Interactive Advertising Bureau
18 June 2024

That’s a Wrap! Highlights from Our H1 2024 Virtual Programmatic Day

On 6th June, we hosted our latest Virtual Programmatic Day, which saw over 400 attendees join us for in-depth discussions on the latest trends, barriers, and drivers impacting programmatic trading in Europe. Organised by our Programmatic Trading Committee and hosted by the Committee Chair Wayne Tassie, Group Director, Integrated Solutions at DoubleVerify, we heard from industry experts who shared their knowledge and industry insights on what’s in the news, Privacy Sandbox and the new programmatic ecosystem, media quality and custom algorithms, and attention metrics and measurement.

In this post, you will find an overview and the main highlights from each session.

To watch the session recordings in your own time, go to our Knowledge Hub post here.

Fireside Chat - New Developments and News from the Street 

The event kicked off with a fireside chat between Wayne and Lindsay Rowntree, COO of ExchangeWire. They discussed the stories that made the news this year, what ExchangeWire focuses on regarding events and editorial content, and what she's been hearing across the industry on new developments.

Session highlights:

  • Lindsay started by sharing that cookie deprecation has been one of the most significant stories of 2024 so far. The topic presents various angles, encompassing both the opportunities and challenges it introduces. While the industry is eager to move past the hysteria surrounding cookie loss, it remains a focal point of discussion due to its profound impact on the industry. 
  • Understanding post-cookie strategies and adapting business practices independently of major tech companies is crucial. 
  • There's also a notable disparity between advertisers, who are cautious and adopt a "wait and see" approach, and publishers, who are well-prepared with established strategies and new revenue opportunities.
  • In terms of content focus areas and creating a calendar of content for the year, Lindsay shared that this is driven by analytics and engagement data gathered from their website and events. Continuous research and dialogues with industry professionals ensure that key interests are captured and differentiated from less valuable topics. 
  • Regarding ATS London, ExchangeWire’s main European Industry event, she shared that advancements in entertainment, technology, programmatic OOH, CTV, audio, and content creation will be showcased at this year’s event. 
  • On the biggest challenges in programmatic, Lindsay highlighted AI, sustainability, regulation, and data privacy and how the industry must strive for collective alignment on goals and improve collaboration across the supply chain to address these issues effectively.
  • Finally, she stressed how innovation should be driven by the need to solve real problems, and providing practical solutions will help the industry to thrive.

Panel Discussion -  Beyond Cookie-Depreciation: Privacy Sandbox and the Programmatic Ecosystem

It wouldn’t be a programmatic event without discussing cookies. The next panel discussion dived into the implications of the post third-party cookie era and explored innovative solutions, including Google's Privacy Sandbox initiative. Covering the broader impact on advertisers, publishers, and tech providers, speakers addressed critical questions around data transparency, user consent, and the evolving regulatory landscape. 

The session was moderated by Aniss Laamouri, Head of Ad Tech, IAB UK, and included:

  • Mathilde Verron, Privacy & Regulations Velocity Lead, Google 
  • Phil Toliday, Global Head of Marketing Science, GroupM Nexus
  • Andrew Furst, CCO, Digiseg
  • Tanya Field, Co-Founder & CPO, Novatiq

Session highlights:

  • The panel discussion opened with speakers discussing measurement and targeting challenges due to the ongoing changes around cookies, including the integration of Privacy Sandbox. Whilst these issues were seen as significant, it was also discussed as an opportunity to improve industry practices. 
  • The panel agreed that cookies were a temporary solution and that now the focus should be on utilising custom AI and creating more robust, long-term measures that align with consumer expectations. Ensuring consistent user tracking without revealing identities is crucial.
  • Another core challenge discussed is the need for accountability and to demonstrable performance from both publishers and advertisers. 
  • It was also discussed that balancing privacy with advertising effectiveness requires innovative identity solutions that activate audience data at the cohort level rather than one-on-one tracking. The approach aims to deliver personalised messaging without overwhelming users, ensuring advertising is seen as a service rather than an interruption.
  • The use of clean rooms for leveraging data partnerships and combining first-party data was also discussed as important. 
  • Best practices, such as those demonstrated by Project Nova in partnership with Google, highlight the importance of testing and learning to develop effective strategies tailored to individual needs.
  • Looking forward, the panel discussed how the industry must embrace cohort audiences and prioritise finding and measuring these audiences to enhance application performance. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and a mix of approaches will be necessary to meet diverse needs and scales. 
  • Ultimately, going forward, the focus should be on leveraging innovation to create more effective and privacy-compliant advertising strategies.

