Member Blog – OMD – My Four Observations from The IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark report

Blake participated in webinar panel discussion of the IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark report findings on the 18th of July, the webinar recording can be accessed here.


The IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark report is always a great opportunity to halt the permanent hyperloop we all work in and take stock of exactly what our industry has gone through.We can see that growth has stayed at a consistent level of around 12% year-on-year over the past 5 years as online media matures, accounting for €42bn of all media. However, the following are four areas from this year’s report that I feel have driven real change within the market:

  1. Polarisation within Europe: The larger markets have matured as the tech landscape has settled and programmatic is now a cemented part of online activity within the largest markets.  This compares to the emerging markets, who are seeing rapid growth as the tech giants transfer the learnings from the mature markets’ earlier development and infrastructure. This has meant exponential growth for the likes of Romania and Slovenia, as the initial entrants into areas such as programmatic have been received positively, driving further confidence.
  2. The Organisation of Data: The accountability of online media has always been positive, but equally it has led to further complexity in the market.  Not only has measurement begun to see some degree of standardisation, helping brands understand true effectiveness over time, but it has also allowed for more dynamic, real time decisions to become a standard practice. However, this organisation of data has not just allowed for clearer measurement. Publishers and platforms have segmented their audiences with more effect – the understanding of observed behavioural insights, as well as development of robust custom audiences has meant that targeting is paying back a stronger ROI and, as a result, increasing investment.
  3. The Integration of Media and Content:  Building on the last point, and due to the complexity of formats that online media comes with, content is playing a tighter role within all media decisions.  The term “mobile first” is overused in our industry and not because people don’t appreciate the importance that the device plays in people’s lives, but because brands would all too often put their TV ad straight onto a mobile placement.  The insights we are getting from our ability to analyse data more effectively has meant that the content creation and production process is now more dynamic and increasingly relevant to the device, context and environment when served.
  4. The Growth of e-Commerce: The advancements of e-commerce from a platform experience (as well as improvements in distribution) have meant the consumer has more and more confidence in adopting this method of shopping.  This has naturally has led to a rise in more direct performance media such as search. As content experience improves and the fact that the point of desire and traction can now happen in a matter of seconds, more immersive forms of online content has begun to prove direct attribution to sales.

There are still many opportunities across the industry to improve the experience that brands provide within online media, as well as simplifying the technical infrastructure that they operate in.  However, there is a lot to be positive about as we enter the 3rd wave of disruption and the mass adoption of areas such as Artificial Intelligence and the internet of things.


Blake is responsible for leveraging and developing the digital capabilities for OMD EMEA. Joining OMD in 2016 in the role of Chief Digital Officer, Blake’s particular focus has been defining and delivering a winning business value offer for clients in the addressable age, whilst helping clients understand how technology and data can unlock business growth.

 Prior to joining OMD, Blake spent 5 years at Dentsu Aegis, digital agency Isobar managing activity across a range of flagship accounts including Google, adidas & Huawei. Blake also clocks up creative agency experience, working at Omnicom agency Tribal DDB, where he was instrumental in the social media drive for Virgin Media and oversaw the global web platform roll out for Guinness.

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