Catching Up With OMMA Behavioral

It has been a couple of weeks since we convened in San Francisco for OMMA Behavioral West 2010. It was a successful show all around, I thought, with some strong insights and arguments from our keynoters and panelists and a good deal of discourse from the audience as well. A number of people have asked about accessing the content, especially presentations. Let me highlight some of the key moments and direct you to resources now available online.

Quentin George of Interpublic kicked off the show with a fascinating exploration of the emerging semantic Web as it relates to marketing. Semantic Web is one of those terms often tossed about and rarely explained. I thought George did a good job of laying out the notion that as our data becomes more interconnected it will allow the user to access information based on its personal relevance to your interests and situation. George admits the notion is difficult to explain but suggests we imagine Amazon's if-you-like-that-then-you-might-like-this model writ large to encompass all aspects of our lives. Imagine looking for a "cool vacation" and the search engine knows who you are and what you consider cool and even affordable. His "Web 3.0" will be "about meaning" -- which means intelligent shopping engines as well as decision engines that interpret the meaning of queries based on highly personalized histories.



While we don't have the presentation slides on this keynote, the video stream is well worth reviewing. There is an audacious vision at the center of the semantic Web idea -- that the Internet becomes a brain-like entity that truly starts working both for consumer and marketer more like a computer than like a database.

Chip Hall, head of buyer development for Google's DoubleClick Ad Exchange, helped unravel another trendy and confusing model for many: real-time bidding. Both video of Hall's presentation and the slides themselves are available. I thought one of the more compelling parts of the presentation involved both the added value third-party data was bringing to ads, as well as some nice demos of the ways in which real-time data merged with dynamic ad creation. Hall showed some instances of ads in which the headlines and product images were keyed in with local weather, where the local stores could be accessed by IP information and the user's previous behaviors could target the call to action.

The set of slides I think most people in the industry will want to peruse is the deck where Colin O'Malley of Better Advertising showed off the coming implementations of the privacy icons and messaging that will be part of the upcoming industry self-regulatory campaign.

The coalition of advertising associations (AAA, ANA, BBB, DMA and IAB) is about to deploy the long-promised set of standardized "Power I" icons that will accompany many ads and eventually Web sites. Better Advertising is being tasked with implementing the back-end verification system that will ensure the tracking technologies advertisers and publishers use are obeying the self-regulatory guidelines and offering consumers the ability to opt out easily. O'Malley showed how the icons will be delivered atop all ads that track user behaviors. What is of special interest here, I think, is the creative that they will work with. The icon will drop down an overlay that will offer click-through opportunities to explain what data the advertiser is tracking, an explanation of "interest-based" advertising, and opt-out options.

The click-through page identifies the data collectors involved in the ad and uses the Better Advertising database of providers to explain who the collector is and how they will use the data. While the explanations in these examples seem clearer to me than the blurbs we now get at the NAI opt-out site, I'm still not sure most consumers will be able to traverse even the simplified explanations of what is going on in the background of their surfing behavior.

Better Advertising is projecting a late Q4 rollout for this model. Considering all of the pointed questioning going on in Washington over privacy and third-party data, it is an open question whether self-regulation will be too little too late. Today MediaPost's Wendy Davis reports that this past week's article on digital privacy in The Wall Street Journal has only fanned the flames of lawmakers' concerns. Representatives Ed Markey and Joe Barton have called in some of the leading Web publishers to explain how they are allowing third parties to collect data on visitors.

How interesting that the first two keynotes at last month's OMMA Behavioral, one on the semantic Web and the other on real-time bidding, could both be made moot if the plan in the third keynote for industry self-regulation, doesn't convince consumers, regulators and legislators that users are being protected.

Videos and links to presentations from the July show are available now at the OMMA Behavioral show page. Simply scroll down the embedded menu of UStream feeds to find videos for each panel.

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