Interactive Advertising Bureau
12 December 2019

2020 Trends – IAB Europe Research Committee

IAB Europe’s Research Committee have put together their top predictions and trends for digital research and measurement in 2020. Take a read of what Europe’s greatest research minds predict for our industry!

Anton Kopytov, Partner Technology Consulting, Mindshare Worldwide.

The rise of SVOD services, both US-based media giants and European ones - Having robust deterministic identity graphs to ensure cross-device distribution of exclusive content they will allow to execute complex advertising story-telling strategies. Key SVOD providers will be bundling their streaming services with other products and will embrace advertising models as an element of their financial models. Hence many advertisers will run video across environments that include other digital content or on digital out-of-home in an effort to sustain broad reach. Another alternative includes optimizing reach across a wider range of media, with a focus on using each medium to drive awareness as best as each can. Other marketers might find that a focus on outcomes as opposed to proxies for long-term outcomes (which brand awareness is arguably best at) rather than reach is a preferred approach.

More and more brands will embrace on digital transformation programs - These include direct-to-consumer concepts, sales via third-party e-commerce channels, and focus on driving consumers to digital experiences (including websites or branded content), more growth in spending on digital media will occur. Simultaneously it will require efforts for architecting and integrating multiple platforms across MarTech, AdTech, Commerce and Retail and Enterprise. To reduce complexity and optimize operational aspects in managing complex systems many brands will tend to gravitate towards end-to-end providers of solutions spanning marketing, advertising and commerce platforms.

The rise of augmented and conversational analytics, explainable AI and NLP will democratize further data and bring analytics closer to business users. We will see automation of key aspects of insights surfacing, media optimization, data science and advanced analytics in marketing and advertising across all ecosystem players. As such more teams will be enabled by technology for quick or near real-time decision-making vs. data crunching and reports generation which eventually should increase productivity of advertising. Also it will speed up adoption of outcomes-based commercial models in advertising: there will be a shift from well-established proxies in measuring effectiveness and optimizing activity to business-related outcomes.

 James Colborn, Head of Global Data Solutions, Verizon Media

What The Cookie Monster Means For Measurement

Measurement in 2020 will face a series of headwinds brought about by privacy, regulation and technology. In light of a heightened focus on consumer privacy, browser enhancements like Intelligent Tracking (e.g. ITP on Apple Safari) will place enhanced pressures on measurement solutions that are reliant on 3rd party techniques (such as cookies) to operate. With only one leading, and arguably dominant, browser to still determine their implementation of this tracking measure, 2020 has a huge question around how measurement will be conducted in the coming year.

Based upon these changes, operating in a cookie-less environment will become a key consideration for advertisers, publishers and technology providers alike. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) may come to the fore as mechanisms to allow advertisers to manage their 1st party data and provide opportunities to partner with publishers and advertising firms to determine the effectiveness of their campaign performance.

Lastly, for 2020, the increasing focus on new (or in fact old media being digitised) such as Connected TV (CTV), Digital Out of Home (DooH) and Programmatic Radio, will offer up new media channels to add to multi-touch media modelling which, in turn, will present a greater and more comprehensive view of an advertising campaign's overall effectiveness. This, however, will continue to be challenged by data that is housed in walled gardens, preventing the advertiser from having a complete 360 degree view of their marketing spend.

 Jane Ostler - Global Head of Media, Insights Division, Kantar

Cookies start to crumble - Changing the recipe

Since the 1990s, the cookie has been used to track online behaviour. This helps improve user experiences on websites, as well as deliver and measure targeted digital marketing.

As a result, the advertising industry has become reliant on cookies to activate and assess online campaigns. But in a world where data privacy concerns continue to intensify, technology providers like Apple, Google and Mozilla are moving to allow users to block third-party cookies.

Kantar’s Getting Media Right 2019 shows that this has nearly 65% of marketers concerned about providing impactful measurement in a post-cookie world.

Looking ahead to 2020, our prediction is that although cookies will start to crumble, they will not disappear completely for some time. Instead advertisers will be faced with a “mixed economy”.

But advertisers are crying out for fewer silos in campaign measurement, and in response to this, in 2020 we expect to see more direct integrations between publishers and measurement partners, enabling true cross-publisher measurement.

Campaign measurement will become ever more complex, and marketers will need to future-proof their measurement frameworks and reduce their reliance on cookies. Many looking to third-party measurement providers like Kantar to help navigate the evolving media landscape.

