IAB Global Summit 2016: Highlights

IAB Global Summit 2016: Highlights

New York, NY · 09.28.16 - 09.29.16

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The IAB Global Summit 2016 took place on September 28-29 in New York City, with more than 100 senior executives representing global brands, media agencies, publishers, and ad technology companies from 30 countries, from six continents, and explored the theme of “Putting Consumers First: Refocusing the Global Digital Advertising Industry.” The invitation-only, two-day event included working-session Town Halls on critical industry matters: policy, ad fraud, and transparency; the ever-growing importance of digital video; the IAB Tech Lab, LEAN scoring and DEAL, and the new flexible ad portfolio; optimizing data usage; and training, talent, and diversity. The program was rounded out by inspiring interviews with and presentations from well-known industry leaders on global branding, journalism in the digital age, advertising creativity, directions in venture capital investments, lessons on successful content marketing in China, BREXIT and its meaning for media, the latest in measurement, and how to leverage global ad partnerships. The largest IAB Global Summit yet, this year’s event will undoubtedly set our common agenda well into the future.

Day 1 Highlights

The first day of the IAB Global Summit 2016 was held on the 51st floor of the magnificent Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park.

Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, opened the IAB Global Summit by discussing what’s common across national boundaries and where differences suggest segmentation in issues of public policy, and he offered an overview of the evolution of LEAN principles, the implementation of the DEAL strategy, the growth and evolution of digital video, and issues related to ad fraud. David Doty, Executive Vice President, CMO, and Head of International, IAB, then described the collective nature of the conference, emphasizing that “We are more than the network of IABs, we are a team.” Alexandra Salomon, Senior Director, International, IAB, introduced two newly released IAB reports, the third annual “Global Insights Report: What Works & Why,” showcasing two dozen award-winning campaigns from around the world and featuring perspectives from 28 leaders across international digital marketing and media, and “Mobile Commerce: A Global Perspective,” an in-depth survey of mobile users from 19 countries around the world aimed at exploring and understanding the similarities and differences in consumer purchase and payment activities in select international markets.

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Eric Hippeau, Managing Director, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, delivered the conference’s opening keynote address, speaking about big trends in digital advertising and how they drive new venture capital investment decisions in his presentation “Future Trends in the Digital Landscape.” Hippeau shared his insights into the disruption and restructuring of the creative process, noting that “software such as programmatic is hungry, and has already eaten media,” opening tremendous investment opportunities in the process. Hippeau described how video is taking over the way we consume content, and that media companies are now increasingly bringing the production of ads in-house since the cost structure is more effective.

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In his presentation on “Brexit and the Ripple Effects across the Ad Industry in the UK, Europe, and Beyond,” Guy Phillipson, Chief Executive Officer, IAB UK, outlined the implications of the unprecedented June, 2016, referendum that will result in the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. The primary EU stance is there can be no access to the single EU market without accepting the free movement of people. Brexit poses significant challenges, all contingent on securing single market access: protecting and managing consumer confidence, the UK’s ability to continue bringing in EU talent, and the UK keeping its status as tech leader. Phillipson noted that Brexit does open new opportunities for the digital ad industry in the UK, including the possibility of streamlined regulations and settlement of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) issues, and the ability to attract new trade partners and create better relations with non-EU states.

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In “A Time of Transformation”—the first of two fireside chats— Meredith Kopit Levien, Executive Vice President and CRO, The New York Times Company, sat down with Andrew Ross Sorkin, Financial Columnist, The New York Times, and Author, Too Big to Fail, todiscuss the importance of credible reporting, and what works across boundaries and media borders. Sorkin described how journalists are reporting in more ways—and with more transparency—than ever before, and that the feedback loop is much faster and direct, all making journalism more efficient. Sorkin said that the economy we live in today is going to fundamentally shift, with artificial intelligence having a huge potential to cause disruption in the employment sphere. Sorkin suggested that the story the media continues to miss most often is the positive story, that they are less risk-averse in latching on to something that’s negative. Levien added that with so much content today, there’s a pressing need for experts to direct people’s attention the important issues, a role The New York Times seeks to fill. Levien notes that consumption patterns are dramatically shifting toward digital video, resulting in a transformation in the way The New York Times utilizes video assets.

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The second fireside chat, “Driving Connections for a Global Brand,” featured Meredith Verdone, Senior Vice President, Enterprise, Consumer & Global Wealth, and Investment Management Marketing Executive, Bank of America, and Lisa Donohue, Global Brand President, Starcom Worldwide, in a discussion on how to move a brand forward and use technology to connect to consumers, drive innovation, and compete in an environment where disruption is the norm. Verdone described three key principles where Bank of America is currently focused: being audience driven and putting the customer at center of everything; sustaining relevance and communicating messages that matter to their customers; and thinking long-term, creating responsible growth with sustainable marketing by evaluating what the customer needs over the long-term. Verdone described the tremendous opportunity that technology—especially mobile—affords Bank of America, a continually-evolving canvas to engage consumers in a dialogue and maintain relevance.

