Interactive Advertising Bureau

In this week’s member blog post, Igor Gubin, Region Manager Europe at Admitad, discusses the changing retail landscape and the current traffic sources for e-commerce businesses. Igor brings us some interesting shopper statistics and highlights some key 2021 learnings.

 

We are on the home stretch for 2021. Black Friday, Singles Day and the Christmas season have all been keeping us busy. However, this time it is different from last year. 

While the European e-commerce markets were focusing on a few dates – Singles Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday – in 2020, this year we see certain growth in different categories such as beauty and home being stretched over a longer period of time, for the entire month of November. It seems, consumers, in times of uncertainty, started chasing sales deals as early as the beginning of the sales period, were willing to spend a bit more on the deals that make sense to them, bought their Xmas presents during the first November week and trusted online media and blogs to drive traffic and clicks. 

According to the first estimates by experts such as Adobe Analytics, the volume of online sales in the US on the very day of Black Friday slightly decreased, from $9 billion in 2020 to $8.9 billion this year. This is a logical trend, given that last year, the sales took place during lockdowns in many countries, which means that many buyers were forced to choose goods on the Internet instead of offline purchases.

This year, some users chose to return to their usual shopping process. In addition to that, many brands this year not only launched discounts early before the 26th of November but also promised to extend them after the traditional Black Friday period. This distributes the buying activity over a much longer period.

At the same time, Admitad Affiliate states that the UK increased the number of purchases this Black Friday by 72%, and the orders’ value – by 89%, compared to the regular period. The average online order value during the sales days grew by 10% and reached the mark of $46. More than half of the sales were made on various marketplaces. This year on Black Friday, 23% of online purchases in the country were made via smartphones.

The number of online orders in Germany, being the largest EU e-commerce market, increased by 17% and the order volume by 21% on Black Friday compared to the day before. The Average Order Value (AOV) climbed + 4% to about $ 48; more than half of the turnover came from online marketplaces. The most popular categories were Beauty and Healthcare (28% of all purchases), followed by Credits (13%), Fashion (12,5%), and Travel, namely Hotels (12,5%). It seems Germans remained optimistic about their plans for the upcoming Winter holidays season. 

Spaniards were also ahead of the world numbers - the purchases just jumped up to +86% on Black Friday, compared to the day before. Spanish consumers opted for electronic goods making 28% of all purchases, beauty and personal care products (25%), fashion and accessories (20%), and hotels (9%). A slight shift of priorities in this market is clearly taking place. 

Several business industries were much more active this year and received more attention during the sale compared to 2020:

 

 

 

 

Traffic sources

A significant proportion of users (29.7%) decided to buy on the recommendation of online media and internet blogs. Another 26.8% followed the lucrative cashback offers. 14.3% of sales came from contextual advertising, followed by affiliate sites (6.7%) and Facebook (4.7%). At the same time, the income of German advertisers on Black Friday increased by + 48% compared to the day before; the income of British Publishers on Black Friday in total grew by 81%.

Key learnings for the sales period

For Europe, the sale period is very much in the final phase of Christmas sales and New Year’s Eve. The period of increased demand will last until the very end of December as many purchasing decisions will probably be made spontaneously depending on whether the general lockdown rules and regulations apply   - meaning buying gifts or spending New Year's Eve in a restaurant. 

Brands and advertisers should continue using and monitoring a variety of traffic channels during this period and make sure the offer is delivered swiftly. Santa has not been canceled this year. 

The always delightful Christmas celebrations are upon us and a new year is fast approaching. As we ready ourselves for a jam-packed 2022, we must look back at the unique year that was 2021 and celebrate all of the IAB Europe best bits. 

From prepping for a post third-party cookie world and promoting trust and transparency in our industry, to diving into CTV and tackling all things audio, this has truly been a year of varied discussions and great digital strides, despite the hybrid nature of our lives. Of course, no event or podcast, webinar, or guide would be possible without the input of our incredible members. We would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to anyone that contributed in any way, shape or form this year to moving our industry forward, and we are so excited to continue working with you all in the new year. 

With that, and to wrap everything up, we’ve put together our top five focus areas for 2021, so you can look back at what was discussed, debated, and delivered throughout the year.

