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This year’s annual IAB Global Summit on Oct. 1 and 2, 2014, at the IAB Ad Lab in New York City, brought together participants from 33 countries for a global town hall. IAB leaders and influential members from creative agencies, ad tech companies, publishers and media agencies from China and India to Europe, the Americas and beyond converged for two days of discussions and idea sharing about the future of digital in a summit sponsored by Google and Rubicon Project.
Randall Rothenberg, President & CEO, IAB, opened the first day by greeting the leaders and contributors from all corners of the world to New York for the biggest IAB Global Summit to date. Rothenberg expressed his excitement for what was to come over the next two days and noted how great it was to receive executives from as far away as Australia and Singapore, sharing a special thanks to the delegation from China.
David Doty, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer of IAB, also offered warm greetings to the audience of global digital leaders. He noted how great it is that this event brings together both colleagues and friends to fulfill the goal of building a truly global network to benefit IAB and its members. Doty then turned over the microphone to the Master of Ceremonies.
Alexandra Salomon, Senior Director, International IAB, gave an overview of the day ahead and shared two big launch announcements. First was the release of the “IAB What Works & Why – Global Insight Report.” This report, second in the series of ‘What Works & Why’ that IAB launched last year, provides insider perspectives from 20 top interactive creatives, marketers and publishers & 17 advertising campaign case studies from 14 countries spotlighting lessons on marketing and brand building in the digital world, whether the programs focus on specific target markets or are global in scope.
Secondly, was the launch of IAB Global Legal Summaries, the first online resource of its kind with information about regulatory and policy updates from countries around the world. This overview is intended to be a resource for companies interested in doing business in other markets and IAB believes will be a helpful tool to connect companies with all of the international IABs and vice versa.
Nick Law, Global Chief Creative Officer, R/GA, kicked off the summit with his keynote that set the tone for the day. He discussed the future of digital campaign management in a multiplatform, multicultural universe. Law suggested that agencies should focus on developing coherent experiences that merge storytelling and systematic digital design from a basis of easily communicable brand truth. He talked about focusing on the “whole idea” – a message and a behavior, and the importance of the journey from ‘think’ to ‘make.’ Using the R/GA campaign for Beats by Dr. Dre as a case study, Law pointed out how cultural insights drawn from diverse sources could influence campaign design critical to successful innovation. Law added that “the definition of innovation is when two types of thinking come together to create a third way of thinking.” Furthermore, he showed how an agency could develop a brand, help create its product, and produce a creative spot without needing help from partners.
Linda Gridley, Partner & Co-Head of Digital Media Group, AGC Partners, shared some incredibly helpful insights about digital advertising’s financial future, suggesting that growth and collaborative innovation between major players in ad tech, e-commerce and content were inevitable. Gridley explained that investors were now developing confidence in financially sound content and digital advertising companies despite a trend toward consolidation in ad tech. “It’s been a great year for M&A,” she said. “Buyers are getting back their digital courage – they realize that the digital genie is not going back in the bottle.” As in so many other areas of the industry, Gridley noted how mobile is the broadest theme in the investment arena, and how “mobile scalability is increasing dramatically,” which is leading to new market opportunities.
During a lively discussion moderated by Peter Minnium, Head of Brand Initiatives, IAB, speakers explored the challenges of developing a well-defined value chain for content in a world in which agencies and publishers are experiencing digital disruption on multiple fronts. In his keynote, Michael Zimbalist, Senior Vice President, Advertising Products and Research & Development, The New York Times, shared that despite this disruption, there are a lot of possibilities for content creators and showcased some great examples like Emirate Airlines and Netflix’ Orange is the New Black. Zimbalist highlighted the challenges content marketers face and how “you can’t buy user engagement” although you can buy clicks or likes. High-quality content matched to a respected publisher remains the best approach to native advertising. The session included Enor Paiano, Director of Sales at UOL; Guy Phillipson, CEO, IAB UK; and Karim H. Attia, CEO, nugg.ad, and covered topics from native advertising to profit margins for digital paywalls. They came to a consensus that the industry, although in transition, held great promise for publishers and agencies willing to innovate with, rather than in reaction to, changes in the digital ecosystem. The panel noted that having content creators work together with the company placing the material is the best system to implement for native advertising, while Minnium brought up the importance of finding a middle ground between clicks and custom content.
