One For All, And All For One: Three Key Takeaways From JICWEBS’ Town Hall Meeting

Viewability, ad fraud, brand safety and some delicious cupcakes were on the menu at the Town Hall organised by the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) this week.

Unruly’s brand safety team, Unruly Shield, was in attendance at the event at the IAB hosted by JICWEBS – the body created to support best practice for online ad trading – to mingle and discuss the biggest issues affecting Adland.

But for those who could not make it, do not worry. We have compiled some of the key takeaways discussed.

Enjoy!

1. Collective work brings growth and builds trust

A key theme discussed was the importance of working together on developing best practices and frameworks. Indeed, the best way to connect brands with people is to create a framework which indicates how communications should work to maximise impact and the output the client gets from their investment. In addition to this, advertisers need to get what they pay for.

In order to be able to reinforce change and drive forward in this very fast-evolving landscape it was highlighted that we need to reinforce a collective change in behaviour and leadership from the industry.

Nigel Gwilliam, Media and Emerging Technologies Consultant at IPA, highlighted how essential it is to produce a safety net and to think proactively. New problems will come up, but doing things proactively will allow the industry to develop new solutions. The main point was that all parties have a responsibility to act, and we are in this together.

Suzy Ryder, Managing Partner, Digital & Technology, at OMD, said no solution will ever be 100% foolproof, as new forms of ad fraud will be discovered, new content will be created and we can’t control or predict consumer behaviour 100%. This underlines why we need processes and standards like JICWEBS in place.

Mark Finney, Director of Media and Advertising at ISBA, also highlighted the need of collaboration between this cross-section of people.

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2. Technology alone is not enough

Suzy Ryder, focusing on tackling the big three from an agency point of view, referred to the fact that technology is essential to manage the problem by integrating with third party vendors, but underlined that technology alone is not enough.

It’s important to have a team that aggregates and analyses the data in order to improve decision-making and gain insights that can result in concrete actions, such as improving programmatic bidding.

3. Measurement and KPIs matter

Viewability was a popular topic at the Town Hall. Ben Price, Group Product Manager – Media Brands at Future plc, represented the AOP, and stated that as the industry moves towards viewability as a trading currency, there are some considerations from a publisher perspective.

In particular, focusing solely on viewability brings a few challenges, such as single-mindedness. For instance, intrusive ads may succeed in landing some metrics, but they are not always successful from a brand perspective.

Yield and pricing can also be a challenge, as we do measure direct response but we do not measure branding quite as well. This can be solved by introducing brand metrics such as maximum viewable time, % pixels on a page and time in view. All in all, he suggested not stopping at viewability.

It was also emphasised that every client is different. This means that sometimes brand safety means a different things to different clients, which is why it is so important to discuss campaign KPIs and determine which metrics they want to prioritise.