February 2013 Archives

At first, it seems counter-intuitive. For the digital interactive industry, which is dominated by the promise of free thinking and dynamic innovation, the notion of setting rules, parameters and guidelines seems almost anathema.
However, efficient marketplaces are built on transparency and information.  Clear and common language enables sellers to efficiently describe advertising inventory to buyers.  As such guidelines are vital to earning the trust of brands and ultimately to sustaining the growth we have enjoyed in our industry.
Of course, setting even the most basic rules around quality in digital advertising is a challenge.  There are a myriad of industry stakeholders and many of the issues are complex.  In short, this is exactly the sort of challenge that the Interactive Advertising Bureau was designed to tackle — hence the Quality Assurance Guidelines emerged in 2008.  However, the original Quality Assurance Guidelines (QAG) are already four years old in digital advertising years - which seems like a century on the human scale.  Accordingly, last year we began the process of refreshing QAG.


As we set out to recast, update and fine-tune the parameters for digital advertising within  the next iteration of the “Quality Assurance Guidelines”, we are faced with the emergence of programmatic buying as well as the continued growth of new areas such as mobile and video.  Additionally, we faced the issue of describing advertising inventory across multiple devices.
Not exactly for the faint of heart.
Fortunately, we were able to draw on the collective expertise of dozens of professionals from across the ecosystem - both buyers and sellers of digital advertising.  It’s worthwhile considering the kinds of participants who joined in developing this initiative: large publishers, large networks, trading desks, demand side platforms, supply side platforms and agencies - among others. The incredible support of these companies has resulted in a robust new set of guidelines that will be made available for public comment in the next few weeks.  
The mission for the QAG incorporates the following four tenets:
1. Understand the information requirements of advertising buyers
2. Define the parameters, definitions and common language for advertising seller disclosures
3. Ensure the guidelines define and enable clear, easy-to-understand descriptions that meet the requirements of advertising buyers
4. Review compliance amongst QAG certified companies and facilitate the resolution of disputes and complaints
These guidelines are the single industry-backed initiative designed to reduce friction and foster an environment of trust in the marketplace by providing clear common language that describes characteristics of advertising inventory and transactions across the advertising value chain.
As we approach the end of the drafting phase of QAG 2.0 and look forward to the start of a public comment period, we encourage you to consider how these guidelines apply to your company.  For sellers of advertising, this initiative allows you to certify your company as being compliant with this language which gives buyers of advertising confidence in your offering.  If your company hasn’t yet become QAG certified, the time is now to get involved in this increasingly important initiative.
As we move towards public comment, we invite you to get involved in the process and share your perspectives.  Buyers of advertising are increasingly relying on the QAG guidelines and we will be where the QAG 2.0 spec is almost ready to launch, and as the Beatles’ song goes, it could be an impressive and vital turning point for the digital sector, all we need is a “little help from my friends.” Hoping we can count you among them.

About the Authors



This piece is bi-lined by Tim Avila, Vice President, Product Marketing, BrightRoll, Inc. and Rob Rasko, Founder and Managing Partner of The 614 Group.

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We Want Your Great Debate Privacy Questions

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As soon as I heard about the theme of this year’s IAB Leadership Meeting I immediately asked my friends at IAB to find a role for me there. I do cover big data and how marketers use it for Advertising Age, after all, so it seemed a perfect fit.

I‘ll admit, though, the chance of catching a couple spring training games the weekend before the conference piqued my interest just a tad, too.

Well, IAB came through with an exciting opportunity for me: channel your inner Candy Crowley and moderate the annual Great Debate. The privacy, self-regulatory and government beat has been an important one for me over the years covering digital advertising, and this year’s Great Debate will help advance the discussion around privacy related topics. For years, digital marketers and privacy advocates have talked at each other, usually from opposite ends of the spectrum.


In Phoenix on February 26, they’ll comingle on the same stage, and hopefully elevate the conversation to a new level. My goal as moderator is to get beyond the buzzwords and rhetoric. And — no offense to the Candy Crowleys and Jim Lehrers of the world — I hope I’m more successful than most presidential debate moderators in that mission.

Sure, I’ll come armed with some poignant questions intended to spark a lively and educational conversation. But I need your help and involvement, too.

Here’s your task: Ponder the important issues related to consumer data privacy and how marketers collect, store and use data. Think about topics like PII, anonymization, the prevalence of tracking tags, industry self-regulation, our favorite little blue icon, government intervention from legislators and the FTC, the emerging privacy services market…the list goes on and on.

Come up with the best question you can think of that will get our debate panel off their talking points and into a real discussion. Maybe it will get heated - heck, we’ll be in Arizona, right? Submit your best question by tweeting it to @IAB and including the hashtag #IABALM. We’ll sift through all of them and pluck out the cream of the crop, and you may get to ask the question yourself during the Great Debate.

