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
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
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
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.