IAB wrapped up the 2017 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting just last month to the theme of "Publishers and Platforms: What's Next?" -- a three-day marketplace that explored the progressively intricate relationships and partnerships between and among platforms and publishers. This year's agenda-setting discussions centered on how increasingly dominant platforms are reshaping media and advertising as we know it.
Taking the mainstage presentations to off-stage discussions, IAB asked keynote speakers and attendees from across the industry to answer a series of timely questions. Here are some highlights of what they had to say.
What medium is best for brand storytelling?
In a world of increasing platforms, brands are exploring how and where they should be engaging with their consumers. Amongst the industry leaders interviewed, social and digital video were highlighted as a powerful combination. However, the majority agreed that brands should be using all mediums for effective storytelling, some even emphasizing that brands should be comfortable utilizing the same channels that their audiences are using -- including memes, short videos, or long videos. Russell Wager, vice president of marketing, Mazda, underscores this idea and said, "I don't think there's one best brand medium. I think it's a combination of everything working together, depending on the story you're trying to tell, and where you're telling it."
Content studio or ad agency?
The growing trend of branded content is leading many brands and publishers to ask whether it's better to use content studios or ad agencies. From TripAdvisor and Kantar Media to AppNexus and TruSignal, the overwhelming response was content studios. However, Amanda Richman, president, Starcom USA, brought in a varying perspective and said it's both. Using content studios while involving ad agencies in the process so they can bring all their brand expertise to the table is the ideal combination, she said.
How can publishers thrive in the new marketing-media ecosystem?
Going with the conference theme, we asked attendees just how publishers can continue to flourish in the evolving media ecosystem. User experience consistently came up as a key element that needed to be embraced to succeed. "Publishers make your content and site as user-friendly as possible," said Jennifer Farrell, director of business development, Samba TV. Per David Elkins, senior director of advertising, TripAdvisor, the top three areas of improvement should be focused on quality content, better environment, and more respect for the user. And never stop innovating. Brian O'Kelley, chief executive officer and co-founder, AppNexus, encouraged publishers to "embrace the idea of technology and continue to innovate."
Watch the video to hear more from the interviews.