April 26, 2016
The Best of Advertising Week Europe
Els De Witte, Marketing Director EMEA, OpenX
For advertisers, marketers, media agencies, and publishers, last week was all about one thing: Advertising Week Europe. In only its fourth year, this dynamic celebration of advertising has already earned a reputation for tackling the toughest industry issues, showcasing ad tech innovations, and accurately predicting the digital future.
So what insights and trends topped the agenda at this year’s event?
Inventory must improve to beat ad blocking
In an encouraging twist of the continuing ad blocking debate, it seems that focus has at last fallen upon the need to improve advertising and inventory quality. Leading industry figures in the provocatively titled panel, Ad Blocking: A new Deal or a Modern Day Protection Racket?, agreed that to dissuade users from installing blockers, publishers and advertisers must clean up the web.
Matt Braddy, former CMO at Just Eat and founder of start-up Rock Pamper Scissors, commented that, “Ad blocking is more of a problem for the publishers,” because the abundance of online inventory means it is easy for advertisers to avoid publisher sites where quality is poor. Substandard inventory and intrusive ads were condemned as the main cause of the rift between users, advertisers, and publishers.
To solve the ad blocking challenge, DDB Chief Executive, James Murphy, called for a unified, industry-wide effort to raise ad quality and improve the user experience. Although he acknowledged that there was much work to be done, Murphy argued that advertisers and publishers should be joining forces to create better standards and more engaging content.
New EU data protection laws are an opportunity for brands
The European Parliament voted to pass through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) a couple of days before Advertising Week Europe began, so it was understandably a hot topic. The laws give EU citizens more control over their personal data and any companies that do not comply may be fined up to 4% of their global turnover.
Claire Knight, head of data protection at L’Oreal, is one of the many media professionals who view the laws as an opportunity for brands to increase transparency and accountability across the industry. During the panel debate, The Data Congress, she commented that the laws are “A real opportunity to make customers aware of how brands use their data and to be honest. We don’t want to create a reaction like ad blocking again”.
Will native advertising go programmatic?
During the Native Ad Forum, industry leaders from Guardian Labs, MailOnline, Karmarama and Plista debated programmatic’s place in native advertising. With the ad format rising in popularity, Nicolas Bidon, global chief executive of Plista said he had “no doubt” that this ad format will go programmatic, as it is “the only way to process large amounts of data in real time.”
Addressing the issue of whether programmatic can deliver the custom experience of native at scale, Jamie Toward, head of media at Karmarama, said “You can make branded content that is deliverable in native programmatic that still resonates with people and makes them feel comfortable.”
So, as the thought leaders of Advertising Week place the industry on the brink of mass automation, native programmatic, and debate the ad blocking challenge, it seems the future is bright for digital advertising.