1. Digital Advertising Research, Definitions & Best Practices

Similar to 2020, 2021 put a spotlight on measuring the value and growth of our industry across Europe. In collaboration with members of our Research Committee, and with the support of our Programmatic Trading Committee, we have undertaken a number of benchmarking projects and shared multiple pan-European studies and surveys to help gain a deeper understanding of key topics such as programmatic, in-housing, and more.

Discover some of our top 2021 research projects below:

Some of our  2021 studies are still in progress, so if you would like to contribute, check out these surveys and have your say today:

It is not just the Research Committee doing all the heavy lifting, both taskforces that sit under IAB Europe’s Brand Advertising Committee have also been on a mission this year to increase awareness and drive investment. Our Channels and Formats taskforce has provided best practices and guidance in emerging and established digital advertising channels, helping brands and buyers to navigate the opportunities of new platforms, such as In-Gaming. We have released some brilliantly insightful 101 guides full of carefully curated definitions and detailed case studies; take a read if you missed them:

2. Post-Cookie Education & Guidance  

IAB Europe placed a large focus last year on the phasing out of third-party cookies, with a dedicated task force, webinars, a guide to navigating the change, and bi-weekly meetings to keep members as up-to-date as possible. In June 2021, Google decided to delay the process, so instead of removing cookies in 2022, a three-month roll-out will now end in late 2023. 

Since the announcement, we have worked hard to continue to help our members stride towards a cookieless world. We’ve looked at the future of brand measurement in an insightful Q&A with experts from our Research Committee,  took a deep dive into the future of attribution in a Q&A with our Programmatic Trading Committee, and shared a Guide to Contextual Advertising as one such solution. On top of that, we have centred a number of talks at recent events around a post third party cookie world. Check out the ‘Are We Still on Track?’ talk from our H2 Virtual Programmatic Day here.

Moving into 2022, as we get closer to the new phase-out date, we are gearing up to release an updated version of our Post Third-Party Cookie Guide. If you would like to contribute to the guide, please contact Lauren Wakefield at wakefield@iabeurope.eu.

3. Digital Advertising Trust & Transparency 

Trust and transparency have always been a top priority for IAB Europe and this year was no different. In an attempt to overcome some of the industry’s biggest hurdles and increase consumer trust and brand investment in the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, IAB Europe dedicated an entire month to discuss best practices, current initiatives, the latest policy, and legal regulations to drive trust and transparency in our industry; we will definitely be doing the same in 2022!

Take a look at some of our top 2021 trust and transparency outputs below: 

4. Policy, Advocacy, and Legal 

As always, IAB Europe represents the interests of Europe’s digital marketing & advertising industry to ensure that future EU policy and regulation enable continuing innovation and sustainable media while maximising the industry’s potential to contribute to Europe’s digital economy. 

Let’s talk policy!
IAB Europe has remained deeply invested in policy advocacy work, which is critical as online advertising has become entangled in several EU dossiers. 2021 has seen rapid advancement of discussions on the proposed Digital Services Act (DSA), with some MEPs proposing a ban on targeted ads which necessitated the most active participation of the industry in dialogue with the EU policymaker. IAB Europe’s positioning formed a solid basis for broad EU institutional outreach conducted with the support of National IABs. Conversations with the policymakers benefited from insight coming from research supporting policy advocacy: ‘What would an Internet without targeted ads look like?’ and ‘The wider socio-economic and cultural value of targeted advertising in Europe’.

 At crunch time for the DSA, IAB Europe launched the ‘No Easy Wins’ campaign, highlighting how a ban or other restrictions on targeted ads would be an ‘own goal’ for digital Europe with clearly foreseeable negative consequences for consumers, small businesses, and small publishers alike. IAB Europe will continue its active engagement on the European Digital Policy in 2022, including on the DSA, ePrivacy Regulation proposal, Disinformation, and the new Political Ads proposal.

Let’s talk legal!
IAB Europe also remains committed to supporting privacy compliance efforts both through its Transparency & Consent Framework and through the development of legal resources that assist our members as well as the industry more broadly in their compliance processes. Following the switchover from TCF v1.1 to v2.0 in 2020, we have continued evolving the framework over the past year to better to improve its utility to the market and better suit expectations from regulators. Compliance and enforcement measures for CMPs have, in particular, been reinforced, further automated and we launched an all-new vendor compliance program in September 2021. This year has also seen the publication of guidance on legitimate interest assessments as well the launch of a dedicated privacy and data protection hub on our website, which aims to serve as a reference point for anyone wishing to get acquainted with the latest rules and developments on privacy and data protection with an impact on digital advertising.

