Advertising Week 2015: Celebrate Competition & Content Diversity Made Possible by Responsible IBA

September 22, 2015

In our attention economy - where marketers compete for the attention of consumers - I'm struck how data collection for interest-based advertising (IBA) enables support for a wide range of small publishers and niche content providers, some of whom derive most or all of their income from ad network-supplied IBA. Without IBA, much less advertising in general, these entities could not survive.

Among all the parts of our advertising ecosystem we honor and recognize during Advertising Week 2015, I'd like to toast these startups and small businesses which are thankfully among us.

The "long tail" of companies on the Internet, and the impact they have on both competition in the marketplace and the diversity of user content they create, cannot be discounted or ignored. Were the long tail to be undermined economically, it would be a travesty for small business and consumers alike. Who would help you with BBQ recipes, or travel deals, or DIY projects, or the copious amount of bicycling research I like to do - just to think of some of niche content sites I use?

Why IBA is so vital to small publishers is precisely because of the niche content many of these publishers provide: these sites could never command attention to sell ads directly to brands, yet much of their content is so specific to one subject matter or another, they deliver to brands a highly qualified audience of engaged users. Ads are seen on these thousands of sites - and because of responsible data collection, they are the right message to the right audience at the right time.

Enter the Digital Advertising Alliance. According to Kyle McCarthy, co-founder and editor, Family Travel Forum, who was a featured speaker at our Summit 2015 event earlier this year, she depends on DAA Principles, the Your Ad Choices icon, and our consumer choice tools (Consumer Choice Page, both for desktop and mobile Web, and AppChoices application) to help ensure that her visitors are afforded the privacy tools the DAA makes available in the market, through the hundreds of companies that are DAA participants.

I truly believe these two attributes of the Net - competition and diversity of content - too often are overlooked or taken for granted. They are both under threat when responsible data collection and advertising are challenged.

DAA provides the transparency and control that consumers demand and crave - while enabling more relevant engagement with brands. This is how the long tail of the Internet gets financed, just as other innovations in the digital and mobile world are delivered, through ad funding - where the smarter the ad, the larger the premium paid.

As we enter Advertising Week 2015, I cannot think of a better way to celebrate advertising than to pay tribute to the small publishers who are making a profound difference in our Internet economy. Here's to you!

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