PALM SPRINGS, Calif – After acquiring greater scale by purchasing Rodale’s global content business, Hearst still has to compete in an era when “everyone’s a content publisher” and some digital platforms are easier for advertisers to engage with than others.

It’s against this backdrop that Troy Young, Global President, Hearst Digital Media, views the ever-evolving role of the Interactive Advertising Bureau during a time of what he calls “incredible” change.

“I’m an advocate of the IAB because I think it plays an important role in the community, in education, our relationship with government,” Young says in this interview with Beet.TV at the organization’s Annual Leadership Meeting. Trying to figure out what comes next “is really complicated because marketing is so complicated right now.”

He refers to remarks by IAB President & CEO Randall Rothenberg about how “direct brands” have forged a new path, veering away from what Young describes as “industrialized communication through marketer to agency to publisher to consumer.” Now a new generation of companies is “empowered by the cloud and everything on demand to create direct relationships with consumers and sell products that people value,” he says.

“Everybody’s a content marketer right now and everybody needs close proximity to data. For a company like ours, how does that change us?”

Not that long ago, owning Hearst titles like Cosmopolitan, Country Living, ELLE and Esquire and housing them under the same roof as Rodale’s Bicycling, Men’s Health, Prevention, and Runner’s World would have meant more than adequate clout in the market. Now it’s more about speed, ease of use for advertisers and being as powerful as logging into the Facebook interface to buy ads.

“We have to react to that reality as a publisher. We define trends and understand consumers and create audiences. But we have to refactor our ad offering, essentially our market offering, to deal with the new realities,” Young says.

Hearst continues to enhance its programmatic capabilities while mapping user buyer behaviors and help brands produce content, which takes time and investment.

“We really have to listen to our customers and figure out how we can make selling a complex product much easier, because if you’re buying on Instagram it’s really easy today and I think that’s the reality we have to compete with.”

Buyers “still love our brands,” Young adds. “The buy-side loves our sophistication in creating content. “What we’re really focused on is how do we help marketers around the idea of actions. There’s no doubt that the entire market is becoming more performance oriented.”

It helps to “eat our own dog food” by creating content that “sells product and we make money doing that. We’re keenly aware of what leads to a transaction and it’s that insight that we create by doing it ourselves that we sell to marketers.”

This video is part of a series covering the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. The series is sponsored by AppNexus. Please visit this page for more coverage.