June 2013 Archives

The IAB Digital Media Sales Certification: One Year Later

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One year ago, those first applicants buckled down to study up on media topics, from CPCs to DSPs, in order to take the Digital Media Sales Certification exam.  The Founding Commission, charter companies and IAB staff had spent months working to develop a credential that embodied credibility and integrity.  And let me tell you, it was not an easy task. We were working in uncharted territory.  And by any measureable standard the IAB Certification program has been a success.

A Reason To Party
On Tuesday night, July 25, 2013, IAB was proud to host a celebration in recognition of the first class of Certification holders and all those who helped create and support IAB Digital Media Sales Certification. 

Here’s what we have accomplished in just one year:

  • More than 1,200 have registered for the program
  • Companies like AOL, Collective and IDG have committed to certifying their entire sales teams
  • A number of companies (24/7 Media, Trial Retail Media and About.com) have made Certification part of their hiring and training processes
  • Certification holders and their managers have given us tremendous positive feedback about the reception of the program from the marketplace
  • Every day sales professionals from leading companies across the country are signing up to take the exam

Peter_DSC4575_sm.jpgDuring the event, exclusive guests networked at Lavo in New York City. Many Certification holders and sales executives shared their experiences about how colleagues and clients have responded to Certification.

Matthew White, National Digital Director at Time Inc.’s My Recipes was on the committee that helped create the exam and is now a Certification holder. “This is a great training tool for companies.  It opens up your perspective to parts of the industry outside of your own experience.  This makes for a better understanding of your competition, the products they may be selling and how.”




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Randall Rothenberg, IAB President and CEO, told the crowd, that the Certification program came from his earliest meetings with IAB member companies, seven years ago. “The thing that came up over and over again from companies big and small was, ‘We need training!’  We learned after years of work, that the best way to scale training in a new industry was not to create the course work yourself.  It is to codify industry knowledge within your network, turn it into a standardized test, and get others to teach that test around the world.” 

Randall went on to say, “The program has exceeded our wildest expectations.  With big companies signing on and making it a requirement it’s taking on a life of its own.”

One of the most frequent questions we heard in the beginning was, “Why do sales people even need certification?”  We created the program because digital advertising buyers and sellers needed a benchmark to ensure that sales people had the basic knowledge required to sell new media programs.  The ecosystem changes so quickly, clients now have a deeper level of trust that the people they talk to understand the industry and comprehend their needs. No one’s asking “why” any longer.

 “With 1,000 people expected toLeslie_DSC4660_sm.jpg pass the test by the end of 2012, we are in a position to make the industry stronger.” said Scott Schiller, EVP of Advertising Sales at NBC Universal and Chairman of IAB Digital Media Sales Certification Commission.  “A few years ago one of the biggest complaints about the industry was the lack of perceived professionalism that digital sellers had compared to traditional media experts. (With Certification) the industry has come a long way, and the IAB is credited to helping with that.  I encourage all of you who have not taken the test to encourage your company to participate.”

Marta Martinez, AOL’s Head of Sales Strategy & Operations, addressed  the room on the company’s commitment to customer service, innovation and knowledge as well as “raising the bar on the internet,” helping clients fully leverage the medium as a marketing channel.  “At AOL there is a lot of effort in bringing balance between the premium advertising and programmatic sides of the house.  This is the reason why we requested that all of the front facing-sales people in the U.S. will be certified this year.  When we announced the program internally there was huge demand.  We are already seeing a lot of value from the program.  We are all starting to speak the same language and we are no longer in the business of translation with our clients.”


July 10, 2013 - IAB Certification DayPictureCertHolders_DSC4578_Sm.jpg
In two weeks, on July 10, 2013, will officially be declared IAB Certification Day.  It’s a day for certificants and friends of the program to demonstrate their support and pride for the credentials, by posting their badge online via social media.  We ask everyone to use the hash tag #iabcertday, so that IAB can showcase everyone who participates.  For information about how to participate or to follow the conversation on Certification Day go to: iab.net/certday

In just one year digital ad buyers, human resources professionals and sales executives have embraced the credential, integrating it into their business practice.  By no means are we done defining and refining the program, but the milestones of 2012-2013 are sure indicators that Digital Media Sales Certification is here to stay.

