What does IAB’s director of research actually do?

In this feature, we take a look inside the working lives of people whose job titles often warrant the question: 'but what do you actually do?' This week, we speak to Gai Le Roy, director of research at IAB Australia.

What do you actually do?

Working in an industry association and leading our research programs means that I have a fabulous excuse to start my day indulging my love of consuming media.

That means that as well as trying to plough through three or four different general news sources, I will spend an hour or so before I get to work reading US trade press and listening to industry podcasts.

Once in the office my day is pretty varied, which is just the way that I like it. I will usually have at least one meeting or call with one of the IAB councils about our current projects, initiatives or just discussing issues or opportunities for the industry. Our councils each have representatives of up to 20 different organisations actively participating, so our catch ups are both challenging and engaging.

Then I follow up with another couple of meetings with IAB members, research agencies or other industry bodies, and of course I have regular catch ups with our partners at PwC and Nielsen.

The rest of the day is filled with writing reports, reviewing local and overseas research and occasionally still getting on the tools and crunching some data. I do miss having time to get lost in different data sets and looking at market trends, so when I do get a chance I love looking through audience data to work out which media organisations are gaining traction and how consumer habits are changing.

My remit covers all things research, so in any one week I can be tackling attribution models, podcast measurement, brand effectiveness research, audience measurement, ad verification, industry revenue data, viewability benchmarks and connected TV consumption.

All are critical issues for the digital advertising industry so my responsibilities are not insignificant – managing expectations from brands, agencies and ad tech vendors, challenging obstacles and generally striving to help propel the Australian digital advertising industry forward.

What does a good working day look like?

My definition of a good day is one where I have managed to help identify an industry solution that will help a range of organisations. Patience is critical in this though because these wins often involve days and months of discussion and debate and they involve a diverse and complex range of stakeholder groups. Very rarely can something be achieved overnight.

I love the process though, and while debate and differing opinions can often be challenging, it’s absolutely necessary in our constantly changing market. It also makes me really happy that so many in our industry want to collaborate and improve collectively.

I should also note that a good day will also involve me bumping into industry mates and having a laugh. I’ve worked in the digital industry for 20 years now and have some pretty strong friendships in the mix.

What does a bad working day look like?

While I may like chaos from time to time, at heart I’m a bit of a control freak. That means that while issues that arise suddenly don’t faze me anymore, when the solution is out of my control, it frustrates me. Unfortunately, the very nature of our industry means this is not an irregular occurrence.

What are your KPIs and how do you ensure you meet them?

IAB Australia is a member organisation so my main KPIs are making sure those members are served well by all the work that we do and driving the industry forward to continually improve our already industry leading independent measurement.

I also seek to champion the reputation of our industry, which involves highlighting the great things that digital advertising can do with the right oversight and assessment; and I’m always focusing on ways to improve the ecosystem.

We can’t make everyone happy of all of the time, but the work we do to deliver industry recognised standards and solutions certainly makes the IAB quite unique and certainly an essential resource for everyone in digital advertising.

What’s the most stressful part of your job?

Hands down the most stressful part is managing the 50 plus media owners who would all like to be number one in the Australian rankings at all times. I shall say no more.

Gai Le Roy is IAB’s director of research.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.