I was fortunate enough to attend the 2018 IAB UK Leadership Summit recently. The time there connecting with industry leaders and gleaning from the various sessions was valuable and exciting to see where innovation is taking us.
The IAB leadership meetings have historically been the place for challenges to be presented to the ad tech industry and for leaders to come together to discuss solutions. PubMatic is an active member of the IAB globally with our co-founder and CEO, Rajeev Goel, joining their board in the US this year. We share in the common belief of pursuing integrity, technical standards, and industry transparency that builds trust with our partners; it was an honor to join publishers and their partners for this event.
Mindfulness and Chaos in Ad Tech
After two days in a room with industry leaders, I left thinking about mindfulness and what impact increased mindfulness would have for ad tech. If we as an industry had the courage to be mindful of each other and focus on more collaboration, there would be an opportunity to address the industry issues and concerns we all face. Should we work together, we could improve efficiencies within our industry and simultaneously motivate young, innovative leaders to also collaborate.
Competition within any industry is understandable but some have pointed out that we are experiencing chaos within ad tech today. Chaos is seen in companies who say they’re fully GDPR compliant (and other leaders explaining we don’t know what compliance looks like), to massive fee disclosures, to discrepancies in how we define measurement and transparency. With the industry shift towards consolidation, we have the opportunity to define core issues affecting everyone, standardize a solution and create a more cohesive efficient ecosystem.
In a recent article, Rajeev addressed the industry’s need to move beyond discussing mere transparency and fragmented solutions—common themes and buzzwords in the chaos of today’s marketplace—to trust. As he stated, “Trust between publishers, advertisers, and technology vendors can be achieved. The real path forward is the application of clear, mature licensing models, not radicalized headlines masquerading as transparency.” This can come with a concerted effort to working together through means such as open source technology, updated business models, using standardization of solutions, and improved vendor relationships.
What the Future Could Look Like
Many discussions at the Summit focused on the end user, their behavior and how solutions can impact action. After all, as an industry, we are striving to reach individuals, understand their responses and optimize accordingly.
Attendees also discussed what it looks like to make a difference in our space. Does changing ad tech for the better simply mean leading the header bidding discussions with an open wrapper solution? Does it mean educating buyers on auctions dynamics and how the new pricing models impact them? Does it mean focusing on engineering innovative technology to drive the future of digital advertising? Does it mean reducing the chaos and focusing on collaboration?
I see our industry continuing the current growth spurt and mastering new formats like audio and CTV. Through innovation, I think we can challenge the traditional media space and drive a new level of accountability, measurement and transparency.
My hope is that we can lead the programmatic landscape by example and collaborate to create a more cohesive and healthy ecosystem—one that we can all be proud of. Ultimately, our industry was created for efficiency and optimization; we look forward to continuing digital innovation and growth within our dynamic industry