IAB aims for simplicity in digital advertising with new councils and approach

Interactive Advertising Bureau revises and adds new councils to its operations, and says it's putting the emphasis on tackling ad viewability through more transparent, cross-industry industry measurements

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Australia is streamlining its advisory council structure and says it’s putting simplification, transparency and trust at the core of its activities in 2017.

The digital association has established a new Executive Tech Council to sit across its existing Video, Mobile, Audio and Standards and Guidelines Councils, aimed at better unifying efforts in these areas. The umbrella council will be chaired by recently appointed consultant and for REA Group media leader, Jonas Jaanimagi. The emphasis for the Council is on viewability, adblocking, ad fraud and programmatic advertising.

The IAB’s research director, Gai le Roy, is also overseeing a refreshed Executive Measurement Council, which has been given an expanded brief across all measurement from strategic planning to effectiveness metrics.

This includes a new Ad Effectiveness Council, which launches in March, aimed at helping the industry better analyse advertising’s impact across different activities, as well as better unite digital advertising metrics with other cross-media data. Those getting involved include publishers, agencies, advertisers and research companies.

IAB CEO, Vijay Solanki, said the agenda this year is to simplify and inspire the industry while working to harmonise digital advertising measurement. He agreed there was significant confusion around the types and transparency of digital measurement thanks to the explosion of different media and advertising formats, and that solving it would require both industry-wide collaboration as well as an ability to adapt to changing consumer behaviours and interactions.

As an example of this collaboration, Solanki noted the recent IAB Viewability whitepaper, which brought together 19 organisations with competing commercial and technical interests coming together to benefit the whole industry. He also said the IAB was open to working with other industry associations and would welcome more brand-side members to further ensure the future of the digital marketing industry.

“We are about joining up the two sides of the brain – the art and the science – and we do that through simplification,” he said. “Our primary strategic goals are about the measurement piece, and building the trustworthy digital supply chain.

“We go back to one fundamental truth at the IAB, which is trying to get the right data and trying to help the industry make sense of that data, be that in audience measurement or be that topics like viewability or ad blocking.”

Calls for better transparency around digital advertising performance and industry-wide metrics have been gaining significant momentum across the industry. Disparate and often misunderstood measurement practices between technology vendors, new and old media players and agencies, are increasingly being criticised by brands now looking for a way to better understand the effectiveness of their media spend.

Reporting errors, such as the overestimations of video views admitted to by Facebook, have only added to a desire to crackdown on how digital measurement is handled.

Last month, Procter and Gamble’s chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, called out “murky” and “fraudulent” digital marketing practices, and said the FMCG giant was implementing a number of changes to agency contracts and the way it handles digital advertising in order to combat poor media supply chain practices.

According to Solanki, bringing data together from across the industry – buy and sell - is a core part of tackling these issues, and he said the IAB is looking to bring more of the ecosystem together to combat metrics concerns.

Over the past two years, the association has been working in partnership with Nielsen to produce a new digital audience measurement currency that offers independent, cross-device measurement.

A big step forward was the launch of the digital ratings (Monthly) measurement last March, which pools together Nielsen’s PC panel for home and work with national panels of Australian smartphone and tablet device users, as well as census tagged data for PC and mobile Web and data tracking from more than 6500 media organisations, brands and channels.

The IAB is now working on Digital Content Ratings, which will bring in third-party provider data from tagged participating players, as well as provide the market with daily-based ratings around digital text, audio and video digital consumption. These are due out in Q2, 2017.

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