IAB moves into Europe.

The only major US body devoted to promoting advertising on the internet is coming to Europe. It is not an invasion: the Americans say they simply want to firm up the growing contacts between themselves and European groups.

The only major US body devoted to promoting advertising on the

internet is coming to Europe. It is not an invasion: the Americans say

they simply want to firm up the growing contacts between themselves and

European groups.



The Internet Advertising Bureau has made its mark in the US and even if UK

marketers are not aware of its impact they have certainly benefited from

its work on upping the net’s commercial credibility and in establishing

standards. In the 18 months it has been in existence, it has signed up

more than 200 members.



Officials of the IAB met with representatives from the three main internet

marketing groups active in the UK: the Interactive Advertising Group,

comprising media owners and sales houses; the Digital Alliance, a

broad-based group of developers, web agencies, designers and

technologists; and the Digital Marketing Group, the voice of the agency

world.



There are a number of views about how to move these contacts forward.



The existing UK groups could remain independent but affiliate to the IAB,

or individual UK companies could join the IAB directly, making it - like

the US organisation - a broad-based industry group for everyone with an

interest in promoting advertising on the net, effectively replacing

something like the IAG.



To some it is a question of independence. Andy Mitchell, development

director at Ogilvy & Mather Digital Communications and founder of the

Digital Alliance, sees less of a need for a single group: ”The DA looks

not just at advertising but take a more holistic approach.



I see the need for all three to affiliate now, but less of a need for a

single body.”



The IAB itself indicated that it wanted first to form a European Advisory

Committee to drive development of a pan-European IAB organisation,

followed by the establishment of individual country chapters.



Microsoft’s international sales manager Katherine Randolph, who co-chairs

the IAB International Committee, said: ”Over the past six months we have

had increasing contact with groups in the UK and Europe - that’s why we

decided to come over. We would like to formalise these links. What we are

providing is a framework to be adopted by the local leaders if they would

like to affiliate.”



With affiliation comes access to the IAB’s achievments and the

relationships it has made.



Carol Dukes, joint managing director of Emap Online Sales, said: ”I get

the feeling that what most people are hoping for is that the IAG will turn

into something like the Radio Advertising Bureau, which is a broad-based

group that has been very successful in promoting advertising on radio.

That is what the IAB has done in the US.”



Associated Electronic Publishing is one of the few UK firms that is

already a member of the IAB. Its managing director Paul Zwillenberg

favours a group that includes all sides of the business: ”I think it is

important that everyone comes together to get critical mass.”



For Andrew Walmsley, head of digital media at Bartle Bogle Hegarty and

chairman of the Digital Marketing Group, it is simply too early to say

more than that there is scope for industry-wide co-operation.



What is clear though, says Tom Bowman, head of advertising sales at

Microsoft and an IAG founder, is that there must be some formal

relationship between the IAB and the IAG. ”Quite what that relationship

will be we don’t know.



But it would be useful if we could use what they have done and not

reinvent the wheel.”





The IAB’s achievements to date



- Creation of first banner advertising voluntary standard



- Formed Media Measurement Task Force, to create guidelines for

measurement of comparable data relating to ads



- Created, with Coopers & Lybrand, Internet Advertising the Revenue

Reporting programme - representing revenue figures from 90 per cent of

publishers generating $5,000 or more a month - Commissioned the Online

Advertising Effectiveness Survey which had over 17,000 responses.



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