No doubt about it: 2009 was a rough year for the U.S. economy, and for the advertising and media industries. But if the year began with uncertainty, it’s ending on some bright notes at the Interactive Advertising Bureau and our member companies—and with optimism about 2010.

IAB closes the year with a significant legacy of accomplishment. From sold-out events like the MIXX Conference & Expo to new, groundbreaking research such as our “Building Brands Online” study to the creation of mission-critical standards and guidelines to fending off adverse legislation through active lobbying efforts in Washington, the IAB kept focused on facilitating the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace. Perhaps more important than these tangible products and events was the softer impact we had on the culture of marketing-media ecosystem.

In 2009, IAB led the call for a renaissance in interactive advertising creativity. Just as the industry has transformed society through remarkable technological innovations, we can unleash interactive media’s potential to serve as a common ground for fabulous, effective, business-building advertising. 

The IAB heads into 2010 with a substantive agenda we believe will reinforce interactive advertising’s centrality to marketers’ needs. Aided by our members’ commitment to continuing innovation, we’re devoting our efforts to shifting increasing share of marketers’ spend to interactive media. And the IAB will continue to deliver the platforms, tools, resources and knowledge necessary to grow the interactive advertising ecosystem.

Below, we outline some of the year’s highlights. To learn more visit

Public Policy
  • Collaborated with the AAAA, the ANA, the DMA and the Council of Better Business Bureaus to develop and release enhanced, industry-wide self-regulatory principles for online behavioral advertising, addressing privacy concerns and increasing consumers’ trust and confidence. The seven principles make up one of the most comprehensive self-regulation programs ever undertaken by the business community
  • Worked with the same industry groups to leverage the development of the seven principles and form a framework for building an industry-wide self-regulation infrastructure that is transparent, flexible and responsive to consumers’ needs and concerns. The program—expected to be implemented in early 2010—will employ accountability programs to promote widespread adoption of the seven principles
  • Launched “Privacy Matters,” the first-ever IAB education campaign aimed at consumers and providing them with resources and tools to help them manage their privacy online and to demystify key online advertising practices. “Privacy Matters” is continuing to run into 2010 across a broad cross section of top-tier online media outlets
  • Hosted first-of-its kind Long Tail Alliance Fly-In to Washington, D.C., mobilizing Long Tail web publishers from 25 Congressional districts and 13 U.S. states to explain to members of Congress the importance of the advertising-supported Internet for empowering small business growth in America
  • Established that the ad-supported Internet contributes $300 billion to the U.S. economy and has created 3.1 million U.S. jobs—spread across all congressional districts—by commissioning “The Economic Value of the Advertising-Supported Internet Ecosystem,” a study produced by Harvard Business School professors John Deighton and John Quelch, along with Cambridge, MA-based Hamilton Consultants. The study was released at the Long Tail Alliance press conference in June in Washington, DC and has since been widely quoted
  • Lobbied extensively and successfully against several proposals—including the FTC Reauthorization Act—that would grant broad new enforcement and regulatory rulemaking powers to the Federal Trade Commission
  • Testified before the Food and Drug Administration, espousing the need for greater certainty in the regulatory space in order to allow the pharmaceutical marketing segment to increase its online ad spending
  • Called on the FTC, through an open letter from Randall Rothenberg, to withdraw enforcement guidelines issued on October 5 regarding the endorsements and testimonials of bloggers and other participants in social media, questioning the constitutionality of potentially broad new enforcement actions against bloggers
  • Consulted with the FTC and participated in “The Future of Journalism” and “Privacy Roundtable”  events, helping to develop programming of a thought-provoking panel representing new media and providing insights on the future of privacy policy
  • The IAB PAC had an active year supporting many key Congressional champions of the interactive advertising industry and was able to host the first ever IAB fundraiser.  The PAC begins 2010 with a healthy balance of over $50,0000 cash on hand.
Marketplace Improvements
  • Solved one of the industry’s biggest business challenges by releasing “4A’s/IAB Standard Terms and Conditions for Interactive Advertising Version 3.0” for public comment. This new model contract, the first in seven years, represents a significant reduction in supply chain friction. The time it will take to finalize and sign IOs will drop sharply due to the strong teamwork between our membership and the agency families. Collectively, companies will save millions of dollars in labor costs. This advancement encompasses the breadth of advertising platforms and tools that are currently utilized in the creation of a campaign and will become the standard by which media companies and agencies or advertisers expedite the most common types of interactive media buys
  • Released the “Ad Unit Guidelines 2009 Update,” for the first time including insights from creative agencies and opening the door for “rising stars” which may ultimately become standard ad units if and when they meet the quantitative requirements for adoption and marketplace impressions
  • To infuse the agency point of view more fully into guidelines work and drive forward the importance of premium online experiences with audience as the first priority, formed an Advertising Agency Advisory Board comprised of senior executives from leading creative, digital and media agencies
  • Brought together top talent—online publishers, media agencies and, for the first time, voices from creative agencies—to form the Re-Imagining Interactive Advertising Task Force, charged with developing a comprehensive roadmap for the evolution of interactive advertising to ensure that ad formats meet growing business and creative needs
  • Significantly prosecuted the war on discrepancies by developing real tools and tactics—including the Impression Exchange Solution, E-Business Interactive Standards and Ad Load Performance Scoring Tool—that take cost out of the buying and selling process
  • Helped publishers drive revenue from email by providing practical advice and the latest thinking across a broad spectrum of tactics that impact the success of email campaigns in “Email Monetization Strategies”