“The industry needs to continue to embrace quality in sales and product to gain better trust with clients.” said Certification holder and SVP of Sales at pulsepoint, John Ruvolo. “Certification is a great step in the right direction to set a benchmark of trust for the industry.”


About the Author



Last week, after a round of visits with advertising organizations and private declarations that its cookie-blocking plan was not a “done deal,” Mozilla Foundation, the lucrative nonprofit whose Firefox browser controls 20 percent of the world’s access to the Web, launched a new proposal to “address privacy concerns related to third party cookies in a rational, trusted, transparent and consistent manner.”

But Mozilla’s “Cookie Clearinghouse”  is neither new nor a proposal, inasmuch as the no. 2 browser-maker seems hell-bent on implementing on a tight deadline cookie-blocking by fiat. It is not a clearinghouse for cookies - it is a kangaroo cookie court, an arbitrary group determining who can do business with whom.  It replaces the principle of consumer choice with an arrogant “Mozilla knows best” system. It is not “independent,” as Mozilla claims, but is stocked with self-interested academic elites with whom Mozilla has long histories. Nor is it rational, trusted, or transparent, as I will describe below. 

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But oh, is it consistent - consistent with the history of large technology providers with substantial market shares wielding the indisputably virtuous concept of “consumerism” as a weapon to fight competitive battles. These browser warriors are indifferent to the collateral damage they might create among the small publishers, retailers, and other businesses that employ more than 5 million Americans, account for 3.7 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, and define the Internet’s richness and diversity.

In February 2012, the IAB and the other groups comprising the Digital Advertising Alliance agreed eagerly with the White House and the Federal Trade Commission to work with the major browser companies to honor browser-based choice for the DAA Principles - principles that underlie a successful self-regulatory mechanism to enable consumers to manage their data in digital environments, including the management of third-party cookies. That agreement, which involved several stakeholder groups, earned praise from the Obama Administration, the Commerce Department, and the FTC. It contrasted sharply with the ongoing challenges experienced by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), the NGO that manages the Internet’s underlying technical standards, in developing similar consensus-based consumer-choice mechanisms for the management of data, privacy, and “do not track” options.

Mozilla’s “Cookie Court” is just another blatant attempt by a powerful tech company to destabilize efforts by multiple stakeholders to reach consensus about how lives and livelihoods should be aligned in the Internet era. Mozilla is reassembling the players whose inexperience and antipathy to negotiation and consensus have subverted the early W3C processes. Its members have blithely gloated about their willingness to “put a number of third parties out of business.” They include technological totalitarians who dismiss negotiations with the haughty declaration that “it’s very difficult to see a long-term consensus approach,” and who equate corporate imposition of “the technologies at the browsers’ disposal” with “the consumers’ side.” 

We admit we were hopeful when Mozilla proffered that its new system for managing cookies would make exceptions for “sites complying with DAA opt-out and supporting DNT.” But its proposal does nothing of the sort. Hundreds of companies, representing thousands of Web sites, belong to the DAA program; yet their advertising will be peremptorily blocked by Mozilla’s system.  Tens of millions of consumers who have visited the DAA site and affirmatively opted to do nothing — effectively choosing to allow ads relevant to them to be delivered — will find their choice sabotaged.  And Mozilla’s argument that sites “supporting DNT” may still be able to deliver relevant advertising is disingenuous.  Since there is not yet a consensus definition for DNT - partly because Mozilla allies have so mismanaged or undermined the process for reaching consensus - it’s not currently possible for sites to support it. 

