Data Takeaways from the 2019 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting

Our industry experts from the IAB Data Center of Excellence attended the 2019 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, and gathered the following insights, related to data in the new direct brand economy:

  • It’s a whole new world where data leads to innovation and success. As retail shopping slows, digital brand and media consumption increases, giving brand and publisher stakeholders a deeper understanding of consumer wants and needs. Brands with a direct relationship to their consumers have a greater advantage to pivot communications, products, and services in a more seamless business ecosystem meeting new and evolving needs.
  • The purchase funnel is flipped. The growth of direct brands has altered touchpoints and the consumer relationship forever. The long-term process from awareness to purchase is shorter and sweeter as consumers engage brands in targeted, personalized ways based on tangible online behaviors. The effect: a shorter cost-per-acquisition based on real experiences directly with the brand all the while creating first-party data intelligence.
  • Data collection is more than click results, and search terms, and we know it. Talking to your consumers needs to be part of your data collection. Ethnography interactions and tactics are replacing traditional research methods among many diverse brands. Whether in the kitchen (e.g. Kellogg’s) or in the bedroom (e.g. Parachute), direct-to-consumer brands are engaging one-on-one with consumers, owning the data points, forcing changes in communication strategy, product development, and media executions.
  • Don’t let regulations put you on edge. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) are real and impacting business activities. Experts who’ve been through the GDPR implementation in Europe recommend using this time as an opportunity. Brands have the chance to invest in transparency and to give consumers enough information to exercise control over their data. Brands need to realize they have the opportunity to reset for better everyday online exchanges with consumers.
  • Programming in-housing drives actionable insights. Programmatic advertising accounts for nearly 85% of digital ad display spending. Initially used to build targeted campaign reach, today programmatic techniques create actionable insights brands have always longed for. Used correctly, all brands, direct, and otherwise, gain individualized data to reduce cost-per-acquisition leading to long-term value.
  • I believe the children are the future, well not exactly… Brands who know what they believe in, use their first-party data to build their consumer community, and who stand for something that matters, will succeed. As an example, the co-founders of ThirdLove have taken their brand DNA to new heights with their fast-growing direct brand success breaking the mold of the women’s bra category with digital fit techniques, a commitment to diversity and inclusion in their marketing strategy, and proof positive in living their core value of giving back to those in need.

Read more about “How to Build a 21st Century Brand” in the second edition of this IAB direct brand economy report and download your playbook to navigate this shift and learn how to thrive in this new economy.

Discover the “2019 IAB 250: Direct Brands to Watch,” a first-of-its-kind analysis pinpointing the most important direct brands to watch in the U.S. economy. These need-to-know direct-to-consumer brands are disrupting their categories and shaping the future of business.


Orchid Richardson
Vice President and Managing Director, Programmatic+Data Center of Excellence
at IAB and IAB Tech Lab

Joe Pilla
Director, Data & Automation
at IAB