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73% of Marketers & Media Agency Executives Say User Experience Needs Improvement in Digital Marketing, According to Research from IAB, Kargo & Refinery29

Survey Results Are Accompanied by Insights from 17 Prominent Ad Creatives, Brand Marketers & Publishers on How to Improve Digital Ad Experiences for the ‘Liquid Consumer’

NEW YORK, NY (June 16, 2016) — The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today released “Improving Digital Advertising Experiences with Liquid Creativity,” a whitepaper created in partnership with Kargo and Refinery29, revealing that nearly three-quarters (73%) of marketers and media agency executives believe that user experience needs improvement in digital marketing. The survey’s 283 respondents cited ad clutter as the biggest obstacle to quality user experience (54%), while video and audio auto-play landed at the bottom of their list of concerns (18% and 16%, respectively). This quantitative study is augmented by interviews with seventeen industry luminaries from across the globe. These award-winning ad creatives, top brand marketers, and major publishing leaders provide their expert opinions on how to overcome these hurdles in the face of the new “liquid audiences” that discover content across a range of mediums, devices, and platforms.

Industry pioneers and innovators who offer their observations and advice include:

  • Maryam Banikarim, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
  • Lars Bastholm, Global Chief Creative Officer, The ZOO at Google
  • Brad Brinegar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, McKinney
  • Alexa Christon, Head of Media Innovation, GE
  • Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer, FCB
  • Jed Hartman, Chief Revenue Officer, The Washington Post
  • Mark Howard, Chief Revenue Officer, Forbes Media
  • Brian King, Global Officer, Marriott Signature Brands & Global Sales
  • Michael Lebowitz, Founder and CEO, Big Spaceship
  • Ben Lerer, Managing Partner, Lerer Hippeau Ventures; Founder and CEO, Thrillist Media Group
  • Tom Markham, Executive Creative Director, BBDO
  • Lou Paskalis, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Media Executive, Bank of America
  • Diego Rubio, General Creative Director, Latin3
  • David Sable, Global Chief Executive Officer, Y&R
  • Peter Shen, Chief Creative Officer, Cheil OpenTide
  • Marisa Thalberg, Chief Marketing Officer, Taco Bell
  • Steve Wax, Managing Partner, The Cooke Wax Partnership

Some of the paper’s key takeaways include:

  • Transform approach to consumers from transaction-driven to relationship-driven
  • Anticipate the needs and desires of users through superb UX design
  • Enable creativity and innovation by taking risks with technology and data

At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity on June 20 at 12:15pm CET, Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, will lead a session with similar themes entitled “BLOCK YOU: Why World Class Creativity Will Obliterate Ad Blocking.” Jess Greenwood, Vice President of Content and Partnerships, R/GA, and Mark Thompson, President and CEO, The New York Times Company, will join him in a conversation focusing on how creativity and technology can and should come together to deliver digital experiences that consumers will adore rather than block.

“Brand stories can more effectively reach today’s audiences when they are crafted within great user experiences,” said Rothenberg. “It is imperative that ad creatives, brand marketers, publishers, and technologists realize that they must join forces to engage consumers in digital in new ways.”

“This paper offers actionable takeaways to improve user experience, and to further spark creative thinking and serious commitment to serving the ‘liquid audiences’ of the present and the future,” said Anna Bager, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mobile and Digital Video, IAB, who wrote one of the paper’s forewords. “It will serve as a key resource as we rally the industry together from all sides to deliver higher value to the ‘liquid consumer,’ and enable brands to tell more engaging and compelling stories.”

“Our audience is at the center of everything we do as a publisher, and in order to connect users with brands, a seamless user experience is key,” said Melissa Goidel, Chief Revenue Officer, Refinery29, who shares her point-of-view in the report. “With this digital-centric, ‘liquid consumer,’ you cannot force attention. Brands must invest in experiences, storytelling, authenticity and mission-driven content that is based on user passions and adds value to the consumers’ lives.”

“Mobile requires not only a change in philosophy, but also a change in practice that includes collecting new device-specific insights, using data more wisely, fusing creativity and technology more fluidly and brainstorming across more partners,” said Ryan McConville, President and Chief Operation Officer, Kargo, who also lends his opinion to the study. “It’s time to stop recycling and instead reinvent the mobile advertising experience.”

To download “Improving Digital Advertising Experiences with Liquid Creativity” please go to

IAB commissioned The Advertiser Perceptions to field a quantitative online survey with 283 brand marketers and agency buyers (42% marketer, 58% agency). All ad buyers are involved in brand decision-making for digital/online, mobile, and/or TV advertising. They all have plans to spend on national advertising in the next twelve months. The online survey was fielded May 4 – May 13, 2016. To augment the report’s quantitative study, IAB conducted 17 in-depth one-on-one thought leadership interviews with industry leaders across the digital advertising ecosystem.

About Kargo
Kargo is the leader in mobile brand advertising. Bringing together creativity, technology and quality, Kargo empowers advertisers to break convention and build connections with consumers on the most important screen today—the phone. Through our high-end editorial alliance composed of world-class publisher partners, as well as our proprietary advertising automation tools and award-winning creative studio, we enable brands and agencies to reach eight out of 10 smartphone users in the US with memorable, measurable mobile ad experiences. In 2015, Kargo was recognized by Crain’s NY Business as one of the 50 fastest growing companies in New York and by Inc. as one of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the US. Business Insider also ranked Kargo one of the “hottest pre-IPO ad tech startups” in both 2015 and 2016. Kargo employs more than 200 people in New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. For more information, visit Kargo at or @Kargo on Twitter.

About Refinery29
Refinery29 is the leading digital lifestyle media company for a millennial-minded audience of over 175 million users across platforms and 25 million on the web. Through a variety of lifestyle stories, original video programming, and social, shareable content across all platforms, Refinery29 provides its audience with the inspiration and tools to discover and pursue a more independent, stylish, and informed life. Please visit for more information and to browse content.

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. Together, they account for 86 percent of online advertising in the United States. Working with its member companies, the IAB develops technical standards and best practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. The organization is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the IAB advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City and has a West Coast office in San Francisco.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]

Kargo Media Contact
Paige F. MacGregor
Director, Corporate Communications
[email protected]

Refinery29 Media Contact
Suzy Berkowitz
Executive Vice President, Communications
[email protected]