The next panel offered an update on the latest EU directives regarding data privacy and discussed the industry’s approach to managing potential shifts in the legality of consumer data usage. Exploring one of the hottest topics at the moment in Europe, the concept of the Right to Be Forgotten and its potential impact on search, digital publishing and ad tech, the group explored the processes and guidelines used to determine “fair use” of data. Valérie Chavanne, Vice President, IAB France and General Council & Head of Public Policy, Yahoo France, held that the scopes of these rights might become larger in Europe very soon. The panel, which also included Townsend Feehan, CEO, IAB Europe, and Rob Pegoraro, Freelance Journalist at Yahoo Tech, concluded that companies should be prepared to develop a data strategy that is agile enough to balance privacy directives and data usage needs. There are also numerous potential effects on content with advertising, as content that disappears from search engines would no longer have the exposure it previously did. Rulings expected from the high courts on both continents could soon affect the industry.
Discussing Innovation in Digital, Amanda Richman, President of Investment and Activation, Starcom USA, in an interview with Mike Shields, Senior Editor, The Wall Street Journal, covered the perspective of media agencies as they learn to navigate an advertising ecosystem unalterably changed by digital video, programmatic buying and issues of data privacy. Richman revealed that although the industry had been slow to warm to digital, clients are now seeing the impact and long-term cost-effectiveness of digital advertising and raising their standards accordingly. She highlighted how insights and innovation can be the driving force that brings ideas together and stressed the importance of simplification in digital buying (as the TV marketplace is so seamless). Richman also pointed out that predictions of shrinking staffs in the digital marketplace had not come true. In fact, the opposite has been true. They have seen an increase in staff in order to implement the technology and provide the necessary training to go digital.
A trio of experts covered topics ranging from copyright enforcement to data privacy compliance, with informative examples of the way the IAB trains and empowers members to guard against fraud. The panel, which included Steve Guenther, Vice President, Digital Auditing Services, Alliance for Audited Media; Scott Cunningham, Vice President, Technology & Ad Operations, IAB; and Steve Chester, Director, Data & Industry Programmes, IAB UK, concluded that industrywide compliance and consistency of enforcement was critical to creating an environment in which the word “transparency” held true meaning. The panel suggested that the ultimate goal was global standards for fraud prevention throughout the industry, or finding a standard that is as borderless as the companies operating within the digital ecosystem.
The following discussion featured a look at where programmatic and digital ad sales are heading with representation from a publisher (The New York Post), creative agency (VivaKi) and ad technology (The Rubicon Project). Jay Stevens, GM International, The Rubicon Project, a Gold Sponsor of the IAB Global Summit 2014, spoke about the future of digital platforms. Sandra Baez, GM, NYPostDigital Networks, offered a perspective on how publishers scale their business in the digital age. Marco Bertozzi, President of AOD and EMEA, VivaKi, noted how the role of agencies was unlikely to change in programmatic. The panel also noted the challenges ahead; with programmatic expected to grow 27 percent per year in each of the coming four years. Despite the changes throughout the industry, panel members noted that advertisers are not prepared to take programmatic in-house.
Anna Bager, Vice President & General Manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB, started the next session by opening the conversation to the room and many countries represented voiced how important mobile video is in their market being the fasted growing ad spend and frequently where demand outstrips supply. Wu Minghui, CTO, Miaozhen Systems, presented a lively summary highlighting the potential of mobile video in China, where mobile has already surpassed television and PC use. Doron Wesly, Head of Marketing Strategy, Tremor Video, delivered a second presentation with his trademark exuberance while stressing the importance of more precise measurements when analyzing mobile. Wesly noted that 74 percent of mobile users want more free content, which means there is a huge space opening up for ads to support this model. And, Jon Mew, Director, Mobile & Operations, IAB UK, offered a perspective from the bustling UK market, where the advance of mobile continues at an accelerated pace.