5. Connected TV (CTV) & Audio 

2021 was a big year for CTV and Audio. We see increasing numbers of TV watchers moving away from linear television towards Connected TV, giving advertisers another platform to play with. Similarly, online audio is blossoming around the world through a wealth of new content, new formats, and new experiences; in the space of a few short years, digital audio has become a media planning favourite. We have created some incredible content this year, designed to help businesses take advantage of the opportunities that these platforms offer. If you fancy a recap, here is a list of our favourite bits: 

So, that is our 2021 round-up! Once again, thank you to our members for getting involved in our initiatives this year and making all of our outputs such a huge success. If you would like more information about how you can get involved in our committees or task forces, please reach out to the team at communication@iabeurope.eu 

We hope you have a wonderful break and we look forward to collaborating and continuing to drive the industry forward with you in the new year.

14 December 2021, Brussels, Belgium - IAB Europe issued a cautious welcome to the report approved today by the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) on the proposed Digital Services Act (DSA).

The IMCO votes mark a critical step in the passage of the DSA ahead of a plenary vote in the Parliament in January and crucial trilogue negotiations among the EU institutions later next year.

While some MEPs in IMCO had called for a ban or harsh restrictions on data-driven advertising, the subsequent debate brought the value of targeting for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Europe’s media and to consumers themselves into sharp relief. 

Commenting on the IMCO votes, IAB Europe CEO Townsend Feehan said:

We’re pleased that IMCO did not agree to a blanket ban on “targeted ads” which would have done nothing to enhance users’ safety online, including addressing the major societal challenge of online disinformation, and would have had other significant unintended consequences. Data-driven advertising helps smaller publishers and providers of other online services compete with the biggest players and ensures that users have access to a diversity of sources without paying for subscriptions. The value of targeted ads as one of the most useful marketing tools available for SMEs has been well-evidenced, and we must not take away the chance to support these small businesses who fuel our European economy.

Concerns remain about the risk of overlap and contradictions with EU data protection law if some of the language approved today ends up in the DSA. So-called ‘dark patterns’ influencing user choices should be mitigated by the use of existing tools of enforcement, including detailed guidance provided by Data Protection Authorities. We call on the Parliament and the Council to be sensitive to the risk of running into a legal quagmire in the remaining phases of the legislative process. 

We’ll continue to engage with policymakers to ensure there is good appreciation of the strong consumer protections that are already built into the law and of existing industry efforts to enable transparency and choice in relation to the use of personal data for digital advertising and marketing.  

In this week's member blog post, we hear from Philippa Snare, SVP EMEA at The Trade Desk. Philippa is urging the marketers of 2022 to take notice of retail media and the recent developments that have created incredible opportunities for brands. She also shares some of The Trade Desk secrets to success!

Data has long been heralded as the oil of the digital economy - not only is it a hugely valuable resource, it also plays a key role in keeping the cogs of the online world turning smoothly. 

And within this world where data reigns supreme, there is a rising star - retail. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought vast swathes of consumers online to buy everything from tea to toothpaste, a behaviour change that research suggests is set to stay, with 49% of Brits saying that online shopping is now their preferred purchase method. As a result, advancements previously pencilled to take years have instead been condensed into months as demand soared. 

Before long, retail will be an advertisers’ bread and butter, sitting front and centre in their core arsenal alongside desktop, mobile and CTV. With that in mind, here’s a couple of things advertisers should know about this exciting new channel as we enter its biggest year yet.

Retail’s special sauce - logged-in users

One of the big developments transforming retail media is the move by key players to launch their own demand-side platforms (DSPs). At The Trade Desk, we have partnered with Walmart to launch its DSP earlier this year. With 150 million customers shopping via the company’s website, app and 4,700 stores, Walmart has an immense volume of unique insight into shopper behaviour. This launch is a key moment for the industry, paving the way for a future that many others will look to. 

One such player following Walmart’s lead is a little closer to home - Tesco. The UK’s biggest retailer just last month announced it is setting itself up as a media owner. Tesco not only has millions of Brits logged in to do their online food shopping but its proprietary loyalty card ‘Clubcard’ is used in 80% of all transactions. As a result, like Walmart, it has a vast pool of invaluable data on shopper behaviour, preferences and trends. In fact, in our recent ‘The Future of Retail’ report, in which we surveyed 5000 consumers and 150 brand marketers, a huge 81% of consumers reported having at least one digital account with a retailer - revealing the potential for other retailers, and advertisers. 

