In the Trenches With Adam Gelles, Director of Industry Initiatives, Interactive Advertising Bureau

Following a career in marketing and consulting, Adam took an old friend, IAB President and CEO, Greg Stuart, up on his offer to join the organization in 2002. In his IAB role, Gelles oversees all IAB council, committee and task force initiatives (there are eighteen currently) as well as guiding the group's two advisory boards. It's Adam's job not only to manage this broad swath of projects, but also to express the value of IAB efforts to the agencies, marketers and other business that will be affected by them.

What are your favorite online destinations in the a.m.?
I usually look at the Journal, The New York Times, email newsletters and Ad Age and Adweek.


What other websites do you like to visit?
I spend lot of time on CNBC. I'm intrigued by all that finance stuff....I also like golf sites. I've been learning how to play; I've been doing a lot of research around the golf stuff on sites like Golf Digest....I try to spend as much time away from the computer as I can outside of my working hours.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Managing everybody's expectations....The ability to really help people, the ability to articulate the challenges to people -- it's more art than science. I'm a giant translator.

[IAB member company executives] each has different needs and different ways of looking at the same bottle of water. Some are worried more about the container and others are worried more about the water inside. What makes [my job] an art and not a science is the ability to understand that.

What do you like best about your job; what keeps you interested?
It's very exciting because I'm in the center of the industry and I see things happening to the industry before the industry even knows about it....I learn stuff everyday.

What are you seeing emerge in the industry?
Marketers haven't utilized the full breadth of what the Internet industry can provide yet. As marketers get smarter, the way they potentially market in other media will change as well.

For example, behavioral targeting as a concept applied on a website is fairly sophisticated....Take that theory and apply it to other media, and you can see the strengths that media can have. If they can translate some of what they know to the offline world, marketers will be that much more effective and efficient.

When will true media integration take place for advertisers?
Agency communication has divided media from creative. Over time the more those departments are integrated the better the agencies will probably function. As markets get coalesced around having multimedia departments, agencies will follow suit.

What's the most divisive online policy issue right now?
Ad campaign measurement. The interesting thing is that we [IAB] are in the process of developing potentially a global spec for ad impression accounting. This is unique in that it's the first medium to have a contiguous standard for counting impressions around the world.

We're including a series of international ad serving create standards. We're working with them to include their ideas into what we're doing. There are 35 different ad servers in the U.S. -- to get them to agree to one set of definitions is clearly an uphill battle.

What's the timeline on that project?
The first step is developing final guidelines and definitions. We've been working on this project for more than nine months.

How long does a typical IAB project take to complete?
Anywhere from nine to twelve months because we spend time doing our homework, which is so very important.

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