The Warsaw Interact 2019 conference and IAB Europe’s MIXX Awards 2019 took place between 4th – 5th of June. 

It’s an annual event hosted by IAB Europe, the leading European level industry association for the digital advertising ecosystem. This year the conference focused on the idea of “Growing change – Changing growth”. The two-day event moved into the spotlight what change and growth means for the modern business in the digital era. Especially since the ongoing transformation is clearly visible through technological development which is accelerating, with growing recipient groups and their behaviours evolving accordingly.  

The program included many international representatives and industry experts from across Europe. 

The conference started with short introduction in cinema plenary room. First speaker was Dr Daniel Knapp (Chief economist, IAB Europe). He presented some guides to the digital advertising market. He explained that total digital ad spends from historical perspective increased more than double since 2012 (24,4bn) in comparison to 2018 (55,1bn). In 2018 digital media advertising was estimated around 45% of all paid media advertising, when in 2006 it was only 6,7 % in relation to traditional media. We can observe constant growth of digital market since 2011, with top players like UK, Germany and France on the podium. In 2018 UK spent more than 18€m on digital ad, Germany 7€m, France 5€m when Poland only a little bit more than 1€m. It’s very interesting that mobile ad are almost on the level of 50% of all digital ad spend in 2018. On the top of that, expansion of video format is easily noticeable as it slowly reaches 1/3 of all display. What’s more,  social ad grows from 35% to 50% within three years. 

Another speaker was Daniel Dalton (EU Parliament member). He spoke about missed opportunities of the EU digital single market.  The Internet and digital technologies are transforming our world – in every part of life and in every line of business. Europe must embrace the digital revolution and open digital opportunities for people and businesses.

How? By using the power of the EU’s Single Market. The digital single market strategy was adopted on 6th May 2015 and it’s one of the EU Commission’s priorities. Consisting of three policy pillars:

-digital as the driver for growth

-improving access to digital goods and services

-environment when both digital network and service can cooperate.

Dalton also mentioned some missed opportunities, like privatised law enforcement, intellectual property rights infringements, copyright, geo-blocking, GDPR and the right to privacy or telecommunications.

Als Steven Woodford (CEO, Advertising Association) had the floor, he spoke about consumer trust research. The Public favorability towards advertising was in constant decrease since 1992, but it had its moments of improvement especially from 2016 to 2018. He also underlined some ideas that have an impact on both, favorability and trust (advertising benefits, bombardment, sensitive sectors, unhealthy advertising, intrusiveness or suspicious techniques). To work on customer trust, we should reduce excessive ad frequency, ensure about data privacy, and show that advertising may drive social change in a good way.

Taide Guajarado (Brand Operations Director, Procter & Gamble Europe) was Next in the line. “Every conference starts with acknowledging changes that are constantly happening. There is a lot of talk about something that is just starting” she said before moving to the subject about growth and how to go from talking to taking action. She presented couple of branch advertisements to the audience. Just follow the link to watch one of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPmuEyP3a0. To go from talking to taking actions we reinvented brand building, disrupt the way we do business proactively and we encourage our partners to do the same, P&G redefined what the brand can do for society because consumer demand it, concluded Guajarado.

Another speaker was Jochen Schlosser (CSO, Adform). Artificial intelligence offers a wide range of uses:  trading algorithms, forecasting, dynamic ads, audience extension, fraud detection or as a cross device. the possibilities are numerous here, even in imitation of human senses: natural language processing, voice synthesis, computer vision or emotional intelligence. But why is the industry afraid, when there are so many opportunities? The answer is:  Fear of undefined change. 

Let’s switch to Anita Caras (Director, Verizon Media). She spoke about understanding digital content consumption. Marketers have always been storytellers and today, there are more ways than ever reaching the consumer through richer, more relevant and deeply engaging content. 

What are the five growing motivations in digital content consumption? 

Emotion or plan for the future, compare, evaluate or try different ideas, get support and advise, be among the first to find out something new and practical take-aways. When searching with intentions consumers are 52% – more likely to transact, 43% more likely to interact with brands, 26% more likely to share content and 28% more likely to notice brand sponsorship. So, we all should adapt message and format, take intentional action, understand consumer mindset in each moment and embrace creativity. 

Next on the agenda was a discussion panel., Four speakers came on stage to talk about current status on transparency and trust in the digital advertising. In the middle of 2019, brands are still asking for full visibility over where ads are placed, as well as advertisers are still demanding greater clarity on where budgets are spent, and consumers need seeking for more assurance about how their data is used. The panel concluded that the barriers have to be removed, moreover we must rebuild transparency and trust.

