Unleashing the Data Dragon- IAB Conference Update

Right off the bat, you need to know that quality traffic is NOT a commodity. I am attending the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Ecosystem 2009 conference in Orlando.  There are over 500 attendees at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress hotel and of those, I have found five advertisers.  There is no doubt, nor is the fact hidden, that the IAB is a  publisher driven organization.  But it has struck me just how narrow that view is as I heard Wenda Harris Millard speak last night.  The title of her presentation was titled, "Am I in the Wrong Class? Why Advertising Isn't and Shouldn't Be (Just) Math and Science" .  It could have easily been titled, ‘Too Much Emphasis On Data Is The Problem, Not A Solution’ Wenda is very smart and has obviously been quite successful, but to me, she seems to be missing the obvious.  It is the science aspect of online advertising that differentiates it from traditional media.  Online is much more measurable, has easier to access data that is more accurate and can be enhanced from a performance standpoint by leveraging the data wisely.  Randall Rothenberg, CEO of the IAB, noted, "We need a creative renaissance in interactive advertising, the business has lived under the tyranny of the click for too long"   The tyranny of the click?  Isn't it the "click" that has driven the growth of online?  While traditional media flails in the wind (or gets blown away completely, think print...) online has lots of upside.  The renaissance we need to better leverage data to improve traffic quality. I was part of an agency for eight years and understand the value of good creative messaging and branding.  But I deliberately moved into online because of the measurability and accountability it can create.  At Click Forensics, our goal as a company is to enable advertisers to get what they pay for.  That is delivered through transparency, accountability and measurement.  The successful seller of digital media will embrace these ideas and work to demonstrate their commitment to quality.  They will look through the lens of the advertiser to deliver traffic that meets the goals set out in the campaign.  The IAB is doing a great job in developing standards to enhance measurement and we continue our efforts as part of the Click Measurement Working Group.  I applaud their work and am pleased to be a member. But now is time for us to find better ways to communicate the value of online advertising.  Let's give the people what they want.  Let's prove to them that quality traffic is NOT a commodity.   Instead of trying to "tame the data dragon" we should should work together to unleash the beast. Tom Cuthbert