Donald Williams, Chief Digital Officer, Horizon Media, presented his company’s perspective on the importance of measurement improvement in highlighting what’s ahead for Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS.) Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President, Research Analytics, and Measurement, IAB, joined Williams in showing where IAB members were headed with five guiding principles for measurement improvement. This systematic approach will clarify standards and increase transparency. Williams brought up the fact that viewability does not necessarily signal improvement in measurement.
Lou Mastria, Executive Director of Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), moderated the final discussion on self-regulation in the global digital marketplace to close an eventful first day of activities. With 32 countries and 24 languages to the credit of DAA members, the need to consolidate the strength of members will continue to impact the ability of digital leaders to self-regulate. Dr. Ionel Naftanaila, Project & Technical Director, DAA Europe, gave the perspective from Europe along with Nick Stringer, Director of Regulatory Affairs, IAB UK. Alice Manners, CEO, IAB Australia, reported on regulatory developments in Australia and the challenges of working with multiple agencies, while Julie Ford, Director of Councils (DAA) Canada, IAB Canada, spoke about the one-year anniversary of the DAA in Canada, its consumer awareness campaign and the major companies that have donated inventory. She also spoke about the unique challenges she faces, including establishing programs in a country that has both English and French as official languages. In the open discussion following the panel talk, IAB members from Southeast Asia explored ways to bring the DAA to their home countries.
Following an informative and lively day of discussions, attendees made their way to the Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem, to enjoy a lovely cocktail reception with jazz, and dinner, sponsored by Google and The Rubicon Project. Following a networking breakfast, Day Two of the 2014 Global Summit continued with a warm welcome from Patrick Dolan, EVP & COO, IAB. He invited attendees to pick up where day one left off and share their knowledge and experiences before handing it over to Michael Theodore, Vice President, Learning & Development, IAB, who delivered updates about the training and professional development programs IAB is developing and reiterated the success and value of IAB’s certification programs.
Theodore then opened the floor to other IAB leaders to discuss their unique experiences with certification and training, and some of the challenges they face. Chris Williams, President, IAB Canada, and Miranda Dimopoulos, Executive Director, IAB Singapore, both spoke about the marketing efforts and strategies for increasing participation in IAB Certification. Alice Manners, CEO, IAB Australia, Suzanne McElligot, CEO, IAB Ireland, and Jon Mew, Director, Mobile & Operations, IAB UK focused on how they have worked to adjust training programs based on their markets and needs.
The session concluded with Rafael Davini, President, IAB Brazil, who spoke passionately about his personal experience with IAB and the wide variety of educational events and opportunities available to members.
The final discussion of the 2014 IAB Global Summit was an animated “town-hall”-style meeting led by Dolan, which included IAB leaders and representative members from Australia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, Greece, Turkey, Singapore, South Africa, the UK and the US. It gave members of the IAB Global Network an open forum to discuss a range of pressing issues, from data privacy and measurement to revenue reporting, pending industry regulation, and potential joint research initiatives.
The conversation shifted toward leveraging the IAB Global Network to actively offer technological solutions to members, especially those within nations new to the organization. Planned and newly launched solutions have similar goals – all are designed to help members access the latest research, methodologies and technology to create smarter, more impactful digital strategies.
Participants were in agreement that despite numerous changes in the global digital ecosystem and challenges in attribution and regulation, none were insurmountable.
Randal Rothenberg and David Doty then closed the 2014 Global Summit by thanking the attendees for coming and restating the power and importance of this event. They both emphasized the value of the IAB Global Network; with so many digital leaders around the world sharing their expertise, IAB will continue to drive the industry forward.
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