Panel Discussion - Media Quality and Custom Algorithms: Driving Performance and Outcomes

Moving beyond traditional metrics like brand safety, viewability, and invalid traffic (IVT), our next panel delved into how a broader array of media signals can drive improved success metrics. Examining case studies and sharing practical insights, our speakers demonstrated how incorporating key elements can lead to more effective and efficient advertising strategies. 

The session was moderated by Simon Halstead, Founder of Halstead Incubation Partners Ltd, and included:

  • Nick Welch, Head of Programmatic EMEA, IAS
  • Andrew Heald, Manager Publisher Development, Index Exchange 
  • Ieva Butenaite - Connected Commerce Director, OMG Transact 
  • Ashley Bateman, Group Sales Director, DoubleVerify

Session highlights:

  • The panel opened by discussing how the impact of media quality on programmatic advertising effectiveness has always been recognised, but that quantifying it at an impression level has been challenging. 
  • There was consensus that understanding how brand safety influences value can empower advertisers to optimise strategies and improve decision-making. As the industry collects more data, transparency improves, but robust measurement and attribution methods still need to be developed. 
  • Some panelists noted that advertisers are increasingly requesting diverse metrics, particularly around MFAs, which has revealed inefficiencies with non-traditional publishers. Removing MFA suppliers has improved performance for traditional publishers, highlighting the need for continuous evaluation of media buying strategies to maintain efficiency.
  • The panel also discussed how the rise of AI in programmatic advertising presents opportunities and challenges. While AI can enhance performance, it also risks facilitating fraud. They advised advertisers to balance AI's benefits with the need for transparency and careful data management to avoid errors and ensure successful implementation.
  • The panel emphasised that integrating advanced media quality into advertising requires clear, scalable frameworks, with organisations like the IAB aiding standardisation. Premium publishers must balance revenue generation with maintaining a positive user experience, through thoughtful ad placement, and density management.
  • To combat metric manipulation and ensure reliable viewability, speakers recommended taking a human-centric approach and focusing on publishers. Transparency, responsibility, and adherence to industry standards are crucial for maintaining trust. 

Panel Discussion - Can I Get Your Attention Please?

To round up the day, our final panel turned their attention to ‘attention’, exploring attention metrics and their pivotal role in optimising advertising strategies. Delving into the latest methodologies for measuring attention, they moved beyond discussing traditional metrics like impressions and click-through rates to more nuanced indicators such as viewability, engagement duration, and interaction quality.

The session was moderated by David Snocken, VP of Partnerships at Magnite, and included:

  • Sam Matharu, EMEA Director of Analytics, Marketing Science, GroupM Nexus Solutions
  • Lucy Hall, Business Director - Programmatic, Zenith
  • Amber Mumford, Enterprise Sales Director at DoubleVerify

Session highlights:

Attention in Connected TV

  • The panel discussed how CTV commands attention, highlighting that attention levels vary by time of day and are harder to measure across multiple devices. Watching TV while using a phone exemplifies passive attention, complicating measurement.

Campaign Implications

  • The panel also discussed how focusing on attention can improve campaign performance, and stressed that it shouldn't be overshadowed by the main goal of ROI. 
  • Attention data aids in optimising campaigns in flight and identifying effective creatives. However, campaigns solely focused on attention haven't consistently delivered ROI, indicating the risk of over-optimisation.

Case Studies and Practical Applications

  • The panel rounded up by sharing that case studies, such as those from IAB MIXX Awards winners, show the value of attention metrics, emphasising cost per attention and the need for A/B testing. 
  • Overall, attention metrics, being cookieless and bot-free, provide reliable data.
  • Advertisers should segment data into exposure and engagement, ensuring a balanced approach to optimise campaigns effectively.

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