Interactive Advertising Bureau
12 December 2019

2020 Trends - IAB Europe Programmatic Trading Committee

Members of IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee have put together their top predictions and trends for 2020. From predicting a cookie-less christmas to TV manufacturers owning the Connected TV opportunity, take a look at what the committee have to say on where programmatic will go in 2020.

David Goddard,  Chair of the IAB Europe Programmatic Trading Committee and Senior Director,  Business Development, EMEA, DoubleVerify

Advertisers’ appetite for Connected TV advertising inventory is at an all time high, so 2020 will be a year of growth. Naturally, CTV’s high value inventory will be targeted by fraudsters, thus we expect Ad fraud in this emerging environment to increase in volume and sophistication into 2020. We also anticipate progress in standardization that will facilitate consistent quality measurement – including viewability and brand safety – across CTV platforms and providers.

The growth, or re-emergence of contextual targeting will happen in 2020, as advertisers attempt to reach users in a post-GDPR world. With increased scrutiny and regulation around consumer privacy on the Internet, targeting audiences based on user data is becoming problematic for global brands. In response, contextual targeting at scale and publishers’ ability to package inventory in line with advertisers’ brand safety requirements, will become increasingly important.

2020 will bring Improved measurement to digital audio, that in-turn will lead to growth. Digital Audio is not a new concept, but as it grows, it is causing a shift-change in the advertising landscape. From streaming our favourite music to listening to the latest podcast, the additive nature of audio enables advertisers to avoid the fierce battle for the consumer’s screen and reach a highly engaged, captive audience. Despite these benefits, Audio is not being measured equally,  making it hard to compare to the wider mediamix. In addition to measurement, greater quantity and variety of content will naturally increase brand safety concerns, meaning the need for quality authentication will grow, especially as more inventory becomes available both directly and programmatically

Léon Siotis. President of Europe, SpotX

2020 is the year we will see device manufacturers make sustainable claims in the TV advertising markets across Europe. In the past few years, we have seen the impact this group of companies have made in the U.S. and now we can expect to see similar strategies take hold here. Samsung’s ad-supported TV Plus proposition is now available in select European countries with plans to expand on this in 2020, while Roku inked their first European integrated TV OS partnership with Hisense, and Rakuten and Xumo have both struck their own integrated European partnerships with various manufacturers.

The integrated nature of these new offerings delivers a more seamless viewing experience, enabling video producers to discover new audiences for their content. Endemol has announced three channels for Samsung Plus and we expect to see many more launching across the various manufacturers in the new year. This will drive the entire category forward with advertisers and brands benefitting from the continuation of the popular big screen experience now coupled with unique data opportunities.

Not to be outdone, traditional broadcasters will continue to invest and see growth in their direct-to-consumer over-the-top (OTT) services. Sports has always been the biggest driver of live OTT viewing and the segment returns with a vengeance in 2020 with both the Euros and the Olympics. We expect to see record numbers of viewers watching these events across the various broadcaster apps, presenting a huge opportunity for them to deliver tailored advertising using server-side-ad-insertion (SSAI).

Akshay Bhattacharjee, Programmatic Solutions Specialist CEE & Nordics, Integral Ad Science

The Transparency Challenges of Programmatic

2019 saw greater demand from the buy side to have transparency into the quality of traffic coming from the sell side. This has on one hand created positive ripples, resulting in a better educated industry who are more up to date on fraud, brand safety and brand suitability and the impact these factors can have on the effectiveness of digital advertising. Brands and Agencies are also demanding this quality traffic by opting to collaborate with publishers and SSPs that are verified by third parties, such as Integral Ad Science, who can ensure humans, not bots, are viewing their ads. But whilst this level of awareness and industry knowledge will continue to grow in 2020, the sell side is likely to remain slow to full unveil the full blue print behind how their inventory is bought and sold.Hence, the Buzzword for 2020 would be Transparency.

Szymon Pruszyński, Head of Global Communication, Yieldbird

Next year will surely be full of changes and new exciting opportunities in the digital advertising industry for brands looking to reach their audience. As we are mostly focused on programmatic part of it we are very eager to see what will be the future of the third party cookie after Google will implement the announced changes on the Chrome browser level. We are expecting it will not create as many difficulties for the industry as changes on Safari and Mozilla did in the past few years, but it should give an opportunity for couple new companies to come up with new useful products and solutions, and it will require both advertisers and publishers to adjust their advertising strategies. The buzzword for 2020 can surely be context, as without vast recognition of users in the internet proper context can be much more significant to introduce brands to their proper target groups.

John Wittesaele, CEO, EMEA, Xaxis

As an industry we are seeing a growing consensus that traditional measurement metrics such as click-through-rates (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) are out-dated and misleading – making it hard to justify the case for an increase in digital advertising budgets. To ensure advertising is measured effectively and directed towards tangible business objectives, marketers will need to look further into newer measurement techniques, customisation and optimising creativity. Therefore as we look ahead to 2020 and beyond to the next decade, the buzzword will be ‘outcomes’.

