Top Insights from IAB Australia’s Ad Tech & Ops Summit

Feature Image Ad Tech Ops Summit Blog

Conversion Digital’s Social Media Team had the opportunity to attend this year’s IAB Australia’s Ad Tech & Ops Summit, a premier event that gathers industry leaders to discuss the latest advancements and trends in digital marketing. The summit offered a wealth of knowledge on pressing issues such as privacy, measurement, and transparency, highlighting how these elements can shape the future of digital advertising. From keynotes to panel sessions, the insights gained are invaluable for anyone looking to stay ahead in the dynamic field of digital marketing. Here are some key takeaways, emphasising the most relevant trends and practical strategies to use across the digital landscape.

Privacy and Measurement

Privacy and measurement was the main hot topic, focusing on protecting consumer data and ensuring transparency for the future. These discussions highlighted the dual benefits for consumers and businesses. For consumers, understanding and managing their data enhances trust and provides personalised experiences. For businesses, adopting a first-party data strategy and using AI tools ethically can improve marketing effectiveness while respecting privacy. An exciting concept introduced was Net Zero in ad tech, aiming to reduce carbon emissions. The high levels of energy consumption required for servers, data centres, and devices that enable online advertising were acknowledged, highlighting the industry’s need to minimise wastage and optimise processes.

The IAB Tech Lab’s Sustainability Working Group is collaborating with the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) and Ad Net Zero to establish the Global Media Sustainability Framework. This framework offers standardised measures to calculate greenhouse gas emissions across six major media types, aiming to provide consistent and comparable data collection methods. Supported by major advertisers, media owners, and tech companies, the framework also includes tools for data collection, disclosure forms, and voluntary monitoring templates to ensure adoption and effectiveness. This initiative aims to help advertisers and their partners understand and reduce the carbon impact of their media plans, fostering industry-wide sustainability practices.

To learn more about IAB’s Net Zero Research, click here:

Keynote Insights from Jonas Jaanimagi

Jonas Jaanimagi celebrated a decade of high standards at the IAB Tech Lab and discussed new guidelines for “Made for Advertising” (MFA) coming in June 2024. He emphasised the importance of forming relationships and associations within the industry. Jonas also highlighted critical privacy adjustments from Europe to Australia, influenced by the Digital Market Act. This Act aims to ensure that users understand why they are seeing specific ads. He outlined three core scenarios to achieve this vision, ultimately aiming for a unified supply chain that benefits all stakeholders.

Jill Wittkop on Tech Lab Developments

Jill Wittkop from the IAB Tech Lab shared insights on building technical specs for digital advertising and stressed the importance of privacy, especially in the USA. She touched on issues like cookie IDs being passed without prior agreement and tools available in the Tech Lab’s portal, such as the transparency centre and data exploration tools. Knowing the ads being served, their frequency, and ensuring brand safety were also discussed.

Strategic Insights from Ben Oliver

Ben Oliver from Splash Agency provided a comprehensive overview of implementation strategies for biddable media, trading, operations, and reporting. He stressed that the media industry has been overly focused on efficiency at the expense of other important factors. To address this, Ben emphasised the need for a more holistic approach to media principles, which involves codifying and standardising media decisions across all channels. He advocated for using traditional media metrics, rather than relying solely on hard metrics like CPC, to create a balanced and effective media strategy. By incorporating traditional metrics, businesses can better measure brand impact and long-term engagement, fostering more meaningful connections with their audience.

He introduced the Measurement Framework as a critical tool for defining how media effectiveness is measured. This framework aims to identify and fill gaps in current measurement capabilities, ensuring that all marketing efforts are tracked and evaluated accurately. Ben highlighted the importance of prioritising objectives and allocating budgets across multiple channels to create more effective campaigns. By doing so, marketers can achieve better results and a higher return on investment.

In addition to these strategic insights, Ben discussed the need for greater transparency and collaboration within the industry. He called for the establishment of standardised reporting practices and the use of advanced analytics to provide deeper insights into campaign performance. This approach not only improves efficiency but also helps in identifying the most impactful strategies and tactics.

Automation and Efficiency by Shirofune

Shirofune’s Mitsunaga Kikuchi and Steve Fogan shared their success in Japan, managing over $1 billion in annual revenue with automated bidding and budget control systems. Their platform, trusted by major companies like Dentsu and Rakuten, offers advanced features such as automated bid adjustments, performance data integration, and daily recommendations to optimise campaigns. Shirofune’s tools significantly reduce manual hours while maintaining performance levels, enabling advertisers to manage campaigns more efficiently and effectively. Their system ensures budgets are never exceeded and provides automated analysis and reporting, which helps in making informed decisions.