These developments mean that brands can leverage their own first-party data alongside a retailer’s insights, maximising their ability to both find new customers and reach existing ones at the right moment, in the right place. 

It’s particularly noteworthy that such offerings allow advertisers to access logged-in users outside of the walled gardens. Many of the retailers we are collaborating with are convinced that the value of their data is best realised on the open internet, not within the confines of walled gardens. It provides a safe environment for both brands and retailers to protect their most important asset - first-party data. 

Closing the loop

It’s easy to see why retail media is so appealing to brand marketers. As the vast majority of consumers now live as much online as they do ‘IRL’, retailers’ ability to link these two worlds has never been more important. Closed-loop measurement means advertisers can accurately measure the online and offline impact of their campaigns via in-store touchpoints. This is particularly valuable for legacy brands, who are now able to quickly pivot to the strategies direct-to-consumer brands have long utilised to disrupt the market.

76% of marketers we spoke to plan to use sales data either “frequently” or “very frequently” over the next year, for this reason. These insights - from both on and offline channels - are giving CMOs a clearer picture of how their campaigns impact consumer actions, with retail media providing connections that other channels can’t. 

Ultimately, it’s in brand marketers’ interests to get as close to the point of purchase as possible. Reducing the route marketers have to take between advertisement and purchase is vital to increasing the efficacy of ad investments and making every penny of spend work as hard as possible. Doing this at scale is a marketers’ utopia. 

Many savvy marketers are primed and ready to hit ‘buy’ on the retail opportunity. For those that aren’t, we’d say now is the time to check out this exciting new channel and all it has to offer. From where we’re sat, 2022 looks set to be a big year for retail media. 

In this blog post, as featured in the EU Observer, IAB Europe's Director, Public Policy, Greg Mroczkowski, shares what has been missing from the debate on personalisation in advertising and how privacy and personalisation can in fact go hand-in-hand. 

As the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) prepares to vote on its opinion on the Digital Services Act (DSA) next week, the fate of targeted ads will become clearer. There’s been much speculation over what the precise outcome will be when it comes to targeted ads but the debate has highlighted how digital advertising is not a simple black and white issue but one that has major ramifications for small businesses and small publishers across Europe. 

Ahead of the vote, it’s important to remember that targeted ads are a vital part of the day-to-day operation of thousands of businesses in Europe. They are effective at reaching new audiences, converting those audiences into customers, and giving businesses the ability to compete and grow. Targeted advertising is more than twice as effective at reaching new customers than contextual advertising, and is a low-cost, essential tool that is particularly useful for SMEs. And SMEs drive more than half of Europe’s GDP, employing over 100 million Europeans.

After the Covid-19 pandemic -- which has pushed operations for most businesses almost exclusively online as lockdowns became the norm -- many SMEs, which are the backbone of Europe’s economy, are still recovering. They simply cannot afford to lose the ability to effectively market their products right now.

For publishers, the situation has been most challenging too. Targeted ads command a premium that contextual advertising just doesn’t match. Where traditional media outlets have faced declining print circulations, digital advertising has proven a fruitful new source of revenue for many publishers. Indeed, at last week’s European News Media Summit, Commissioner Breton highlighted the dramatic drop in ad revenues seen by the traditional news media which has been grappling with a rapid digital transition.

What has been missing from the debate on personalisation in advertising is that privacy and personalisation can go hand in hand. Safeguarding privacy and data protection must be paramount, and there are tools to do that, in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Enforcement of the existing law should pave the way for ensuring that the data-driven advertising business model is kept in check.

We must also remember that targeted ads help to fund a free and open internet. With 68 percent of Europeans saying they would never pay for news content online, the revenues generated by targeted ads play a vital role in supporting a pluralistic media landscape and maintaining free access to news and content. Heavy restrictions on the ability to address marketing communications would drastically reshape the internet as we know it and restrict access to reliable sources of news to a privileged few. In an era of rising concerns over disinformation, this would be yet another blow.

Contextual advertising, often pushed as a catch-all solution by opponents of targeted ads, is not a panacea. While it is a relevant part of the online advertising ecosystem, they simply do not deliver the same reach to new customers or return on investment that targeting can. Giving businesses the flexibility to choose how they advertise to their customers and select the tools that serve them best is an essential element of the digital economy.

