A couple of weeks back, I was lucky enough to grab a few days in New York to be part of the IAB Global Summit.
This is when at least half of the 44 global IAB offices get together to share best practice and work together on the future of digital advertising & media.
We also had very open discussions with some senior people from clients (eg., Joe Bihlmier, VP Global Media at American Express), agencies, publishers and tech companies. As well as Australia, we had IAB CEOs from the UK, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Poland, Japan and many more.
A lot of the discussions were pretty sensitive but let me share some of the key themes:
- The consumer is still in charge and more empowered than ever. Every market showed data on increasing consumer immersion into digital - online, especially mobile, video and increasingly voice (eg., 15m Amazon Echo units in USA).
- Digital advertising continues to grow even in a year of challenge & question. The IAB USA CEO, Randall Rothenberg was just back from giving evidence to Congress in the case of the Russian advertising potentially impacting the USA presidential election.
- The role of IABs have evolved to focus much more on education and increasing trust rather than just about growing digital advertising revenues. Creating a common language was a common theme.
- Collaboration locally and globally on the key topics is critical to success. Every IAB was working with both global and local partners to join the dots. Many worked with other industry bodies, especially with brands.
- Many publishers, media owners and tech companies are working directly with brands facilitated by the IAB. The USA talked us through their publisher-marketer content studio.
- Growing trust in the value chain is a key area of focus with initiatives like ads.txt and the new Ad Portfolio moving us forwards. Great to see an extensive roadmap of activity from IAB Techlabs. There is a full plan of key technology initiatives that will help improve the digital value chain in video, mobile, audio. There's even a group looking at block-chain.
- With GDPR, e-privacy and more coming, policy will be a key topic for the next 12 months. We're lucky to be able to tap into experts like IAB Europe who focus solely on policy.
The biggest opportunity for all the IABs is to collaborate more. We're closer to the USA getting more information & expertise from them, talking more with the UK & Europe on measurement & policy, checking in with Japan on APAC topics and going as far as getting IAB Canada to visit us next month. There's no question that we're better together. Networks are the way to go in 2018 and beyond.