Randall Rothenberg: Media Brands Need ‘Relevant Scale’
The IAB head, former Time Inc. chief digital officer, reflects on what's next.
After several years as president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Randall Rothenberg took what now looks like a brief hiatus at Time Inc. as chief digital officer. Two months into the job, and after newly-installed Time Inc. chief Jack Griffin got axed, he was back at the IAB picking up where he left off. And as he outlines in an interview with FOLIO: sister site minonline, there was a lot waiting on his plate back at the industry association. On Thursday April 7, Rothenberg will be the keynote speaker at min’s Best of the Web Awards event at the Grand Hyatt in New York.
Rothenberg reflects on the agenda he picks back up at the IAB and the role of major media brands online in coming years. It turns out, he already had his to-do list in hand…and numbered.
Min: What will be the key initiatives for the IAB in the coming months? As you come back to the organization, what do you see as the top priorities?
Rothenberg: IAB is focused on six key initiatives for 2011, and each of them is vital to the interactive industry broadly, and to magazine publishers specifically.
One. "Making Measurement Make Sense" is a groundbreaking collaboration among the IAB, 4A’s, and ANA to develop measurement standards that will simplify the planning, sale, optimization, and growth of brand advertising in digital media, and across platforms. With research and development support from Bain & Co. and Medialink LLC, we’re working with dozens of major marketers, agencies, and media companies develop standards that will help showcase the real value of interactive media – and all media – to brand marketers.
Two. "Building Brands Online" builds on the measurement initiative, and central to it is effort to find the new "rising stars" of interactive brand advertising. An expert panel of executives from creative agencies, media agencies, and publishers selected from among dozens of submissions six online ad formats they deemed to have the best potential to showcase brands best. These aren’t just larger formats – they deploy the full functionality of the Web, including social engagement, video, and rich media, on behalf of marketers. For the rest of the year, we’re doing a roadshow to encourage adoption, and at the end of the year, the most successful rising star formats will be added to the IAB’s Universal Ad Package, which represents about 80% of all advertising sold online.
Three. "Protecting Privacy" is another historic cross-industry initiative, a collaboration among six major trade associations to develop a self-regulatory program to assure that consumers’ privacy rights and expectations are met in interactive advertising environments. Because the technology underlying interactivity isn’t well understood by laypeople, we’ve left ourselves open to assault by anti-business groups that want to curtail the reach and effectiveness of interactive media. This self-regulatory program – and important complementary measures, such as the Code of Conduct for IAB member companies passed by our association’s Board – will assure consumers the transparency, choice, and control they want over what they receive, and keep our industry free from onerous, inexpert regulation.
Four. Our "Data Demystification" initiative is exactly that – an effort to explain to the industry and develop best practices for the otherwise arcane world of demand-side platforms, real-time-bidding platforms, and more broadly for the use of data in online advertising relationships. This builds on the very successful "Primer on Data Usage and Control" published by IAB last year, the only publication of its kind in our industry.
Five. The IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence is a mini-IAB within the IAB – a separate unit, funded by a group of some 15 member companies, that will devote resources to market and consumer research, mobile advertising case studies, executive training and education, supply chain standardization, creative showcases and best practice identification in the burgeoning field of mobile media and marketing.
Six. Finally, our "Supply Chain Simplification" initiative is a vital effort to take complexity and cost out of the transaction flow in interactive media. This year, we expect to publish guidelines that will make it easier for marketers, agencies and media to understand the ins and outs of ad verification, which is otherwise adding unnecessary complexity to interactive advertising. We’ll be rolling out an impressions exchange that will help eliminate discrepancies from post-buy billing.
For the rest of the Q&A, click here.