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2017 IAB Digital Summit celebrates a turning point for digital

We have reached a critical juncture for digital, both locally and globally. Digital has evolved from one aspect of the media mix to a powerful, pervasive medium with an influence that cannot be ignored.
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The PwC Media Outlook for 2016-2020 shows that mobile access has impacted several billion people in less than five years. In comparison to the 20m people impacted over 60 years by the industrial revolution, it is clear that digital is the driver for rapid change in human history. This is an exciting time, and an opportunity for publishers, brands and agencies to collaborate to create a digital landscape that is fair, measurable and constructive.

As an industry, we need to address challenges such as disparate measurement statistics, fake news and bots in order to collaborate effectively. For example, brands and agencies need a deeper layer of accountability from publishers – not only that their news is true and accurate, but that their digital advertising has been placed on an appropriate platform that reflects their values.

Digital reporting needs to strive for more nuance and insight. There has to be real engagement with publishers, audience and advertisers – across all forms of measurement, and across all platforms. At the IAB, these issues, and the solutions to them, are critical.

This is where conferences like the IAB Digital Summit, powered by Accenture Interactive, are so valuable. As the IAB, we leverage our global network, attend conferences across the globe, conduct key research and invite the best speakers in the digital community, all to distill this insight in a manner that is relevant to the South African market. This exposure to global trends allows us to innovate in our local context.

Local insight

That being said, local insight is a core focus of this year’s Summit. South Africa has always been known for the strength of its creative sector and its world-class talent. We face separate challenges to the traditional digital market, which enables us to play with best practice and make it better. We are leaders in mobile, as it is one of the dominant channels used in the country.

However, our industry still has some major elements to improve on. As the IAB, we are acutely aware that the industry needs to actively transform from an agency, brand and publisher perspective. This not only applies to the diversity of the industry, but to the content that our industry produces. We have been working hard to implement several initiatives to drive transformation, all of which will be announced at the IAB Digital Summit.

The IAB Digital Summit is relevant to every brand, publisher, agency and creative in South Africa. As media houses cut staff and businesses grapple with the new consumer, one trend remains clear: digital is central to the new media ecosystem, and every industry leader needs to understand it.

About Chris Borain

Chairman of the IAB SA

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