I look forward to reading your questions and saying hello to you in Phoenix later this month!

About the Author


Kate Kaye
Kate Kaye covers the data industry for Advertising Age. Before joining Ad Age in November 2012, Kate worked as a writer and reporter covering the digital marketing industry since 2000, focusing on beats including data-driven targeting, privacy, and government regulation. Kate helped cultivate the online political campaign beat and in 2009 wrote “Campaign ‘08 A Turning Point for Digital Media,” a book about the digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Before joining Ad Age, Kate was managing editor of ClickZ News, where she worked for nearly 7 years. 


Announcing the 2013 IAB Committee & Council Co-Chairs

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The efforts made by the members of IAB’s committees, councils, working groups, and taskforces have resulted in the development of guidelines, standards, best practices and more, that help to solve operational inefficiencies and define the future of digital advertising.  These elite groups are led by our Committee and Council Co-Chairs, who are responsible for developing agendas, setting goals, and strengthening collaborative relationships among our membership.

The IAB congratulates the 2013 Committee & Council Co-Chairs, who have demonstrated through leadership and participation their commitment to the industry’s growth and success. You can also follow them on our Twitter list.CC2013cochairs.png

About the Author


Julie Van Ullen

Julie Van Ullen is the Vice President of Member Services at the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Ms. Van Ullen oversees member acquisition, participation, and retention programs. In addition, she works with designated member leaders to develop strategic, market-marking initiatives for execution within IAB’s Committees and Councils.



Understanding Mobile Discrepancies and the Technology Frontier

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Mobile is often referred to as the Wild Wild West of digital media. Well, the West didn’t stay “wild” forever, and neither can the mobile marketplace. It is one of the roles of the IAB to help tame this new frontier. Discrepancies, differences in the count of metrics like impressions or interactions between two parties, are one of the major challenges that make mobile seem lawless today. While discrepancies aren’t unique to mobile campaigns, some of the challenges with investigating and solving them are.


To dig further into this issue, the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence hosted a mobile discrepancy working session on February 5th here at the IAB Ad Lab. We brought participants from each part of the mobile supply chain together to talk through mobile discrepancies with the objective of identifying where they are occurring, why, and potentially avenues where the IAB can help the industry. Having a collaborative mix of different perspectives all together in one room fostered knowledge sharing and brought to light new insights.


From a combination of breakout sessions and group conversations we learned that while the troubleshooting process and even some of the root causes of mobile discrepancies are pretty similar to display campaigns on the web, new technology drives some differences. This includes new technology from within the advertising industry as well the innovation taking place in the marketplace.


The new ad specific technology of mobile is an area where the IAB can help. New mobile-focused ad  products result in differences in how metrics are counted, reported and even terminology is defined. Like in the early days of web advertising, this is a clear place where the IAB along with our members can help by developing definitions and guidelines. We have already started this with initiatives like MRAID, Mobile Web Measurement Guidelines and the Mobile Phone Creative Guidelines.


Addressing marketplace technology, the fragmentation of devices, operations systems, screen sizes etc., is a bit more challenging. Not only does this create a challenge for developing ad creatives and testing them on devices, but also targeting and even traffic validation, especially for campaigns running across platforms. While some of these variables are beyond the advertising industry’s control, education and best practices can help reduce the friction they cause.


Now that we have clearer understanding of the many factors causing mobile discrepancies we can buckle down, roll up our sleeves, and work together to reduce them and grow trust in the mobile platform. This will take time and involvement from all parties in the digital advertising ecosystem, but based on the enthusiasm of everyone who attended the working session it is clear this is something the industry needs and is ready to do.  After all, the West wasn’t settled in one afternoon.

 About the Author

sabrina alimi.jpg

Sabrina Alimi

Senior Manager, IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence

Sabrina Alimi is the Senior Marketing Manager of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, where she has a focus on ad operations and key mobile initiatives such as HTML best practices, mobile creative guidelines, discrepancies, and the future of the cookie. In addition, Sabrina leads the IAB’s Local Committee, exploring the opportunities that the use of location unlocks for mobile advertising. Prior to the IAB, Sabrina worked at Microsoft Advertising on the Atlas Media Console where she became a product expert providing technical support to clients and managing bug escalations. She can be reached on Twitter @SabrinaAlimi.

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Content Marketing: Who's The Boss?

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Leading publishers and technology providers discuss innovative, collaborative content sharing efforts

While it is the year of data, mobile, and the snake, 2013 also continues to revitalize the age-old trend of content marketing and syndication. It seems these ideas are so old they’re new again.

