NEW YORK: There is no doubt that technology underpins digital advertising, but the most successful companies in this omnichannel age will be those that concentrate on superior content, a leading industry figure has argued.

Writing in Adweek on the day the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) started its 2015 Annual Leadership Meeting, IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg said superior content will emerge as the "ultimate competitive differentiator".

This will happen in the not too distant future once the industry's "mania" with technology quietens down, he stated, likening superior content to a welcome gift.

"It's easy to forget that without captivating content to wrap itself around, advertising is like opening a present… only to find an empty box," he said.

"Ads best find their home near content that serves the needs, passions and curiosities of consumers, which in turn should inspire advertisers to find ways to elevate their own conversations with consumers," he added.

Consumers should be drawn in "routinely and repeatedly" by superior content, Rothenberg said, citing Netflix's House of Cards and Transparent, the new Amazon show, as examples of how intriguing content can come from far outside the traditional network TV structure.

Similarly, Google has made it clear that its new algorithms will reward those who produce "authentic, engaging content that is also valued by others", he warned those who prefer to concentrate on big data and viewability metrics.

"It is only when freely available standards are established that new forms of media—the TV sitcom, the glossy magazine or digital music distribution—can thrive.

"We believe this state of efficient ubiquity is coming sooner than most people think, which is why industry executives need to focus more intently on content."

Data sourced from Adweek; additional content by Warc staff