  • Developed a framework for monitoring security vulnerabilities, threats and potential fraud in the Online Lead Generation: Data Security Best Practices, a guide that ensures the safety and security of consumers’ personally identifiable information
  • Provided clarity and consistency on two core metrics critical to transacting online advertising, audience reach and clicks, by issuing guidelines for the measurement of each. The IAB Audience Reach Measurement Guidelines make it possible for both panel and web analytics based reach measurement to conform to common definitions and consistent standards of development
  • Recognized, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! for being the first organizations to pass audits for the IAB’s Click Measurement Guidelines which establish parameters for the accurate buying and selling of cost-per-click advertising
  • Published the first-ever IAB Mobile Buyers Guide, literally a handbook for buyers to use as they develop and execute meaningful mobile campaigns
  • Released In-Game Ad Measurement Guidelines, which define an ad impression on the games platform and how it is measured
  • As a result of work done by the IAB’s Social Media Committee, released two white papers that provide deep understanding of how social media works. Social Media Ad Metrics Definitions is a compendium of commonly used metrics in the space. Social Advertising Best Practices provides prescriptive information on ad formats with social features in order to enhance industry understanding of ways to leverage this emerging and evolving platform
  • Combined the resources of the Online Marketing Summit (OMS) and the IAB Local Committee to help educate marketers and agencies in 12 markets on the benefits of leveraging interactive advertising to reach local audiences
  • Addressed one of the biggest issues facing the interactive advertising industry—data ownership—by launching a task force comprised of stakeholders from web publishers, portals, search engines and networks and exchanges to find answers.
  • Released Video Player–Ad Interface Definition Guidelines (VPAID), improving the clarity of digital video measurement and advancing an ongoing strategy to simplify the buying and selling of digital video media by building a strong foundational infrastructure
  • Introduced “VAST 2.0”, an update to the Digital Video Ad Serving Template to standardize the communication protocol between video players and servers, helping to resolve the friction of divergent technologies and systems
Measurement & Research
  • Divulged a wealth of insights into how brand marketers perceive online media and what the marketers would like to see media companies do for them by releasing “Building Brands Online,” a study by Bain & Company. The report, which was presented in New York at an invitation-only event attended by senior marketing, advertising and media industry executives, defined a six-step path forward for online media companies to compete more effectively for brand dollars
  • Launched the inaugural edition of IAB Metrics Blog to invite dialogue, leadership and transparency on the industry’s measurement challenges
  • Advanced sellers’ understanding of metrics by designing measurement education courses specific to the challenge, Metrics 101: Understanding Audience, Closing the Deal with Data: Using Measurement to Sell and Ad Effectiveness 101: How and When to Measure the Efficacy of Digital Campaigns
Member Services & Professional Development
  • Successfully recruited and retained member organizations despite challenging economic times. Welcomed 104 new general and associate members over the course of the year
  • Launched the IAB Certificate in Interactive Advertising, developing 13 professional development courses that where delivered more than 22 times and provided more than 500 publishing, marketing and advertising agency professionals the key skills and competencies they need for success. Sessions showcased members’ expertise by featuring them as instructors
  • In response to industry demand, formed an IAB Audio Committee and Interactive TV Committee to tackle key areas within those marketplaces
  • Took on 89 small publishers as part of the IAB’s Long Tail Alliance, a new membership category that gives a voice to small businesses reliant on the ad-supported Internet for survival
  • Expanded the webinar program to share the latest industry trends, research and best practices with more than 500 professionals interested in growing their interactive advertising knowledge base
  • Kept members abreast of Professional Development and webinars curricula, partnership discounts and more by creating a new electronic newsletter geared specifically to member needs
  • Recognized individuals and organizations that exemplified outstanding leadership and performance with the IAB Sales and Service Excellence Awards, presented at the Annual Leadership Meeting in Orlando, FL
Thought Leadership & Industry Education
  • Confirmed the IAB’s standing as the convening voice for interactive thought leadership by enlisting advertising’s brightest minds to advance the conversation on the industry’s biggest issues—across a total of 25 events that attracted 4,748 brand marketers, advertising agency executives and publishers for education and unparalleled networking opportunities
  • Engaged more than 500 industry principals at the sold-out IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Orlando, FL. Speakers at Ecosystem 2.0: Brands Battle Back included major players in the interactive industry—Michael Mendenhall, David Rosenblatt, Joanne Bradford and more
  • Produced a powerful MIXX Conference & Expo—selling out earlier than ever before—with more than 2,400 registered attendees and an outstanding line-up of expert presenters around the theme of Fueling the Creative Revolution in Interactive Advertising and including Tim Armstrong, Nikesh Arora, Bob Greenberg, Ashton Kutcher, Ann Lewnes, Yusuf Mehdi, Elisa Steele and others
  • Celebrated creativity by recognizing groundbreaking digital work, and the brand marketers and agencies that successfully achieved innovation and impact, by awarding 49 campaigns in 17 categories with coveted MIXX Awards
  • Hosted 5 one-day conferences that educated attendees about digital video, social media, games, mobile and ad operations
  • Delivered the IAB Interactive Boot Camp for Senior Marketers to brand marketers from a leading technology provider and launched the IAB Interactive Boot Camp for Creative Agencies with executives from a top-tier advertising firm
  • Increased press coverage 98% year-over-year from November 08 to November 09, showcasing the evolution, reach and effectiveness of interactive advertising, building consistent buzz about the industry
  • Advanced as a central industry resource, increasing the number of unique visitors 22% over 2008 and total page views by 8.5%, by providing additional multiplatform thought leadership from high level industry executives, a streamlined research section, expanded video coverage and more