Overheard at The IAB Tech Lab Summit

IAB Tech Lab marked its 10th anniversary this week with a two-day summit hosted in New York City where participants debated the challenges of the years ahead, not to mention the shortcomings of the years gone by.

To kick off proceedings, the IAB Tech Lab CEO claimed, “Nothing will be the same again…” while fellow conference participants shared their points of view, both publicly and privately, at a time of reflection.

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Photograph of IAB Tech Lab's Anthony Katsur.

“Mandates are hard for trade bodies …” — IAB Tech Lab CEO Anthony Katsur discussed the difficulties involved in convincing different tiers of the industry to convene around an identifier that can replace the third-party cookie.

“If you’re just kind of shooting stuff blindly in the night and wishing for the best … that essentially reflects poorly on your business.” — Ashkan Soltani, executive director of the California Privacy Protection Agency, voiced the requirements of participants in the ad tech value chain under what some have construed as the U.S.’s most thorough data privacy regulations.

“I’ll give you a discount if you give me your email … and don’t use two-factor identification.” — Gruia Pitigoi-Aron, svp of product at The Trade Desk, discussed potential tactics publishers can use to encourage users to volunteer identity information … moments before he suggested OpenPass.

“I think defining what a clean room actually is would be a great start.” — Amanda Martin, CRO of MediaVine, on how data clean rooms can start to prove their mettle when it comes to helping publishers wean themselves off the middlemen of ad tech.  

“I think you’re gonna see a shift in who is at the table …” — Alanna LaForet, general manager of IAB Tech Lab during 2016 and 2017, reflected on the shifting power dynamics in the media industry, especially how content creators (powered by the large industry tech platforms) are starting to rival publishers in terms of cultural relevance.

“So, out of our defensive stance — because we have to invest in Privacy Sandbox just to defend our business — we have to remember that there could be some incremental opportunities.” — Barry Adams, general manager of BidSwitch, on how the Criteo-owned company is starting to eye opportunities out of what many had thought would be an extinction-level event for the company that was originally known as an ad retargeter. 

“The open internet grows when we can build ad experiences in areas that are highly differentiated from Walled Gardens…” – Mike O’Sullivan, CEO, Sincera, on the growing importance of advertisers to rethink measurement across the digital landscape.

From the sidelines …

“It’s so good we’ve had the IAB Tech Lab for the last 10 years … and we look forward to having them for the next 10, maybe Google will actually get rid of cookies around then.” — One speaker at IAB Tech Lab’s celebratory dinner to mark its 10th anniversary engaged in some witty repartee over Google continually kicking the can down the road.  

“There’s a lot of money that’s been invested in smoke.” — One attendee at the IAB Tech Lab Summit lamented the decline of Oracle’s advertising interests, and the culmination of more than $2 billion in adtech/martech — it bought BlueKai, Moat, GrapeShot and Datalogix — over the course of 2010s. The development represents the closure of the IT giant’s foray into ad tech, and was confirmed during its earnings call this week, with sources telling Digiday concerns over its exposure to legal suits was a big motivator for the closure.


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