Takeaways from the IAB NewFronts Insights Symposium 2019

With a goal of tying together through thought leadership, research and insights, the latest trends in media planning and buying, targeting and measurement, the IAB NewFronts Insights Symposium brought together leading buyers and brands to discuss takeaways from the prior four days of NewFronts and to get a collective sense of where the industry is headed. Below are summaries of some of the presentations and sessions from the day-long event.

The fragmentation of the Connected TV Landscape is great for consumers but a challenge for marketers. Today, there are hundreds of devices that are capable of streaming video content. Consumers have endless choices when it comes to on-demand TV-like content with new services popping up every day. “Content is the same as it ever was—it’s just that the distribution has changed.” said Tal Chalozin of Innovid.

Takeaways from the IAB NewFronts Insights Symposium 2019.jpgReferencing data from their internal ad servers, Tal explained in his session “Tune in: How Connected TV is Delivering on Ad Spend”, that Connected TV impressions served finally eclipsed desktop in 2018. “It’s not a thing of the future anymore, it’s here now.” And the consumers driving this shift tend to be younger and harder to reach.

Your platform strategy and creative strategy need to work hand-in-hand. Frank Maguire from Sharethrough demonstrated that marketers need to recognize how consumers experience video across different platforms so that they can tailor their message for maximum comprehension. Why would you air a TV commercial that is intended for the big screen with volume on to a mobile device? “That is truly a wasted impression,” said Sarah Baehr of Horizon Media.

New to TV? Play the long game. Direct brands that are beginning to enter the TV space may get uncomfortable quickly and pull the plug too early. TV is not as targetable and data-driven as other digital media in which these companies have relied on in the past. Also, it takes time to work and see results. Brands should be open to testing new channels and platforms—but also need to understand the capabilities and limitations of each so that expectations are realistic. But testing will not always yield positive results.  As Kate Huyett of Bombas said, “The worst thing that can happen with a test is not that it doesn’t work. The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t learn anything.”

Influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly mainstream marketing tactic with 7 in 10 advertisers currently using influencers and 4 in 10 planning to increase their spending with influencers in the coming months (Source: IAB 2019 Video Ad Spend Report).

Takeaways from the IAB NewFronts Insights Symposium 2019It can open the door for marketers to reach close-knit communities and authentic connections – but beware, it’s not one size fits all! To enable a successful influencer marketing campaign, marketers must clearly define their campaign objectives (i.e. brand awareness, brand lift, actual conversion).

As Reesa Lake, Partner/EVP of Brand Partnerships at Digital Brand Architects, succinctly put it “not every influencer will check every box”. Also, in order to avoid a situation where the marketer is unhappy with the end result, the creative briefs should be crystal clear.  IAB recently released a Kickstarting Creative Success guide which serves as both a checklist and best practice guide for marketers to enable more effective creative. The second item on that checklist is “to create a detailed RFP and actually integrate the creative brief into the RFP”. The influencer marketing addendum to that? Consider including images from the influencer’s feed that you like and images that you don’t like in order to add another level of specificity to the brief.

“The Long and Winding Road” isn’t just a song by The Beatles – it’s also what the journey to sufficient cross-platform measurement can feel like: One hot topic of the day was attribution and what seemed like the only point of consensus on the topic was that last click attribution will no longer suffice. Marketer’s need to be thinking about alternative ways like multitouch attribution to understand the role that each channel plays in conversion. Similar to how there’s no one silver bullet solution for attribution, there’s also no one right answer for what KPIs each marketer should be evaluating to understand how success is tracking.

Takeaways from the IAB NewFronts Insights Symposium 2019Marissa Curcuru, Manager of Global Media at Bose, shared that they look at a “cost per quality” visit which is like a cost per click metric on steroids and Kate Huyett, Chief Marketing Officer at Bombas, establishes a sliding scale of “Return on Ad Spend” (ROAS) for each channel that the brand tries to achieve. Takeaways from the IAB NewFronts Insights Symposium 2019Marketers must find the right metrics for their brands.

People-based brand marketing is coming to TV. As viewers consume video across more and more screens, the ability for marketers to manage their ad spend in all those places is becoming more complex. CMO’s and their agencies and teams are under pressure to prove ROI and measurability. The good news is the ability to do 1 to 1 marketing that’s been a benefit of digital media for years is moving into TV, enabled by new and different types of data and new ways of bridging Linear TV and Digital Video audience insights. That bridging process is advancing more quickly though technology like ACR (Automatic Content Recognition) in which fingerprints of TV viewing from opted-in smart TV viewers are matched to a database of linear TV content.  ACR data company Inscape and cross-platform advertising optimization company VideoAmp tag-teamed on a presentation that highlighted recent campaign results using ACR data.

They also offered a glimpse at what a more efficient TV and Digital Video marketplace could look like if new addressability efforts (like the recently announced Project OAR), succeed.  As Jay Prasad explained: “The age-old idea that buyers and sellers have to be asymmetrically opposed to one another so that you can try and see who can gain some kind of advantage is falling to the wayside.”

Takeaways from the IAB NewFronts Insights Symposium 2019Inscape and VideoAmp’s goal: to enable a level of data sharing that includes app data and 1st party assets in order to create a win-win for both buyers and sellers. People in the room expressed both interest and curiosity in how these new efforts will scale.  That interest is underscored by the fact that advertisers’ spend on advanced TV and OTT is expected to grow quickly in the coming months. Indeed, half of buyers that IAB surveyed in its Video Ad Spend Report plan to spend more on OTT this year. At the same time more than 8 in 10 advertisers surveyed agreed that a unified multi-platform buying solution (TV + digital video) is important for them to execute those buys.

Download the presentations from the 2019 IAB NewFronts Insights Symposium:


Eric John
Deputy Director, Video, IAB Video Center of Excellence
at IAB

Nina Munoz
Director, Video Center of Excellence
at IAB

Brian Schwartz
Director, Video Center of Excellence
at IAB