As we reach an important milestone in the updating of Europe’s digital rules, we must ensure that users are empowered with enhanced transparency to make informed choices about ad-supported content – in line with the significant transparency and accountability requirements under the GDPR'. It will go someway to helping policymakers ensure the DSA becomes a successful digital regulatory framework fit for the Twenty First Century which will drive and sustain businesses of all sizes for many years to come. 

 

One of the key objectives of IAB Europe and the National IABs is to build a sustainable future for digital advertising and marketing. This can be achieved by creating standards and frameworks to provide a set of principles and rules to encourage responsibility and quality in digital advertising. Over the last few years there has been a surge of industry challenges from ad fraud to unsafe brand environments which has threatened the quality of digital advertising campaigns.

In order to highlight the great work being undertaken by National IABs and provide a summary of the national level certification schemes aimed at combating these challenges, IAB Europe first created the National Quality Initiatives Navigator in 2020 and has continued to provide updates to it. The latest version of the paper includes a summary of the national level quality certification schemes in Europe plus any other guidelines or best practice guides that exist to enable digital advertising to be delivered responsibly and to the highest quality.

As is evident in the paper, a vast amount of work is being undertaken in Europe and beyond to build and ensure a sustainable future for digital advertising and marketing. There are both similarities and differences across all of these initiatives. As a next step, IAB Europe has formed a Working Group of National IABs to establish whether European Baselines can be established.

Access the latest update to the Navigator here.

The guide provides up-to-date insight into native ad formats and key considerations and best practices for buyers.

2nd December 2021, Brussels, Belgium: IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, has today released its ‘Guide to Native Advertising’ to shed more light on one of marketers’ most used forms of advertising.

IAB Europe first published a white paper on Native Advertising in 2016 when it was still a nascent and evolving area of digital advertising. Since then, Native has continued to grow in importance as consumers found themselves bombarded with intrusive advertising, which led to ad blocking, banner blindness, and ad fatigue.

This Guide has been written by three experts of IAB Europe’s Channels and Formats Taskforce, which is part of the Brand Advertising Committee, to provide up-to-date information on Native Advertising formats, placements, and best practices so that buyers can ensure effective campaign delivery. The Guide also explores how Native will be key to growth in other digital channels such as eCommerce, CTV, and DOOH. Alongside this, there are a number of case studies to show real-life examples of Native in action. 

Commenting on his contribution to the Guide, Agathe Rakowicz, Director, Global Brand Operation at Outbrain said, "It's great to work with IAB Europe on Guides like this because it's a unique opportunity to explore Native Advertising as a unified front. Native advertising has come so far and has truly improved the consumer experience online. It's great to be able to showcase the progression and demonstrate to markers how they can leverage Native Advertising on the open web to grow their reach and diversify their marketing strategy.

Commenting on the importance of industry guides, Jon Westnedge, VP EMEA, Taboola said: “IAB Europe and its research in this report play an important part in demonstrating the potential of native advertising for European marketers - an industry that we at Taboola have spent 14 years perfecting. We are pleased to contribute to this industry guide, which will empower advertisers with knowledge of the formats available, best practices, and key considerations for using native advertising to grow their business.”

Commenting on the development of the Guide, IAB Europe’s Marketing and Industry Programmes Manager Marie-Clare Puffett said:This guide provides lots of best practices, practical examples and case studies from member organisations to show how native advertising can be used as a non-intrusive format to engage consumers.”

Download the guide here.

IAB Europe and PubMatic are inviting all advertisers and agencies to take part in their latest Online Video Survey!

The European Online Video (OLV) market is seeing rapid growth. In Europe, it now commands nearly 40% of all display spend and is the fastest-growing segment within social. Innovations in this space, such as advancements in video quality, mean that this growth will only continue.

The market is, however, fragmented, due to several factors including media consumption habits, regulation, and media trading cultures. Plus there is still a lack of research into formats and the factors affecting buying decisions in the online video programmatic space.

As such, IAB Europe and PubMatic created this short survey to better understand online video formats and the factors impacting buying behaviours across Europe to get a picture of the ‘State of Online Video Advertising in Europe’.

The deadline to complete the survey is Friday 21st January, and it takes just 10 minutes to complete. Your response will be treated in the strictest confidence and is greatly appreciated.

Take the survey here

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