Worse, there is nothing in the Mozilla system that recognizes, let alone offers solutions for, the particular needs of the many thousands of small publishers and retailers that depend on the Internet supply chain and the third-party cookies that, however imperfectly, are a central component of it. By making it punishingly difficult for advertisers to reach highly engaged audience segments through small publishers dependent on this third-party-cookie supply chain, Mozilla’s new system will prompt marketers to concentrate their ad buys among a tiny handful of giant Internet companies that dominate the deployment of first-party cookies. This fear has led almost one thousand “long tail” Internet companies to sign a petition asking Mozilla to reconsider its determination to block third-party cookies by decree.

The open-source Internet supply chain is a wellspring of strength; it has fostered one of the greatest fast waves of economic and cultural innovation in modern history. It is also a source of weakness, because it creates vulnerabilities in securing individuals’ and companies’ data and in assuring their desire to keep certain activities and interests private. But acknowledging and correcting for those weaknesses doesn’t require taking a blunt sledgehammer and destroying the digital supply chain. Rather, we need rational, consensus solutions that will meet all major stakeholders’ needs.

That Mozilla doesn’t understand this is unsurprising. After all, it represents nobody. It is part of a global distribution cartel whose members have been in a perpetual state of war with each other for 15 years. Browser makers should not be dictating the kind of economic and cultural policies Mozilla is trying to implement any more than television set manufacturers should be deciding which shows make it to your home.

The IAB, our constituents, and our partners in the DAA, have engaged in a serious effort to participate in consensus-building around the complex issues of protecting consumer choice and privacy while enabling the commercial activity that supports a diverse and robust internet.  We welcome other serious participants. We do not welcome Mozilla’s proposed kangaroo court led by the very people who have thwarted consensus in the past … and who have evinced not an iota of concern for the publishers, small businesses, and hundreds of thousands of people that depend on Internet advertising for their livelihood.

About the Author
sp_rothenberg_randall_100x134.jpgRandall Rothenberg


Randall Rothenberg is President and Chief Executive Officer, Interactive Advertising Bureau. 

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The IAB is pleased to announce the appointment of Travis S. Howe, Senior Vice President for the Americas of Digital Sales Development & Ad Operations at Sony Pictures Television, as the new co-chair of the IAB Games Committee.

Based in New York, Travis founded the Americas division in 2006, which manages digital ad sales for Sony’s entertainment companies including PlayStation, Crackle, Sony Pictures Television (TV sites), and FEARnet. In this role, Travis is responsible for leading the strategy, sales development and digital ad operations divisions for North and South America across online, mobile, gaming console and Sony’s suite of connected devices. 

Travis.jpg Joynew.jpg.png Travis has proven leadership within the IAB Games Committee as well as numerous other IAB leadership roles including the Sales Executive and Digital Video Committees.  In his new role, Travis will work with fellow Co-Chair Joy Taylor, Senior Director, Global Media Solutions at Electronic Arts (EA) to help galvanize the committee, establish working groups and strategic direction both short and long term with the goal of driving the committee to become an even more effective face for the rapidly evolving Games space.

  
For 2013, the committee has agreed to shift focus and work toward aligning the 75 member companies with the 2013 Mission Statement as follows: 

The Games Committee is dedicated to showing the value and scale of gaming as an advertising medium which is driven by engaging content and cross platform solutions. All efforts will be centered on client objectives and needs which include creativity, scale and measurement.

The going-in key deliverables are focused on developing and executing a communication plan that educates the market on the value of gaming.  A first priority will be to update and modernize the Platform Status Report. The communication plan will be centered on key areas of focus:  Content, Platforms and Audience/Measurement. 

Please join the IAB and co-chair Joy Taylor in welcoming Travis Howe as the new Games Committee Co-Chair

The next Committee meeting wiSonyPictures.pngll take place on July 10, 10-11:30am PT at the Sony Pictures Entertainment Lot in Culver City, CA.
Please RSVP here to formally register, indicating whether you will be attending in person or remotely.  Members are asked to please answer this two question Survey Monkey which, as discussed at the last meeting, will help us to better organize the committee.