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Su Tong, Founder and CEO, Hylink Digital Solutions, and Humphrey Ho, Managing Director, Hylink North America, outlined in their presentation on “Breakthroughs in Content Marketing in the World’s Largest Consumer Market,” how Hylink is taking content marketing in China to the next level to deliver a better user experience while serving advertisers’ needs. Su Tong described some of the unique aspects of the Chinese digital market, including robust social media use that exceeds many American counterparts, strong consumer engagement with content, and incredibly high average daily video consumption. When looking at the factors that lead to success in the Chinese market, Su Tong emphasized the importance of creating a common social currency, the need to be entertaining, facilitating consumer participation, and seeking to activate consumer behavior immediately.

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In the Town Hall on Ad Fraud and Transparency, Mike Zaneis, President and CEO, Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), explored the steps the industry can take to combat online fraud and build more open and transparent relationships with media partners in this session on “Challenges and Solutions: Ad Fraud Transparency.” Through a multi-layered approach to certification and suite of anti-fraud tools, Zaneis detailed how TAG enables companies to fight fraud and filter out non-human traffic while establishing transparency and accountability. Steve Chester, Director of Data & Industry Programme, IAB UK, described IAB UK’s efforts to deliver trust in the digital ad trading market, including their work with the City of London Police on tackling piracy/copyright infringement.  Chester also explored the work IAB UK is doing with the Joint Industry Committee for WEB Standards (JIC|WEBS), which oversees digital trading standards for the UK including brand safety, viewability, and ad fraud.

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The afternoon kicked off with Jessica Greenwood, Vice President, Content & Partnerships, R/GA, describing key user experience challenges facing the industry, as well as potential solutions in her talk, “How Is Creativity Driving Better Consumer Experience Across Digital—and Across Borders?” Advertising—too often boring, intrusive, repetitive, and careless with our privacy—is standing in the way of creating great consumer experiences. Mobile is now the first screen yet advertising on mobile-only platforms is disastrous, and consumers are responding with an increased use of ad blockers.

Greenwood said there has been an inversion in influence and elites aren’t as trusted as they used to be, and the burden of proof to re-establish this trust is on brands. In order to drive better consumer experiences across digital, Greenwood suggested that the industry needs to treat ads like editorial, understanding that the content IS the product; give people things to share that will let them say something about themselves in the sharing; treat customers like members, not targets; and remember that trust is as much about what you do as what you say.

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In the Town Hall session, “It’s a Big DEAL,” Charlotte Thür, Chief Executive Officer, IAB Sweden, and Stéphane Hauser, General Manager, IAB France, explored how publishers, agencies, and marketers can best protect their interests while respecting consumers’ concerns and improving their experience online. Thür provided an overview of ad blocking use in Sweden and described the efforts Swedish publishers are taking to reduce ad blocker use by creating a better ad environment. Aiding this cause, IAB Sweden released IAB SVERIGE Ad Blocker, an ad blocker guidance for publishers issued in July, 2016, as well as Advertising Friendly Sweden, issued in June, 2016. Hauser then discussed the IAB France first ad blocking study conducted in partnership with Ipsos this past March which indicated about 30% of French internet users have ad blocking software. 
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He went on to explain the coordinated actions by the French publisher organization, GESTE, to communicate with users, resulting in a 11-20% decrease of ad blocking software, depending on the website category. He also described another ad blocking campaign is taking place this fall which includes participation from the majority of French media websites in not only messaging users with ad blockers but taking action as well.

The session on “LEAN Scoring and the Flexible New Ad Portfolio” was introduced by Scott Spencer, Director, Product Management, Sustainable Advertising, Google. Spencer set the stage for LEAN by presenting findings from Google’s recent ad experience study.

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The largest study of its kind with around 24,000 participants, its findings highlighted that we reduce ad blocking by improving ad experiences across the web. Alanna Gombert, General Manager, IAB Tech Lab, and SVP, Technology & Ad Operations, IAB, and Shailley Singh, Senior Director, Product, IAB Tech Lab, walked through the components of the brand-new IAB Ad Portfolio and shared where we stand on the development of the LEAN scoring mechanism. They described how the portfolio utilizes new media experience, including new emoji for social and messaging ads, 360-degree video ad formats and augmented and virtual reality ad formats. LEAN guidance—Lightweight, Encrypted, AdChoice supported, and Non-invasive advertising—will hinge around setting a minimum file size and focusing on specific functionality that discontinues primary features like auto-play and pop-up ads.

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Jim Norton, Global Head of Media Sales, AOL and Vice Chair, IAB Board of Directors, then delivered a presentation on “How to Structure and Service Global Ad Partnerships.” Norton expressed this concept through the framework of taking a local idea and executing and scaling it on a global platform, that in turn activates locally. Norton used Huffington Post as an example, showcasing how the 2011 acquisition was activated in local markets and has now grown to 15 different countries with 200 million unique visitors.

