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Survey Says: 2013 is a Winning Year for Third Parties

Only half way through 2013, and it’s already been an exciting year of firsts for the NAI. We held our first annual Member Summit. We released the first draft of a mobile code for cross-app data collection, which we’ll finalize in the coming weeks. We also conducted our first annual member survey, and our members’ responses helped to shape the productive conversations and debates that made our Summit so successful.

Not surprisingly, the principal concerns for members at the beginning of the year were regulatory pressure (i.e. Do Not Track and FTC/AG enforcement), technical developments (i.e. new browser controls, cookie/ad blocking), and building technical solutions to the potential challenges that these changes may impose on third parties. We explored each of these topics in depth at the Summit.  We also discussed the critical importance of online privacy, user choice, and consumer trust.  As illustrated by our recent advocacy at W3C, NAI is engaged in every debate and discussion around these issues, representing the voice and championing the value of the third-party online advertising ecosystem.

The value of the third-party community is underscored by the health and growth that our members are experiencing. Despite the challenges and concerns facing third parties, despite even the state of the U.S. economy over the past few years, our survey results revealed that third-party advertising is thriving. A whopping 90% of NAI member companies that participated in the survey are hiring new employees right now. Of the companies that responded, 90% increased employees in 2012 - with the majority expanding their number of employees by over 25%. Further, 86% are projecting even more growth in 2013.  We intend to keep it this way – supporting innovation and growth while ensuring that our members honor high standards for data collection and use.

Importantly, NAI members understand the critical role of industry self-regulation even though compliance with our standards is not always easy. We are honored that over 90% of our members would recommend NAI membership to another company in the field. We are proud of the benefits that our members said they value most: credibility, clarity on standards, and the effectiveness of our hallmark compliance program.

We will continue to provide these benefits.  And we are committed to continuing to tackle and solve the challenges that lie ahead.

For now, I’ll leave you with the winning entry in our contest: “What is the value of third parties?”

“Third-parties pay for the free Internet.  They operate as a free market, giving advertisers the greatest value for their media spend, consumers the most relevant offerings, and publishers the greatest site-building revenue.  Anyone can operate - and innovate - serving a critical role in keeping the giants from dominating the market or ‘being evil.’  Politically and economically neutral self-regulation balances privacy and value, and drives an eCommerce future that is driven by consumer needs: those clearly expressed as well as the unarticulated.  To fetter ethical third-party advertising is to step backward toward oligopoly and reduced quantity and quality of content.”

 --Will Clayton, TruEffect