IAB Starts A Data Council; Dolan And Doty Discuss

iab Data CouncilYesterday, the IAB announced its first-ever Data Council whose “initial agenda items include: Marketers & Agencies Education -An initiative that will address misinformation around data gathering and usage; Ecosystem Mapping – An effort to clarify the different kinds of data that can be collected through media buying; Data Lexicon – The creation of standard definitions and terms for data segmentation and data sources. Read the release.

David Doty, SVP and CMO of the IAB and Patrick Dolan, EVP and COO of the Internet Advertising Bureau discussed the new council and its implications.

AdExchanger.com: Broadly speaking, why is the use of data important to the IAB? And how did the Data Council come about?

DAVID DOTY: The IAB theme is that we understand that there are many conversations going on about data. We understand how important it is to consumers. We understand the privacy implications of it and we have been fierce advocates of consumer privacy – that’s one aspect of the conversation.

The other is – who owns the data? -How do you leverage that financially to the advantage of publishers or agencies or others, marketers in the value chain?

With the Data Council, we wanted to bring those conversations together – and then we wanted to bring another conversation together, which is some people believe that advertising in the age of digital is all about media, and some all about data.

PATRICK DOLAN: A couple of years ago, we established The Data Usage and Control Task Force to start looking at data issues. And we wanted to start laying the groundwork of what this landscape looks like, and that’s where the idea of primer came into being (see it). This was to establish “Here is what technology is going on. This is the data that can be collected. Here is the relationship with the end user.” And then, we tried to put down the terms that people are using because one person’s “pixel” was another person’s “beacon,” etc.

What we wanted to do is to bring more transparency to the process and make sure that there was equity with the collection and use of data in the business ecosystem.

[With the Data Council] this is just laying layer after layer of bedrock ‑‑ a degree of trust and transparency.

DAVID DOTY: We realized that a council was appropriate. There is a difference between our committees and councils. Our committees are focused on verticals ‑‑ digital, video, mobile, et cetera, our councils are more horizontal and functional. We realized that with the growth and importance of data and the growth and importance of the issues around data that a data counsel was ‑‑ this is an appropriate time for it.

AdExchanger.com:   How do you balance the market needs for innovation and remaining “unleashed” with the needs that you are driving at with the Data Council?

PATRICK DOLAN:  We don’t want to stifle innovation, but there are best practices that need to be defined and adhered to because consumers and business-to-business [entities] want a transparent and fair system. So as long as you define the limits and the best practices, then you can also say, “Well, this is where things shouldn’t be going on,” and that’s where innovation may be headed in a wrong direction.

DAVID DOTY: What we do as an organization is frequently set guidelines and define behaviors, but we don’t like to get in front of innovation. One of the challenges of the IAB is not being too far in front of and not being too far behind innovation in the industry. So that what we are actually having is the right conversation at the right time that allows for innovation and at the same time has a common sets of agreements.

But we are not putting into place guidelines or anything like that that would prevent innovation when it comes to data. What we are doing instead is trying to define it and find the way forward.

AdExchanger.com:  Many of the largest tech and software corporations in the world have their eyeballs on media such as Oracle, IBM and Cisco. Can they be included in this conversation? What do you see as the future there?

PATRICK DOLAN:  The way that we operate the IAB is that whomever is going to contribute to the conversation is invited, so if they are going to add value to the discussion, then certainly we are not going to exclude them.

DAVID DOTY: We are a membership‑driven organization. And, as a membership organization, we are driven by the interests of our members. Frequently, those members don’t agree, right? So we have to find common ground. But we’re also very good at building coalitions outside of our membership such as the terms and conditions [initiative] that we help drive in coalition with the 4As. So, they are not our members, but they certainly represent people that we are interested in having conversations with.

By John Ebbert

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