IAB held their 7th annual leadership conference February 9th through 11th in Palm Desert, California. Several members of adMarketplace’s executive team travelled to Palm Desert to mix it up with some of the most influential figures in the online advertising space. Recently, I had a chance to sit down with Senior VP Andries de Villiers to discuss some of his key takeaways from this year’s conference.
So, for you, what was the overall theme at IAB?
Andries: The overall theme of the IAB leadership conference this year was fraud in the marketplace, mostly with programmatic and display exchanges, impression fraud, and low quality publishers. IAB brings together brands, agencies, publishers, and ad tech companies, and each side got to talk about their own take on the issue.
And what was their take?
Andries: It was interesting to hear people start talking about brands shouldering the initial blame for fraud, mostly because, for a while, big brands were only looking at metrics like click-through rates, especially in display, and obviously these metrics are very easy to game and are very susceptible to click fraud.
IAB has traditionally focused more on display, but now we are seeing display advertisers using the same metrics as search advertisers. The industry is merging together and everyone is starting to take fraud more seriously.
How are we, as an industry, addressing this fraud?
Andries: There are certain metrics that can be gamed and certain metrics that cannot be gamed. ROI cannot be gamed. You can’t fake someone taking out a credit card and making a purchase. Conversions. Lead generation. These are hard to game as well. It’s easy to make a bot that crawls the internet clicking on ads. It’s a lot harder to write a bot that goes through a conversion funnel and fills out a form. Search advertising companies like adMarketplace have always been big proponents of ROI and conversion driven performance metrics, so it’s nice to see everyone getting on board.
So, ultimately, we’re seeing a convergence of performance measuring techniques throughout digital advertising?
Andries: Exactly, everyone's getting on the same page with true performance metrics because brands are looking at metrics that are harder to fake. The big shift that we are seeing is that now brands are tackling fraud themselves, which makes sense because brands are spending the money on clicks and ultimately have the most to lose. Brands really have to take on more responsibility if we, as an industry, want to stop fraud, and based on the conversations at IAB, big brands are a lot more prepared to do this.
Andries de Villiers
Senior VP, adMarketplace