Interactive Advertising Bureau
18 December 2020

That’s a wrap! 2020 Highlights from IAB Europe

As we say so long to 2020 and get ready to welcome 2021, we take a look back on some of IAB Europe’s highlights from what has been a great (albeit very different) year. 

From navigating the post-third-party cookie era to creating definitions and best practices for new emerging channels, right through to learning how to adapt in exceptional times, no topic was left unexplored. We’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all of our members that came together and helped drive the industry forward, despite the increased workloads and lockdowns we faced. 2020 has further cemented what we already knew, that our members are the foundation of our organisation and we very much look forward to working with you all in 2021. 

With that, and to wrap everything up, we’ve put together our top 5 focus areas for 2020, so you can catch up on what was discussed, debated and delivered throughout the year.

1. Digital Advertising Research, Definitions, and Best Practices

Measuring the value and growth of our industry across Europe has been of huge importance to us this year. Which is why, in collaboration with members of our Research Committee, we have undertaken benchmarking projects and shared a number of pan-European studies and surveys to help gain a deeper understanding of key topics such as Digital Video Advertising, Programmatic Advertising, and more.

Discover some of our top 2020 research projects below:

IAB Europe’s Channels and Formats Taskforce (a part of our Brand Advertising Committee) has also been on a mission this year. Looking to increase awareness and drive investment by providing best practices and guidance in emerging and established digital advertising channels and formats. Helping brands and buyers to navigate the opportunities new platforms bring, it has been a collaborative effort to create harmonised definitions and provide best practices across Europe for some of the most exciting new channels: Connected TV, Programmatic Out Of Home (OOH) and Digital Audio. Check out our 101 guides below, and keep an eye out as we look to take a deeper dive into these channels next year. 

2. Post Third-Party Cookie Education and Guidance 

Back in January, IAB Europe sought to unearth what we can expect from the post third-party cookie era, and what we can do to work together as an industry to navigate it. Working in close collaboration with our Programmatic Trading Committee, we covered a series of webinars and panel discussions and even released a Guide to Navigating the Post Third-Party Cookie Era, to ensure everyone was up to speed. An update to this guide is due to be released in January, with key work continuing through 2021, so be sure to keep an eye out for this.

In 2020 we also launched a new joint Post Third-Party-Cookie taskforce with IAB France, open to all National IABs and their members. Its mission is to enlist a broad network of European stakeholders to support the emergence of a technical outcome or outcomes, in which comprehensive individual privacy control and responsible addressable internet advertising coexist safely and comfortably, to support a rich and diverse universe of online content and services available, at low or no cost to users. Meeting bi-weekly, it’s been a great forum for everyone to keep up to date and provide input to this new digital era, with this work set to continue well into 2021. 

If you’re interested in joining the taskforce, please use this form.

3. Digital Advertising Trust and Transparency 

Trust and transparency is fundamental to a sustainable future for digital advertising. As such, in collaboration with our Quality and Transparency Taskforce and Programmatic Trading Committee, IAB Europe took the time to assess quality and transparency concerns and address the challenges that the industry faced across 2020. Taking a deep dive into everything from Supply Chain Transparency to Brand Safety and Suitability, we looked at how to overcome some of the industry’s biggest hurdles and to see how we can fuel consumer trust and brand investment in the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem. 

Take a look at some of our top 2020 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 enables continuing innovation and sustainable media, while maximising the industry’s potential to contribute to Europe’s digital economy. 

  • On the policy advocacy front, the Brussels team have been, amongst others, engaging in discussions on the ePrivacy Regulation proposal, as well as the long-awaited and just released proposal for an EU Digital Services Act (DSA). The ePrivacy dossier has not seen advancement under the Croatian and German Presidencies, and will be now further worked on by the incoming Portuguese Presidency starting in January. Our positioning remains valid. On the DSA, we have been actively engaging with the EU policymaker in the run-up to the publication of the proposal, building the basis for our advocacy going forward. Please read our paper on the DSA and our statement upon the release of the package on 15 December. 
  • On the legal front, we remain committed to supporting the industry in their legal compliance efforts, and August saw the switch-over from TCF v1.1 to TCF v2.0. We continue to issue legal output and resources, as well as engage on substantive discussions around the GDPR. To name a few, in April we submitted our response in the GDPR review consultation, in September our input to EDPB draft Guidelines on social media targeting, and in November we participated in the EDPB consultation and Stakeholder Event on use of the Legitimate Interest legal basis. In collaboration with IAB UK, IAB Europe published a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) guide

5. Creating a Platform for Continued Collaboration 

As many of us were in lockdown and forced to practice social distancing, it was more important than ever to enable people to connect and benefit from the digital infrastructure. IAB Europe is known for hosting virtual events and webinars to bring people from across Europe and beyond together. In 2020 we increased our number of virtual events by 150%, reaching over 10,000 people! All of the events were recorded and can be accessed from our knowledge hub. Key highlights included:

  • Virtual Programmatic Day - From discussing the post third-party cookie era to the TCF, and even creativity in programmatic, over 2500 people joined us in April and then again in May for our live virtual event series. You can read the wrap up notes and watch the videos from our H2 event here
  • IAB Europe Virtual CTV Event - Following the release of our Buyer’s Guide to CTV, the event was created to further explore this emerging digital advertising channel, and with 350 attendees was a huge success. Featuring a series of panel discussions and market deep dives from IAB Europe and IAB Europe member companies, the event uncovered the real challenges faced by the ecosystem, and the key opportunities available for CTV.  Check out the event wrap up here
  • Economic Trends Forum - Led by Dr. Daniel Knapp, IAB Europe’s Chief Economist, The Economic Trends Forum (ETF) offers market analysis and industry insights for our corporate members and network of National IABs. Throughout the pandemic, we focused all ETFs on the Impact of COVID-19 on our industry. Daniel provided monthly economic outlooks for the digital marketing and advertising industry based on his analysis of market trends and financial reports. You can watch the last session in our 2020 series here
  • Committee Meetings - Our committees are the backbone of our organisation. These groups bring together industry leaders and experts to support the growth and development of digital marketing and advertising in Europe. It was business as usual for our monthly committee and task force meetings, all meeting virtually to follow our action packed work plans, which produced some of the great outputs outlined above. If you’d like to get involved with any of the committees in 2021, why not take a look at our recent blog post here

Once again a big thank you to each and everyone of you who got involved in our initiatives this year, and made all of our outputs such a huge success. We hope you have a wonderful break and look forward to collaborating and continuing to drive the industry forward with you in the new year.

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