The Big Takeaways from IAB ALM 2023

By Ashley Kaczmar • February 2, 2023

As a whole, the advertising industry is in flux. Changes in privacy regulations, changes in technologies, changes in how people consume media—everything is in transition. 

So how do we stay relevant in this everchanging state of the industry? That was the underlying topic of every conversation at the 2023 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM). Leading experts banded together to discuss the realities of today’s media landscape and how, together, we can rally to problem-solve and meet these new demands. 

KERV’s leadership team jetted off to sunny Florida to mingle with fellow industry leaders and listen to what the experts had to say about the current state of advertising. Here are the big takeaways they gleaned from this year’s IAB ALM.

  • Data clean rooms and the trend towards cleaning up the digital ad supply chain is real
  • Case studies say that context matters when it comes to serving ads
  • Streaming will continue to change the way consumers engage with ads

Clean rooms are sweeping the industry

In the face of stricter privacy laws, the ability for advertisers and publishers to collect, store and analyze shared data has taken a severe hit. And the stronger the push for privacy becomes, the higher walled gardens become.

“Now, you could—and many have—synthesize all these separate data sets to find correlations, but it requires a significant amount of heavy lifting to do. In the long run, it’s not sustainable,” said Marika Roque, COO and Chief Innovation Officer of KERV. 

That’s where data clean rooms come in. And according to experts at IAB ALM, they’re poised to take off.

What’s a data clean room? 

Google was one of the first to offer a data clean room. Essentially, it’s where these walled gardens (Google, Facebook, etc.) share aggregated data with advertisers, instead of customer-level. Advertisers then take their own first-party data and see how the data sets match up.

From conversations at the conference, the consensus seems to be that there are three core use cases for data clean rooms:

  • Audience insights and segmentation
  • Audience modeling and activation
  • Measurement and attribution

We’re still in the early stages of adoption with data clean rooms, and there’s a lot of work needed to standardize the practice. Those that optimize towards quality, transparency and simplicity will come out on top.

It’s all about the context

Contextual had its minute of fame back in the day. Then, like the 80s one-hit wonder “Come on Eileen,” it faded. And again, just like 80s one-hit wonder “Come on Eileen,” contextual is seeing a resurgence in popularity. 

In fact, prominent players in publishing shared case studies during IAB ALM 2023 that showed that fewer ads per page—that are contextually targeted—are outperforming ads using third-party audience targeting. 

“Consumers are ad-fatigued. To catch their attention we need to think deeper about the experiences we offer them. By leaning into contextual advertising, advertisers and publishers can provide more relevant and impactful content. It’s a win-win-win,” said Jay Wolff, CRO of KERV.

Give consumers what they want

The way people consume has changed substantially. And we’re not just talking about media (did you know that streaming accounted for 36.9% of US time spent with TV as of September 2022?). A year or so in lockdown means that online shopping saw a jump in adoption—and while people are back in physical stores, the consumer journey will never be the same. 

With things like #tiktokmademebuyit taking off, brands and advertisers are keenly aware that any moment of exposure, even for just 10 seconds, can result in a purchase. 

Have you connected the dots yet? Do you see where we’re headed? We’ll give you a hint: Where else does this “just saw it, gotta have it” feeling emerge for consumers? 


“You’ve had that moment. You’re watching your favorite show on your favorite streaming platform and you pause because you’ve seen a product you just have to buy. With the right technologies in place, the future of shopping is television,” said Gary Mittman, CEO of KERV.

That’s exactly what Jeremi Gorman, President of Netflix Advertising Worldwide pointed to during the conference, stating, “I was watching a Modern Family show and I saw a chandelier, I tried to find it. Wouldn’t it be great if it was a simple process to buy right off the show?”

Eventually, as the industry continues to innovate, consumers will be able to purchase from their television as easily as they do on social platforms, like TikTok. Luckily, there are some good AI/ML-driven image recognition technologies out there that can bridge those gaps. 

“And looking beyond the TV screen, the industry will need to continue to adapt as we prepare for Web 3. The same way we’re innovating now thanks to streaming, we’ll need to be mindful of innovation for the next generation of the internet,” said Mike Fleischman, CFO of KERV

There you go—the big hits from IAB ALM 2023! Do you feel like you were there? We hope so. 
We’re always eager to share the trends and insights we see going on in the industry. If you’d like to stay ahead of the KERV curve with us, contact us today to learn more.

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