IAB and 4A’s Announce New Tools to Simplify Interactive Advertising Operations

Ad Operations OnlineJoint Task Force Devises Tools to Streamline and Automate Workflow for Buying, Selling, and Delivering Interactive Media

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies(4A’s) announced agreement on actions that will reduce the costs and complexity of buying and selling interactive advertising. The announcement was made at the IAB’s Annual Meeting, Ecosystem 2.0: Brands Battle Back.

The two industry associations joined forces to create the 4A’s/IAB Reinvention Task Force to focus on the following three areas:

* Standardization in business document formats. The recent E- Business Interactive Standards, a beta release of an XML-based solution for automating the transfer of business documents, standardizes order information including requests for proposals, insertion orders, and invoices between advertising agencies and media companies. Beta testing partners will be implementing and refining this solution throughout 2009. www.iab.net/ebiz
* Updating the 4A’s/IAB Standard Terms and Conditions. As interactive has grown and changed, so have the contractual requirements. The IAB and 4A’s are committed to updating the current standard Terms and Conditions language in 2009 to reflect the current operational and marketplace environment.
* Improving automated exchange of impression and other metric data for discrepancy resolution and billing. Solving the discrepancy problem is a top priority for both agencies and publishers, and a method for detecting discrepancies during a campaign is essential.

“The timing of these initiatives could not be more important for our industry,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the IAB. “We must re-double our focus on costs as we continue to revolutionize the business of marketing. These efforts will only enhance the value of interactive for all stakeholders and consumers.”

“At a time when agencies and media companies are evolving the nature of their relationships and their businesses, the Reinvention Task Force is a critical step in improving the most fundamental elements of how we operate,” said Nancy Hill, President and CEO of the 4A’s. “These solutions will help drive revenue and allow all partners to more effectively scale operations.”

Though publishers and agencies have been developing sophisticated media buying and selling tools for years in the interactive space, they have often been difficult to integrate. The E- Business Interactive Standards will provide immediate operational efficiencies, enable scalability for all partners, and, by eliminating a large part of multiple entry, will reduce communication errors between publishers and agencies.

“The collaboration between publishers and agencies on the Reinvention Task Force has enabled us to accelerate the process by which these standards are implemented across the digital ecosystem,” said Zack Rogers, VP of Revenue Operations, CBS Interactive and the Publisher Lead of the Reinvention Task Force.

“We are pleased at the progress we have made to date on the Reinvention initiative,” said David Cohen, Executive Vice President, US Director of Digital Communications for Universal McCann, Chairperson of the 4A’s Digital Marketing Committee, and the agency lead of the Reinvention Task Force. “Through an impression exchange solution and consistent nomenclature for RFPs, insertion orders and invoices we believe that we have taken an important first step towards achieving that goal. Our attention will now turn to widespread adoption of these standards and working through the next iteration of industry standard Terms & Conditions.”

About the IAB:

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 375 leading media and technology companies who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.iab.net.

About the 4A’s

The American Association of Advertising Agencies is the national trade association of the advertising agency business. The 1,196 member agency offices it serves in the United States employ 65,000 people, offer a wide range of marketing communications services, and place 80 percent of all national advertising. The management-oriented association helps its members build their businesses, and acts as the industry’s spokesman with government, media, and the public sector. For more information visit our Web site at www.aaaa.org.