John Deere has been doing it since 1895 with “The Furrow,” so what is making content marketing so attractive now to the modern marketer? While there is no clear cut definition of content marketing, I would put forth that it is content created by a brand, that even if the branding were removed, that the content would still be valuable and engaging to a reader. If done well, it creates positive brand connotation. And if we work with that definition, it makes sense that the modern marketer (much like the modern publisher) wants to get the attention of content-ravenous consumers, most of whom have one or more devices attached to them at any given moment with which to consume.


CM Town Hall Kontera.jpgiabcmjoepanel.jpgLast week, the IAB held a Content Marketing Town Hall to foster a discussion around both the concerns and opportunities publishers have in the content marketing and syndication space. The IAB AdLab was packed to the brim. Publishers came with some fears about brands honing in on the content business. To open the day, Andrew Susman, President & CEO of StudioOne and ICSC Board Chairman, reminded us with calming voice that,iabcmforbes.jpgiabcmMinniumMartini.jpg“Currently the industry sees branded content as a type of media buy, but actually it’s a type of content. If you bring audience to branded content - you get content marketing.” 

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, delivered the opening keynote of the day, outlining the opportunity for publishers and brands to work together to deliver relevant content to consumers, whether branded or editorial, because, as Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy and Industry Development at BuzzFeed later noted, “Great content finds its audience.” So it seems that the name of the game is getting engaging content in a place where your readers will consume it, whether you’re a publisher embracing branded content on your site, or you’re looking to syndicate out your editorial content to brands. 

One concern did resound in the room around advertorial content. Should there be guidelines that clearly denote advertorial content? Do ethical standards need to be set for branded content and along with it, best practices on transparency and disclosure? Do we need to create sponsored content labeling conventions? And especially as automated platforms serve up content, how can we ensure that we’re seamlessly integrating advertorial content but not duping readers? The need to ensure will undoubtedly be an ongoing conversation within the IAB, among our membership, and in the industry as a whole.

Download Content Marketing Insights from IAB’s January 2013 Town Hall 

The IAB Content Marketing Town Hall was held on January 24, 2013. Moderated by Susan Borst, Director, Industry Initiatives, IAB, the following industry leaders presented at this IAB member-exclusive event:

Amy Hyde, Product Strategy & Business Development R&D Ventures, New York Times Company

Andrew Susman, President and CEO, StudioOne; Board Chairman, ICSC

Asli Hamamci, Director, Digital, Mindshare

Bill Powers, EVP - Corporate Development, Swoop

Brett Curtis, Global Business Director, Thomson Reuters

Greg Cypes, Director of Product, AddThis

Hal Muchnick, President, Kontera

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute

John LoGioco, SVP & GM, Outbrain

Jonathan Perelman, VP Agency Strategy & Industry Development, Buzzfeed

Ken Zinn, DVP of Marketing - Online Business Unit, Sears Holding

Mark Howard, SVP - Digital Advertising Strategy, Forbes Media

Michael Goefron, Director of Operations, Unruly Media

Peter Minnium, Head of Digital Brand Initiatives, IAB

Shafqat Islam, Co-Founder & CEO, Newscred

Skip Brand, CEO, Martini Media

Tim Clark, Corporate Blogs Editor-in-Chief & Social Media Strategist, SAP

 About the Author


Julie Van Ullen

Julie Van Ullen is the Vice President of Member Services at the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Ms. Van Ullen oversees member acquisition, participation, and retention programs. In addition, she works with designated member leaders to develop strategic, market-marking initiatives for execution within IAB’s Committees and Councils.

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Forbes just released its second annual list of America’s Most Promising Companies and technology is an overall theme this year.The world is clearly being dominated by more tech and digital companies. No surprise, then, that the IAB had two members in the top 10, seven in the top 50, and ten in the top 100. 

Their list also clearly demonstrates the link between digital, innovation, and the economic contribution of the ad-supported Internet on the U.S. economy - confirming a study which we released last October with the Harvard Business School.


Please join us in congratulating Rocket Fuel (#4), OpenX (#7), AdRoll (#30), ShareThis (#35), Mixpo (#39), Rubicon Project (#40), BlueKai (#50), Bizo (#62), LocalResponse (#67), and Media6Degrees (#71). We’d like to recognize each of them as a testament to the energy of American entrepreneurship and the role that it plays in driving innovation and the U.S. economy forward. 

It’s also a wonderful reminder of the impact and leadership our membership has each day. We salute you! See the full Forbes list here

About The Author


Jeff Fryer

Jeff Fryer is Marketing Manager, IAB, and helps the IAB to better listen, understand, and engage in conversations in social media. Tweet him @jfryer2000 and talk with the IAB on Twitter @IAB.