Alongside Altitude Digital, industry leaders met in Phoenix last week at the 2015 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the advertising and publishing space. Executives from the New York Times, Kraft Foods, YouTube and more spoke about how their businesses are evolving and the accompanying hurdles.

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, technology is being tasked with solving some of the industry’s most pressing concerns and open up new opportunities in the space. Some of the technology themes that came up again and again during the three-day meeting sessions included:

Data-Driven Decision Making. 

“Everyone in the organization must be data literate,” said Lisa Donohue, CEO of Starcom USA. As more data points become available and accessible, big data is transforming everyone’s job and allowing people to make better and faster business decisions.

Bob Rupczynski, Vice President of Media and Consumer Engagement at Kraft Foods Group used the example of using search data to find that users had shifted from searching for “slow cooker recipes” to “crock pot recipes,” which allowed the brand to quickly make changes to their website to reach these users.

As this type of insight becomes more and more vital to businesses, expect to see more companies adopting cutting-edge big data technologies like Hadoop and business-friendly interfaces like Hue that enable users from all departments to access the data and use it on a day-to-day basis.

Simplifying Programmatic. 

Just as data literacy will be vital to every role within a company, understanding programmatic will be equally important for everyone in the industry. “Programmatic… is a stupid word for something very simple and important: the automation of the buying and selling of advertising, enabling data to be used to more efficiently target audiences,” said Scott Cunningham, SVP & GM of the IAB Technology Lab. The IAB is working to provide programmatic literacy tools, and is encouraging publishers, advertisers, and agencies to adopt specification standards like OpenDirect and OpenRTB in order to give consumers meaningful ad-supported experiences.

Measuring Viewability Consistently. 

If there was a hot-button issue of the meeting, viewability was it. Advertisers, publishers, and industry groups disagree on what exactly counts as a viewable impression: The Media Rating Council currently counts an impression as viewable if a minimum of 50% of pixels in view for a minimum of one second, but advertisers are pressing for more stringent standards.

On top of that, the parties disagree on what percentage of viewable impressions should be acceptable; the IAB says 70% viewability is realistic right now, but some brands and agencies argue they should only pay for impressions that are 100% viewable. A major source of this disconnect is due to the fact that the technologies currently used to measure viewability can vary widely. The IAB wants this variation to be less than 10% between vendors and will be pressing the ad tech industry in particular to make this measurement consistent.

Keeping Up With Rapid Evolution of Video. 

The video landscape is quickly evolving.

The video landscape has seen major disruptive technology in just ten years.

Perhaps no area of the industry is evolving more quickly than video. Erin McPherson, Chief Content Officer of Maker Studios, shared a graphic that showed all the disruptive technology in video that has launched just within the past 10 years, including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Vine, and Dish Network’s Sling—and the accompanying unique content offerings these innovations have provided.

As part of this, Robert Kyncl, Global Head of Content & Business Operations at YouTube, continued on these themes, talking about how the sheer quantity of video content is making audiences fragmented and harder to reach. Reaching the ideal audience will take new creative approaches and new technology to target and reach these viewers, especially as digital video continues to be one of the fastest growing advertising mediums.