 Phil Sumner, Global Media Insights Director, Teads

Without doubt, the biggest measurement challenge facing our industry is how we deal with a cookieless (or more realistically a heavily cookie-reduced) ecosystem. Updated European ePrivacy regulations and The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will no doubt affect the way we do business. Furthermore, the general trend for browser initiated cookie restriction will only accelerate this. This will serve to highlight the importance of high quality, transparent measurement but measurement providers will need to make strategic partnerships with media owners and agencies alike to ensure they can keep the lights on. Panels will have their revenge and those who wrote them off will eat humble pie.

In a new cookie-reduced paradigm, 3rd party behavioural signals will continue to reduce in volume and accuracy. The importance of context/content signals will only grow as a viable targeting source but media owners and Agencies alike will rapidly need to establish proof points to build trust in these methods, the efficacy and efficiency of the new segments which are produced.

Quality Audience Measurement and Viewability measurement are broadly considered transactional table stakes for Advertisers and Agencies across the region but The WFA’s Cross Media Measurement standardisation project and MRCs introduction of a new cross media standard will likely be the biggest global shake up in this area of measurement as Advertisers finally reach some semblance of alignment.

Finally, 2020 will be the year that Attention measurement reaches the mainstream and starts appearing more formally in the planning and measurement processes of brands and media agencies.

James Havelock, Manager, Advisory Services.  Freewheel

2020 – One Campaign to Rule Them All

For premium video, 2020 will see a significant shift from proof of concept learnings into scaled execution in the linear addressable space. Linear and digital capabilities are becoming unified and 2020 will see business processes mature to this new dynamic. Supply side companies now have real world experience to align their linear and digital sales strategies, as well as unified campaign management and subsequent measurement and reconciliation. This enablement has to be supported by advocating addressable campaign benefits to their advertiser/agency customers who are demanding the same level of control and delivery insights available to vod-delivery. Like all revenue growth strategies that combine a mature model with an evolving model, it requires significant investment across people, processes and systems to work. With unified decisioning being enabled across many of our customers, we expect to see confident and successful adoption of unified processes across premium inventory including major events.

Virginia Alvarez, Executive Director, Marketing Intelligence  and  Femi Taiwo, Director, Data & Technology Strategy, from EMEA Marketing Intelligence, OMD

 Predictions 2020:

Trust in Data … Trust in Bites of Data - Over the past decade, the growth of the Internet has generated seemingly endless amounts of digital Big Data. In turn, digital Big Data have been used to provide consumers, retailers, and marketers with information that has created efficiencies, enabled new capabilities, and opened up previously unrealized opportunities. However, it has been proven that Big Data has the potential to erode long-term brand equity because of its tendency to cultivate a short-term decision-making mindset. (Source: The crisis in creative effectiveness Peter Field June 2019)Some even would say that Big Data are no longer as representative as everyone may think. Big Data could have become Bites of Data – in terms of representativeness.

The GDPR effect - First party data always fed the purpose- if the objective of the research was clearly aligned. The challenge has always been that  first-party data is rarely collected in large enough volumes to be actionable at scale, the way that third-party is. That’s why, Big Data opened us lots of opportunities to understand our target audiences better…. but with GDPR can Big Data be more trusted nowadays?

GDPR has not only given consumers the right to opt-in but have forced marketers to focus their attention on improving data hygiene processes, leading to better targeting and higher quality interactions. However, data collected with all the right processes & consent doesn’t mean the data is good – it just means it’s been collected well and you don’t have to worry about that aspect. The quality of, and opportunity to action, data should not be automatically inherited from how it was collected.

It is now more than ever our responsibility to demonstrate what do these data really mean, regardless how broad the data collection was, or how was it collected. In 2020, the role of an Insighter and any marketing professional will be to cut through all these caveats and truthful to the craft.  It is going to be an ongoing balancing act managing the scale vs trust/accuracy requirements vs representativeness of the target audience under question….

Naomi Key-Field, Insight Director (Marketing Intelligence), OMD EMEA

As an anthropologist, I’m excited by signs of a move away from Big Data as the most important (if not only) route to media effectiveness & evaluation.  An encouraging resurgence of interest in advanced behavioural techniques is emerging: Clients are recognising the need for richer understanding of the esoteric humans behind the faceless audience numbers gleaned in most campaign planning/ analysis.  In my experience, the best way to augment interpretation of mass data points has been to design “human-first research” using bespoke, iterative, mixed-method approaches from the outset.  To achieve optimal brand experiences, we must unpick complex consumer behaviours on multiple levels; ideally over time and in different contexts. People are not static and unresponsive; nor should be the research about them.

Challenges: Economic uncertainty often stifles research commissioners’ decision-making speed and willingness to invest in untested approaches.  Innovation research budgets may be slashed if times are hard post-Brexit.

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