By focusing on desired business goals via outcomes, advertising can provide value, which is cost efficient and profitable, all while improving the consumer experience through relevance and personalisation.

Ben Geach, Senior Director, Global Product Strategy, Oracle Data Cloud

Top Prediction for Programmatic in 2020 - Finally, the death of keyword & domain blacklists in media buying

Brand safety means different things to different brands, and while blacklists have proved effective, but as more inventory goes programmatic, a more nuanced, custom approach is necessary. So in 2020, we will start to see the demise of the traditional keyword blacklist in favor of a shift to dynamic, custom brand suitability.

Brand suitability will ensure advertisers get access to more premium inventory that better aligns with their brand, and more control of their ad spend. Meanwhile, publishers will benefit from an increase in scale and a more complete match of their high-value inventory to advertisers.

Most impactful disruptor for 2020 - Insights fueling creative

Somewhere along the way, we forgot about the need to create exceptional advertising that connects with people on a human level. As the industry corrects itself, we will see brands and advertisers disrupt by way of leveraging the insights and data at their disposal to fuel creative.

For example, insights available through contextual intelligence technology reveal how content trends shift over time, when people are engaging with content, and when they are in certain mindsets. All this will be used to fuel the creative process and allow marketers to understand the ads that are drawing the most attention, what messages are connecting with audiences, and how people are taking action because of it. 

James Prudhomme, Executive Vice President, International, Index Exchange

There’s a shift taking place in our industry, particularly as third-party cookies disappear from browsers. Earlier this fall, when Firefox made the decision to block all third-party cookies by default, both publishers and buyers felt that impact almost immediately (particularly in Germany, where the browser has greater market share). Publishers’ revenue took a hit, and buyers’ bid rates were down by as much as 40%.

It’s challenging in the short term, but long-term, we think the loss of cookies is going to move our industry to a more people-based, deterministic advertising model. Ultimately, this change will create greater opportunities for premium and trusted publishers, buyers, and tech providers across the open web.

The key is to focus on the end-user and build Identity and people-based solutions with them in mind. Looking at the market right now, it’s clear what matters to users — they want more control over their data and a clearer understanding of how the internet is using that information. If your focus is on the user and how to earn their trust — as ours is — solutions built around deterministic, first-party data become the clearest path forward. That, we believe, will be the future of programmatic trading.

Kofi Amoako – VP of Customer Success & Operations, Pubmatic

Identity is the hot topic coming out of Dmexco. It was part of many conversations and an ask both from the buy side and the publisher side.

The challenges presented by the cookie crumbling also present an opportunity for increased innovation and collaboration between publishers and independent tech providers. Publishers are forming alliances to enable contextual targeting at scale across their collective properties. Industry consortiums like NetID* and ID5* are providing identity alternatives. And we are seeing more willingness among publishers and tech providers alike to work together more closely to counter the duopoly and cookie threat.

The pending death of the third-party cookie will most assuredly lead to new identity tools that will disrupt the display market in 2020. It remains to be seen which of the emerging solutions will achieve the scale needed to compete with the walled gardens to deliver advertisers with the ROI they need.

Lisa Kalyuzhny, Senior Director, Ad Solutions of EMEA, Pubmatic

The year of mobile – According to our latest research, massive growth in mobile ad spend can be attributed to the amount of time users are spending on their devices (vs. desktop) and the emergence of new formats like video. These changes have led to an evolution in programmatic buying in both developed and emerging global markets. Mobile ad platform spending continued to grow aggressively in Q3, rising 28% over last quarter, while desktop ad platform spending declined slightly over the same period.

For 2020 and beyond, brands should expect to see marked improvements in quality and transparency of in-app media environments with the adoption of OM-SDK as well as the evolution of KPIs and benchmarks, enabling marketers to reach target audiences at scale, across platforms, in a brand safe manner.  Additionally, header bidding technology will see more investment from app developers looking to take advantage of the advancements in media monetization already broadly adopted by the web publishers.

Phil Eligio, Head of Advertising, Adevinta

Overall, I will be excited to see programmatic trading continue to mature and become known as a sophisticated, clean and effective way of helping monetise the publisher relationship with its audience fairly, in order to drive further investment in organisations providing valuable news, information and other services to the community.

Key predictions for Programmatic Trading in 2020:

- Open Bidding vs Amazon TAM vs Prebid server as the solution for server-side third-party demand management will be stress tested. At least one will become known as the 'also ran'.

- Different approaches on the second-party data at scale will pop up to cover part of the need for programmatic trading addressability. Expect a larger range of 'data marketplace' options to arise and let themselves be known.

- The 'Identity' discussion will shift significantly, and will be augmented by external factors (browsers, regulation, etc.). Which of the current approaches to Identity are yet another hack with limited shelf life?

- A supply-driven solution for trading scale across legacy digital publishers will be an urgent need. A data and/or technology layer will be a base requirement, and successful scalability of that component will have a big role in any alliances' success.

- There will be more companies that exit the market as regulations in the space mature and browsers evolve

The 2020 buzzword for programmatic trading could well be 'addressability'.

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