council.

What will industry self-regulation mean for the ad ops community? Mike Zaneis, Vice President, Public Policy, IAB and Charles Curran, Executive Director, Network Advertising Initiative, broke it all down, explaining that the key to avoiding government regulation through industry regulation is meeting consumer privacy expectations. If the industry can build the right balance and secure buy-in across the ecosystem, then we can stave off government regulation, while we protect our users as well. Online consumers are asking for choices, and when their needs are met, they spend more online. Research shows that every metric increases when a user opts-in.

IAB Ad Operations Council Co-Chairs Adrian D’Souza, Director, Ad Operations, Google and Dan Murphy, Senior Vice President, Research and Ad traffic, Univision Interactive Media unveiled the group’s 2011 priorities—simply put, get things done—plan standards and transitional Metrics.

After lunch, Stephen Dove, Product Manager, DoubleClick for Advertisers, Google, walked the full house through Google’s Impression Exchange Solution, calling out the need for other ad serving technologies to get on board for the impression exchange to work at scale.

VAST, the IAB’s Video Ad Serving Template, which aims to standardize video ad serving and ultimately help publishers maximize revenue, was broken down by a panel led by the IAB Digital Video Committee Co-chair and Senior Director, Advertising and Digital Strategy at Turner Broadcasting System, Joey Trotz. David Cohen, Executive Vice President, U.S. Director, Digital Communications, Universal McCann; Max Goodberg, Director, Technical Services, FreeWheel; and Nick Johnson, Senior Vice President, Digital Media Sales, NBC Universal agreed that there is a need for VAST adoption centers around industry education and awareness, mass acceptance and execution by the ad ops community and support by the agency community—demanding VAST compliance from their partners. The system can’t work efficiently if one player breaks the chain.

The IAB Rising Stars Ad Format Competition kicked-off the conversation on the future of ad formats. The contest is a call to action for the ecosystem to submit ad formats to be evaluated, tested then potentially added to the ad unit guidelines. Several formats currently included in the guidelines will be removed. Peter Minnium, Consulting Director, IAB, shared the plan with David Levin, President, Creative and Technology, 360i, Keri Millstein, Head of Display, Google and Zach Putman, Director, Revenue Operations, ABC Television Networks.

Closing out the day with a unique Town Hall Meeting, audience members spoke up about challenges, issues, process questions and progress they see every day in their work, on their teams and in the industry in general. Receiving late creative from agencies was a popular topic, with intense conversation about how to prevent it from occurring as frequently. Charging clients—a commonly discussed strategy—was addressed, but a show of hands indicated that the solution is not commonly practiced—nor considered viable.