For further information on the Games Committee, please contact
Susan Borst
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About the Author

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Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B, Games, Content Marketing and Native Advertising.
She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst.



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In a time when an abundance of research is at-the-ready, it seems only natural to want to use its power to define what works in advertising. But, where does that leave creatives? Is it possible to strike a balance between imagination and research insights? Do we lose something vital in the advertising mix, if we lean towards one over the other? And, are there lessons we need to learn from both sides of the fence when it comes to different screens?

tightrope.jpgWith the Cannes Lions Festival happening now, where creativity takes centerstage, IAB and Firefly Millward Brown embarked on the breakthrough study, “A Mobile Manifesto: Creative Leaders on the Art of Successful Mobile Brand Messaging.” Our goal was to identify best practices in mobile creativity. We endeavored to identify proven methods for success that would help and not harness creative thinking in order to fuel the continued growth of the young medium.

To do this, we leveraged earlier research by Dynamic Logic that identified mobile advertising best practices as defined through consumer data on over 100 mobile campaigns. We then brought those findings to the attention of advertising creative powerhouses - including judges for the Cannes Lions Awards and the IAB MIXX Awards, as well as mobile innovators from agencies such as Chiat Day, Draft FCB, JWT, R/GA and Digitas. And then we asked them to respond.

At the most fundamental level, creatives agreed with the best practices gleaned from the consumer research - but the creatives also provided additional input to make the principles even more relevant to their work.

This high-level agreement between both the data and the creatives’ own actual, in-use best practices may indicate that there is a considerable level of experience with mobile among all participating parties. We had a large enough database on mobile campaign performance to find reliable trends in effectiveness; and we found ample creatives with significant experience working with mobile.

While individual comments varied, the creatives largely agreed with these broad notions identified through the ad impact data:

•    Clear and persistent branding is important for building brand awareness
•    Short, focused messaging plays well in mobile’s small format
•    A striking color palette can drive ad recall, but legibility is paramount
•    Consumers respond to mobile ads that give them something back

The advertising professionals also brought to the fore a new definition of context. It was found that on mobile context doesn’t just refer to the context of the ad on the screen, but the context of the consumer when they encounter the ad, including where they are located, what they are doing, and what they might need help with at that moment. Context now refers to the consumer’s life, not the accompanying article, video, or ad placements.

The creatives also highlighted a key area for improvement in the mobile creative lifecycle. Mobile is incorporated into the campaign creation process late, more as an addition to a devised campaign instead of being central to it, most respondents said.

My hope is that this study helps elevate mobile beyond this downstream role to play a greater role in multi-channel campaigns. To aid that cause, the report’s findings will be discussed on-stage by top-tier creatives and other industry leaders at the upcoming IAB Cannes Lions session on “Liquid Creativity,” keeping in mind that the potential of mobile has always been there, and that the screen consumers carry with them has now long been a reality. But today, we now have agreement on what works. Today we have experienced creatives and consumer data to back them up. We have found a way to walk the tightrope, letting a delicate stride turn into a big leap forward for mobile.

About the Author

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Sherrill Mane

Sherrill Mane is SVP, Research, Analytics and Measurement, at the IAB.


Small Publishers Tell Congress: Don't Forget About Me

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“What keeps us coming back is that this event opens an opportunity for us that we don’t have on our own. Yes, we could call and make an appointment with someone in Congress, but we wouldn’t have the same impact. Secondly, this is a chance for us to network and get together with people who do similar jobs as us, and that’s very rare. There are a lot of long tail publishers, but not a lot of community amongst them. There are a lot of best practices and lessons learned that doesn’t get passed on. This gives us a chance to get input from other people in the industry and network on a personal basis.”  
— James Martin, Community Powered Media

Last week, more than 50 small publishers came to Washington D.C. to meet with 27 House and 9 Senate offices, representing 24 districts and 11 states plus the District of Columbia. Small publishers converged on DC to highlight the importance of the advertising-supported internet empowering small business growth in America.

