Nicole Sheffield: IAB Lost Control Of Digital Conversation

Nicole Sheffield: IAB Lost Control Of Digital Conversation
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Fear and confusion have become the hallmarks of digital advertising and the IAB’s chairman Nicole Sheffield has made an impassioned plea for simplification and explanation so the tide of revenue flowing away from the industry, and apparently largely into Out of Home, is stemmed.

“Digital still gets thrown in the one bucket. But it’s very important to separate the many components of digital. Whilst we are one medium, in terms of the advertising solutions we offer clients, they’re very different and they’re measured differently,” Sheffield said while speaking at the IAB Refresh event alongside IAB CEO Vijay Solanki.

Sheffield went on to say the IAB had become too focused on the report it produced with PwC estimating the size of the online advertising market in Australia, however, tempered her comments by also presenting IAB’s road map to the future.

A vexed process because two of the biggest players in the market, Google and Facebook, didn’t hand over any data. It’s been compared by some to trying to estimate the size of the telecommunications market in Australia without any reliable revenue data from Telstra.

Google and Facebook of course have come under heavy criticism for their secrecy surrounding Australian earnings as it’s largely interpreted as means of avoiding paying an equitable level of tax.

“I think for too long our message was about size of market. It was all about that PwC report and so that became the only conversations we were having with the market. Actually, we allowed the conversation to get away from us and people who didn’t have access to the depth of data were making comments . . .

“So now there’s a lot of people working towards the betterment of the industry and we [the IAB] have to step forward, we have to take control. We have to own this platform, because we actually already do.

“A large part of that is helping the media on the journey, because we haven’t helped you. So yes there’s been a lot of comments made recently that are confusing people.

“And you know what? If I was a marketer, I’d be confused and I’d be scared, because you’d be saying: gosh, who’s taking what and who’s doing what? You know what? I’ll just put it on that bus shelter down there because I can see it and life’s good,” Sheffield said.

The answer, in her mind and it’s a stance the IAB has adopted under Vijay Solanki was to remove confusion by simplifying the industry.

“You’ve got to simplify and explain the differences. You’ve got to explain this is the IAB standards, this is who’s following them and this is who’s not. If you choose to spend your money, then you make sure you check how the homework is marked, we can’t do that for you.

Marketers are confused everyone’s confused and we all get thrown in together but there’s actually a check list of people who are transparent, who are trust worthy, who are using industry measurement and are accountable.

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