I have mentioned earlier that I have spent the past few months working on setting up an IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) Greater China. Recently, there have been some major developments. But before I get into those, I would like to talk about what I have learned.
IAB is set up as a non-profit business association for the digital advertising industry in each country market. Its mission is to enhance revenue growth by working with advertisers, ad agencies and media by reducing business friction. It does this by promoting standards and practices which make it easier to push out campaigns, measure results, and to optimize campaigns. Sometimes, IAB also plays a role as an industry advocate with the various governments and organizations (such as the European Union).
In China’s case, the most important issues in the near term have to do with standards for ad formats. The market is fragmented, which means that advertisers and ad agencies have to deal with multiple ad sizes, formats and naming conventions. This makes it that much more difficult for media planners and buyers and advertisers to get meaningful results from their interactive campaigns. Human energy and attention span, which are always in short supply, have to deal with mundane instead of more important practical issues.
The way IAB deals with these issues is to set up task forces and committees so that industry players can talk about, then propose standards to resolve these issues. Companies which are competitors in the marketplace first recognize the problem, then work on proposals for common standards to resolve these issues. After review and approval, they become IAB standards.
An important part of the value proposition for an IAB Greater China is to bring in a process of open discussion about standards, proposals and review for this industry. My discussions have shown to me that this is something Chinese companies would very much welcome, just as much as western companies.
In China, it’s always important to have the relevant government agencies in the loop, and I’m happy to say that after explaining what IAB does, they understand and even support its goals.
So let the process begin!
There has been major progress on bringing in some major players as board members and members of IAB Greater China. The paperwork has not been finished yet, so I am not free to say more, but it would be safe to say that there will be important announcements coming out soon.
November is going to be a busy month.