Nigel Gilbert (Chief Market Strategist, EMEA) was the next speaker. He estimated the value of European digital advertising as 54€bn in 2019 and forecasted it to grow at least to 58€bn in 2020. He also spoke about GDPR – . Stating that, transparency, control and freedom of choice are very important to consumers. Moreover, Europe drives the path forward for the industry. 

Dominic Grainger (CEO, GroupM EMEA) talked about challenges the advertising industry is facing. The talk was about main trends in advertising, adaptation of the newest technology and client needs. 

Going further, James Brown from EMEA Rubicon gave us a sneak peek into the growth of ad tech in 2019. Digital ad is in the constant growing changes as we see a mini revolution unfolding, bringing new channels and trading environments to the field. The trends shaping ad tech in 2019 are user targeting, monetization, transparency, SPO and “customer first approach” too. He also introduced “universal ID” project: a single global ID available within RTB ecosystem which eliminates the need for ID syncs between DsPs and exchanges which also  improves user experience.

Another key guest was Phil Sumner from Global Media Insights. Conclusions are simple: Advertisers are expecting their media partners to forecast outcomes and make some guarantees based on. Talking about TV broadcasts, it still reaches large numbers but the rate at which it’s decline has accelerated, especially for the younger consumers. Additionally, the speaker mentioned, estimated global digital media spend for 2018 which is 283$bn and estimated global trade marketing spend for 2018 which is 1$T.

The next panel was conducted by different branch speakers and made up a theme of the digital advertising measurement landscape in Europe. At the end of this day, the winners of IAB Europe’s MIXX Awards 2019 were celebrated at the evening.

Wednesday, 05 Jun 2019

Day two was opened with no delay by short introduction and appreciation for those who were present that day. The first lecturer was Krzysztof Sobieszek from Publics Media Poland. He spoke about missed challenges for digital industry. From 1.3$ trillion spent last year on digital transformation 900$ billion went to waste.  Changes are now a mainstream, 76% of executives have transformation agenda in place and 81% agree that business transformation agenda is in particularly strong momentum.

This year’s edition of the IAB focused to a large extent on the topic of AI and digital, which was discussed by the following speakers:

  • Paul Crick from IBM Europe brought the topic of reinventing the marketing with AI a bit closer to us. Today’s marketers are faced with a new set of problems, too much data to make sense of it, lack of trust in brands and growing customers’ expectations.
  • Kristanne Roberts and  Duncan Southgate from Kantar spoke about pain points of digital growth. While digital cost-effectively builds brands, people aren’t happy about it and nor are marketers. Average receptivity to online ads went down in 2018 – 8% and almost 84% of marketers agree that it’s tough to assess digital when given blind spots in measurement. It’s very important to create content that will be able to positively engage the audience with something they can enjoy, delay them skipping the ad.
  • Christina Keller from Facebook said that Creativity is becoming a key asset for business, which want to lead a change instead of chasing it. So, how to access the source of creativity and transform your business? Break through and reward the interest is the answer.

The conference confirmed that GDPR is still a hot topic!

Companies in Europe are now able to build an ecosystem that is strong and fully compliant with all European privacy laws. In the context of GDPR management and the central aggregation of user data on the server-side lead to increased complexity and often inconvenient user experiences. Since server-side aggregation is the root of the problem we should move the aggregation of data to the client side for instance to the browser. What was also mentioned? GDPR’s new revenue streams. Contentpass, enables publishers to comply with EU General Data Protection while publishers at the same time generate more revenue with advertising. Being a publisher is not fun these days – GDPR hurts data driven ads, ePrivacy is looming, there is 40% ad-blocking on desktop and traffic is mostly controlled by Google and Facebook. Subscriptions only work with a few loyal readers and browsers restrict 3rd – party tracking. It affects us all.

So what is the key for success?

Companies that embrace creativity outperform rivals in revenue growth and market share in more than 67% of revenue growth he concluded.

Creativity is a gift to some extent, but it can be learned, skilled and nurtured

What are the fundamentals? 

To find a space, enable connections, open channels, solve problems, remove the barriers and follow through.

The final speakers of Warsaw Interact conference spoke about influencer marketing most effective future “algorithm” to reach consumers. Advertisers use them to reach consumers. We need to take authenticity and transparency more seriously, identifying ROI (return of investment) of influencer marketing and to be compliant with zero-tolerance to code breaches policy.

The whole Warsaw Interact 2019 conference ended just on lunch time. Leaving the audience with bright new ideas and a mountain of questions towards the speakers. Fortunately, straight after each presentation they were more than happy to answer any given question. The organizers closed the event with a notable “Thank you for the time we spent together” which placed a superb accent at the end. 

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