Now in its fifth year, the IAB Long Tail Alliance Fly-In  brings small publishers to Washington, DC to educate Congress about what digital advertising means to them, their employees and their families. Small publishers, known as the “long tail” of the internet,  have been created and transformed in massive numbers across the U.S. with the advent of the ad-supported internet. Providing information and resources on a diversity of topics ranging from baking to politics, these small publishers represent the very best of the new economy of the internet.

The digital media landscape is not just about the larger players in the marketplace, but also the diversity of smaller voices seeking success on their own terms and scale. This annual trip to Washington for small publishers is part of IAB’s commitment to make sure that Capitol Hill does not overlook this crucial base of the internet economy that is powered by digital advertising.

Fly-In 2013Providing an opportunity for small publishers to speak directly to Congress  is the best means to bring to life the very real threat posed by ill-conceived legislation that would disproportionately impact small publishers. These small publishers  are the new face of ‘mom and pop’ shops. They represent a diversity of voices that simply could not exist without interactive advertising.

The Fly-In also included a full day of training sessions and roundtable discussions created specifically to address the business interests of small publishers. Small publishers, ad networks, and media executives shared actionable insights on how the community of small publishers can improve their businesses. The two-day event also served as a unique networking opportunity for small publishers, who, for the most part, work from their homes and have limited opportunities to meet other small publishers like themselves.

About the Author

Alison Pepper

Alison Pepper

Alison Pepper is Senior Director of Public Policy, Interactive Advertising Bureau.

IAB Goes Native

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“Native advertising” is one of the most confounding phrases to captivate mind-share in the digital marketing arena. We all know that marketers are excited about it, but the ecosystem has yet to come up with a concrete definition of this buzzworthy approach to interactive advertising.

The confusion has reached a fever pitch, with Rob Macdonald, Vice President of Business Development at m6d finally writing down the words that so many have wanted to say…

“Please Obi-Wan Rothenberg, you’re our only hope!”

Rob really did include that line in a comment he wrote on a recent Digiday piece - but in all seriousness, the sentiment is in keeping with a widespread outcry from our members.

Native advertising is gaining in popularity, but stakeholders need to coalesce around definitions and best practices, if we’re going to be able to drive the native movement to scale. The confusion and chaos must be eradicated, and the first step in IAB forging a path in this direction is the development of a new IAB Native Advertising Task Force.

The group had its first meeting earlier this week and a number of key concerns were immediately raised:

•    How do we distinguish between native web advertising and its mobile brethren?
•    Is native allowed to be disruptive?
•    How can we clearly delineate between native ad content and pure editorial?
•    How do we define measurement and metrics surrounding native?
•    Where do ad creatives fit into the native mix?


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Even with disparate voices in the room - many of them in senior leadership roles - common goals quickly began to take shape.

First and foremost, the task force will aim to establish a framework for the native advertising space by putting forth a prospectus that clearly lays out today’s “native” landscape. This prospectus, targeted to advertisers, publishers, and ad tech providers, will need to be clear enough that the industry has a guiding light and broad enough that it can expand over time—while also providing a basis for further IAB initiatives in this space.

And, speaking of further efforts in the space, IAB has also kicked off a new Content Marketing Task Force, which may—or may not—be seen as an umbrella for or a cousin to the Native Advertising group.


taskforce3.JPGSo, light sabers aside, IAB is jumping into the fray. Debate, consensus and more debate are surely to follow, but we plan to be at the center of the conversation, providing a clear road ahead for these two vital advertising concepts to evolve into strong players in the digital marketing arena.

About the Author

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Susan Borst

Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B, Games, Content Marketing and Native Advertising. She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst.