Interactive Advertising Bureau
16 December 2021

That’s a Wrap! IAB Europe 2021 Highlights

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

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 

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.

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