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In the first day’s concluding Town Hall, “The Digital GRP,” George Ivie, CEO and Executive Director, Media Rating Council, took the stage to discuss how the industry has advanced to the next stage of digital media buying standards, and what we should expect soon from 3MS (Making Measurement Make Sense). The MRC/3MS initiative has progressed immensely from finalizing viewability standards on desktop/PC in 2015 to now on mobile in 2016, while also improving filtration for invalid traffic. Looking ahead, the MRC/3MS will move beyond viewability and shift the focus on establishing digital and cross-media audience currency. The end goal is to create a currency based on impressions that are viewable to a human, incorporate duration, and delineate audience targets on a consistent basis.

The day wrapped up with a lively cocktail reception and networking dinner at Lincoln Ristorante in Lincoln Center.

Day 2 Highlights

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The second day of the Global Summit reconvened at the IAB Ad Lab with a networking breakfast and introductory remarks from Alexandra Salomon, and kicked off with the Town Hall session “Legal Matters: Around the World of Policy, ePrivacy, and Digital Advertising Laws.” The session featured Jeffrey A. Greenbaum, Managing Partner, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC; Matthias Matthiesen, Public Policy Manager, IAB Europe; and Brad Weltman, Vice President, Public Policy, IAB. Greenbaum led a discussion on advertising law compliance issues, including new and expanded regulatory efforts in both China and Russia, issues around transparency as they relate to native ads, as well as legal issues arising from the use of Pokémon GO. Matthiesen then provided an overview on EU privacy laws and their impact on the digital advertising industry, including new regulations on any data that may include personally identifying information. He related how the EU regulatory environment reflected very strict guidelines and stiff penalties for targeting individuals without their explicit consent.

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Patrick Dolan, Executive Vice President & COO, IAB, and Ana Milicevic, Principal and Co-Founder, Sparrow Advisers, presented the Data Maturity Model, a new benchmark recently released by the IAB Data Center of Excellence that enables brands, agencies, publishers, and data technology vendors to determine where they or their clients and prospects rank in data usage sophistication, guiding further investment, implementation, and strategy. Dolan discussed IAB plans for a roadshow across country to spread word of the new model, as well as ideas for addressing the talent gap and how best to optimize data usage. Milicevic then conducted a live demo the data maturity model website.

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The Global Summit’s final Town Hall, “Talent Is Key: Where Training Is Now and Identifying Future Needs” was led by Olga Britto, Managing Director, IAB Colombia; Josephine Buys, Chief Executive Officer, IAB South Africa; and Sonia Carreno, President, IAB Canada. They addressed the learning gaps in different marketplaces and the industry’s current global training needs. Britto outlined IAB Colombia’s certification program, including challenges such as standardization, translation, cost, and attention to regional differences. Buys explored the perspective from South Africa, including addressing the diversity challenge and filling the talent gap in digital. Carreno then discussed IAB Canada’s efforts at developing human capital and ensuring excellence in digital media delivery, including Digital 360 certification programs, as well as new partnerships with leading Canadian colleges and universities. The panel was also joined by Christa Babcock, newly-appointed Vice President, Learning and Certification, IAB, who provided an overview of IAB training and certification initiatives.

Eric John, Senior Director, Mobile and Video, IAB, introduced

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Dan Ferguson, Executive Vice President, Interactive & Strategy, Groove Jones, who led an animated session on “Expanded Realities—The Worlds of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.” Ferguson walked through the exciting new canvas for brand storytelling that VR and AR offer, including those by innovative early adopters Nestlé, McDonald’s, and Mondelēz (all of which were featured in the new IAB report, “Is Virtual the New Reality? A Market Snapshot of VR Publishing and Monetization.”) Ferguson provided an overview of VR basics and described its groundbreaking potential as an immersive medium, one that is breaking out of the realm of dedicated gamers and that is likely to become entrenched as a mainstream medium in the short term.

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In the final session of the IAB Global Summit, “The Ever-Growing Reach of Digital Video and How to Measure It,” Anna Bager, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobile and Video, IAB, and Alanna Gombert, General Manager, IAB Tech Lab and SVP, Technology & Ad Operations, IAB, offered updates from the IAB Video Center of Excellence. They discussed the massive increases in video viewership, the convergence of digital video and TV standards and cross-platform video ad spend, and the measurement implications and opportunities resulting from the tremendous growth in OTT delivery.

IAB Global Summit organizer Alexandra Salomon closed the event by thanking all the participants for coming together to share their insights and actively engage in meaningful discussions about crucial industry matters. She also thanked the IAB Global Summit sponsors: Google (Platinum Sponsor) and YuMe (Silver Sponsor).

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