22nd April 2016

Ad Week Europe 2016: The key takeaways

This week was Advertising Week Europe 2016 in London, which brought together the media and marketing industries. Here we take a look at some of the key take aways from this year’s event.

The great ad-blocking debate rumbles on
Ad-blocking has been a hot topic of debate over the last twelve months and this was widely discussed during the week – not least in terms of the ethical and legal implications. A cross-industry panel of representatives from major organisations and institutions, including The Guardian, Ad Block Plus and Unilever, debated whether the tracking of consumers who use ad-blocking software should be outlawed on the basis that it goes against EU law. On top of this, the morality of publishers asking their users to disable ad-blockers and so-called “white-listing” was talked about, suggesting that consumers had a responsibility to comply with publishers’ wishes.

Punishing consumers for using ad-blocking software remains a contentious issue that each individual publishing platform and partner will need to find their own compromise towards.

Ad Week Europe debate

Live streaming vs. Broadcast
Another subject of conversation was the impact of live streaming channels, and whether broadcast was losing out in favour of internet platforms. In an increasingly mobile society, more and more of us are not only watching on-demand video on our mobiles and tablets, but are also choosing to stream live video, including sports and news, straight from them. With a growing desire from publishers to encourage consumer interaction, online and social channels which allow instant feedback, show better ROI.

Video hosting platform Youtube is predicting that “the future of entertainment will not be televised” as it looks to continue this revolution. To maximise advertising revenue, television and online channels should work hand-in-hand to deliver high quality content to wide audiences.

The growth of programmatic buying
Programmatic was yet another dominant topic during the week. The use of ad-buying intelligence software to purchase digital advertising is becoming increasingly popular. A number of large media corporations are either already using programmatic as a central point of their advertising operations, or at least plan to, with Mindshare Head of Programmatic Marketing Ruth Zohrer claiming that “Data, tech and content should be used to put the human audience at the centre of what we do with programmatic.”

Automated advertising is not only cheaper than tradition ad-buying, but also allows accuracy and reliability in selecting the correct platforms and target audiences to place adverts in front of. As intelligence builds in this area, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers must embrace new technology and seek ways of optimising the results of programmatic ad-buying.

As ever the ad tech world is fast changing, but the challenge of keeping up with the pace is what continues to make it such an exhilarating place to be.