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Townsend Feehan on challenges and opportunities for the digital marketing business


Interview med Townsend Feehan, CEO, IAB Europe og taler til Digital Advertising Conference’ 22

From the perspective of IAB Europe, what are the biggest challenges and opportunities for the digital marketing business regarding the media? Both now and in the years to come.

From the point of view of an EU-level association trying to support the digital advertising & marketing industry and drive positive change, the single biggest challenge facing the industry seem to be the sheer complexity arising from the coincidence of multiple challenges. These include regulatory scrutiny, technological innovation (which presents opportunities as well as challenges), the changing expectations of consumers and advertisers, even war and disease, as well as commercial moves by competitors – notably those whose actions have a particularly pronounced impact on the market, such as browsers and operating systems – to leverage or parry the challenges. Media owners, like other stakeholders, need to be able to get their heads around all of these drivers of change at once, and derive strategies to survive and grow. For a trade association, the trick is to know how to provide the best value – which issues the market will address successfully on its own (and what, if anything, an association can do to facilitate that), and which ones leadership by the association itself presents the best chance of positive change being achieved on.

How has the digital advertising business changed within the last decade?

Ten years is a long time in digital advertising. I would not presume to tell DanskeMedier members how their business has changed since 2012 – they will know better than I do how the challenges evoked above have impacted them. This said, it would be interesting to try to reflect together on whether the current pace of change, and the breadth of areas in which we see it, is likely to be maintained or even accelerate over the coming years, or if instead we are in a phase of particular disruption due to a constellation of unrelated factors and can look forward to a period of stability as from some point in the not-too-distant future. The Conference should be a good opportunity for this important conversation.

What are the biggest trends within digital advertising right now and in the next 5-10 years?

A consolidation of advertising spend on data-rich first parties, including media, does seem to be at least one likely outcome of the convergence of the drivers of change evoked above. Whether European media are definitive, durable beneficiaries of this trend would seem to depend on how well other large first parties, including the major platforms, can capitalise on the changes and on what other first parties emerge within the ecosystem. Another important determinant will be how EU data policy and regulation continue to evolve. For example, the antipathy to targeted advertising could undercut scope for personalisation of content or morph into opposition to the advertising business model as such once it becomes apparent that limitations on cross-site tracking will not have the desired impact on online disinformation. Alternatively, we could see wider support for the idea of prohibiting the processing of any personal data for advertising (on the basis of the misperception that contextual advertising can be done without processing personal data), with obvious impact on publishers’ ability to do measurement or frequency capping. IAB Europe also expects a strong focus on environmental sustainability going forward, both as the right thing to do and in reaction to increased scrutiny by policymakers. WRT other trends, I will leave it to Dr. Daniel Knapp, IAB Europe’s Chief Economist, to share his views at the Conference!

What are you most excited about by participating in this year’s Digital Advertising Conference?

For many years, DanskeMedier has been a key pillar of, and leader within, IAB Europe. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this year’s conference and looking forward to enjoying the great programme and to a rich exchange of perspectives and ideas with the other attendees.

Kontakt for mere information

Josefine Anker
Presse- og kommunikationskonsulent
Mobil: 61 77 08 43

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