A meeting place for leading digital voices

IAB Standards & Guidelines Council Discusses All Things Digital

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The IAB Standards & Guidelines Council, originally convened in 2009, continues to lead the way in indentifying and evaluating the needs of the Australian Online Advertising industry. 

We spoke with a few of our council members about all things digital - from native advertising to viewability:

Fay Koo |Point Solutions Engineer | Sizmek

Viewability is a hot topic, where does your organisation stand on this issue?

Viewability has become a very important part of the digital ecosystem. Campaign complexity is making it increasingly critical for advertisers to assess the effective of digital campaigns. New and sophisticated bot traffic, proliferation of network and exchange buying and campaign complexity are making viewability increasingly critical.

Viewability will allow brands and agencies to truly assess what's wasted or valuable. It provides more meaningful measures on how often the ad is in view by audience, not just served on the page. Advertisers and agencies should not look at viewability as a standalone KPI. We believe viewability is power data when measured and assessed with other components, for example measuring the uplift of conversions based on viewable impressions. Serving viewable, relevant and personalized creative to the right audience, doing so in a brand safe environment will be strong value drivers. Advertisers and agencies who can identify and integrate the best measurement and then adapt how they execute and evaluate their campaigns based on the campaign goal will see great results.

Tim Armstrong | Product Operations Manager | Mi9

Can standards be built around native advertising?

With "native advertising" being the catch phrase I think it's imperative the industry keeps a close eye on it. We all know that these things come thick and fast giving little or no time to prepare or even determine how to deal with it. As a group I believe we need to do what we can to ensure there are standards across what native advertising is but also be vigilant that there needs to be a level of flexibility. The market needs to have a similar understanding, the accountability of digital advertising and measurement continues to increase and to operate on a level playing field we need consistency.

Publishers can't allow the market to run with a loose and non-standard method of advertising as it compromises their ability to service a client's needs. The more control which can be exercised around the ways in which advertising is offered then the more one publisher can match up to another, we've all experienced the cost of inconsistencies across the market and need that alignment, Not only do we look to use this as a guideline for publishers but aid the agencies in allowing them to understand exactly what it is they are buying on behalf of their clients.

Alex Else | National Advertising Operations Manager | REA Group

Viewability is a hot topic, where does your organisation stand on this issue?

Viewability is being feared by some and seen as an opportunity by others, with REA currently sitting in the latter camp with the opportunity it presents for us to further understand how users interact with our sites. This is one of the key reasons why we are investing in an internally built tool to produce & analyse our own viewability data. However we need to keep the complicated manner of it's execution, with multiple approved vendors but no true approved methodologies, and what it can give to buyers and publishers alike in the correct perspective as to what we are all trying to achieve: Return on Investment.

Viewability arose as a technical solution to the market's need for more metrics. Some may see that it could dynamically change the publisher – client ROI conversation (why would a publisher charge for an impression that wasn't viewed??) but we don't currently feel that it is the magic bullet metric for the ROI conversation. Viewability data adds to the ROI conversation and gives insight, but this optimism is also held in check by the looming conversations regarding discrepancies. Actions to bring about alignment would be very welcome - vendors to produce white papers on this issue as, no matter who is measuring this and how it is used, only via alignment in the industry will we be able to use Viewability as the opportunity it potentially is.

Aryeh Sternberg | Ad-Tech Innovation manager | News Corp

Can standards be built around native advertising?

Many have said that Native Advertising is nothing new, and in the historical perspective Advertorials and Sponsored Content have existed across media formats for over a century (print, TV, digital, etc.). However, what is emerging across the communication landscape in what is loosely bundled as Native Ads takes on all shapes and forms, is connected across and among devices and content types, and spans all lengths of time.

In one sense if we were to build standards around Native, we may be restricting opportunities to truly deliver contextually relevant engaging content that give brands a chance to build long-lasting meaningful relationships with their consumers. From another perspective we can and should link the most relevant measures that can be obtained from user engagement which do need a standard framework to work within.

One of the major Native Ad platforms recently shared in a workshop that Native is for branding only, and can't be used as a Performance platform; Engagement in the form of Time Spent and Context being the key success indicators for campaigns. Another viewpoint is that while Native provides a contextual content base to relate with a consumer's life, we should not ignore the potential to convert consumers and limit the opportunity for them to buy a brand's product at any time.

At the end of the day, the same framework of Engagement standards across all digital media should apply.

Lauren Oldham | Head of Sandbox |PHD Media

How do you keep yourself and your team across changes in technology and the ad landscape?

My role as Head of Sandbox at PHD is specifically focused on keeping up-to-date on technology and helping our clients infuse technology across their media buys and their business. My scope is not limited to the traditional digital landscape, so I use multiple sources to stay well informed.

Overall, it requires a lot of reading! One of the best resources I've found is Tech News Tube (app and website) which is feed of breaking technology news from across all the top technology sites and then I end up down a rabbit hole. I also am a big fan of WIRED magazine... online, iPad and even the old analogue print editions. Additionally, I have a lovely network of developers and tech enthusiasts who share things that they come across based on conversations we've been having.

I share some of the most exciting pieces with my agency and our clients through our weekly newsletter PHDownload and through internal community meetings.


Naima brings several years of experience in the international media & communications industry - from news and entertainment, to politics and academia. Prior to joining IAB Australia in 2014, she was a Senior Researcher at the ABC, and a regular contributor to several publications. Internationally, she has worked for NBC News in New York and Moby Media in Afghanistan. Naima holds a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago where she focused on Arabic, Anthropology and International Relations. She is particularly interested in the ways the digital marketplace is changing both the education and news sectors. Naima is focused on generating a vibrant online dialogue with IAB Australia's members via our blog and social networks, and keeping the public informed about IAB's objectives and achievements.


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Guest Sunday, 23 October 2016