At Conversion Digital, we think Shirofune is fantastic and are excited about the prospect of integrating their platform into our operations. As an agency, we would greatly appreciate the reduction in manual hours that Shirofune’s automated systems offer. The ability to maintain high-performance levels while freeing up our team to focus on strategic tasks is a game-changer for us. Additionally, the automated analysis and reporting features are incredibly helpful, ensuring we make informed decisions and manage campaigns more effectively. We believe that using Shirofune will significantly enhance our efficiency and campaign management capabilities. For more information, you can visit Shirofune’s website here.

Combatting MFA Sites with Adele Wieser

Adele Wieser addressed the impact of MFA (Made-for-Advertising) sites, which waste ad budgets and produce high carbon emissions. MFA sites are characterised by low-quality content, heavy reliance on paid traffic, clickbait headlines, and intrusive ads. 

An example of an MFA site can be seen in the screenshot below, where the page is cluttered with various advertisements, including promotions for UFC events, Disney+ subscriptions, and food products. The overwhelming presence of ads detracts from the user experience and illustrates how these sites prioritise ad revenue over content quality.

MFA Site Example Insights from IAB Australias Ad Tech Ops Summit

Adele called for industry action to terminate contracts with MFA publishers, remove their ads.txt files, and exclude them from exchanges to promote quality journalism and reduce waste.

The 2024 guidelines from IAB Australia provide a clear definition of MFA sites and highlight their detrimental impact. To have a more thorough review,  you can check it out here. These sites also present significant media quality concerns, with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) reporting that 15% of programmatic spending in the US is wasted on MFA sites.

To combat these issues, advertisers are advised to leverage Private Marketplaces (PMPs) with trusted sellers, utilise supply path optimisation strategies, and regularly audit their digital advertising activities. It’s also recommended to use verification solutions to detect and block MFA sites dynamically.

By implementing these measures, the industry can reduce wastage, support genuine publishers, and improve overall campaign performance and advertising ROI.

From CTR and Cookie to Digital Marketing Maturity with Moritz Von Sanden

Moritz Von Sanden from Audience360 delivered an insightful and entertaining presentation, using the metaphor of seasons to illustrate the climate of the industry. He discussed the evolution of digital marketing from basic click-through rates to a mature approach involving privacy compliance and enhanced communication strategies. He detailed how the industry transitioned through various phases:

  • Summer: The rise of social media and digital marketing, leading to rapid growth and public interest.
  • Fall: Growing concerns about data privacy and consumer rights, prompting stricter regulations.
  • Winter: The industry’s struggle to address these concerns and adapt to new expectations. (This is where the industry is today)
  • Spring: A collaborative effort to improve practices, enhance transparency, and rebuild trust. (A new hope and objective for the industry’s future)

Moritz emphasised the importance of collaboration, integrity, and clear communication, particularly in presenting digital marketing’s value to top executives. He noted that the industry’s work often occurs in silos, making it challenging to present a unified front. By breaking down these silos and fostering better communication, digital marketers can more effectively demonstrate their contributions and drive meaningful results.

Remote Working vs. In-Office: How Are We Coping Post-Covid?

The Careers Panel titled “Remote Working vs. In the Office: How Are We Coping Post-Covid with Finding the Right Balance?” was a highlight, featuring Myf Trant (Senior Digital Ops Specialist at A&A Digital) as the moderator, along with panelists Emil Mathias (Brand & Marketing Manager at Betfair), Renee Murray (Head of People & Culture at Half Dome), Mark Thiele (Head of Media & Customer Engagement at SEEK), and Jade Watson (Head of Programmatic VIC/SA at GroupM Nexus).

The panel discussed the ongoing transition from remote work back to the office environment. Post-Covid, companies are navigating various approaches to find the right balance. Some organisations are pushing for a full return to the office, while others advocate for maintaining remote work. Many have adopted a hybrid working model to combine the benefits of both. The panellists shared insights on the challenges and successes of these different approaches, emphasising the importance of flexibility, employee well-being, and maintaining productivity.


The IAB Australia’s Ad Tech & Ops Summit provided invaluable insights into the future of digital marketing. From privacy and measurement to efficiency and automation, the discussions highlighted key trends and actionable strategies. These insights underscore the importance of staying informed and adapting to industry changes to maintain a competitive edge in digital marketing.

Implementing these strategies can significantly enhance your marketing efforts. Prioritising privacy and measurement ensures transparency and trust with your audience. Embracing automation and efficiency can streamline operations, making your campaigns more effective and resourceful. Tackling issues like MFA sites can improve the quality and ROI of your ad spend.

Additionally, understanding industry trends and adapting to new working environments can keep your team productive and engaged. As digital marketing continues to evolve, staying updated with these insights will help you navigate the challenges and seize new opportunities, driving better results in an ever-changing landscape.

Let’s work together!

Get in touch
Conversion Digital