Media Data & Privacy Media Planning and Buying

How advertisers can maximize the benefits of addressable media

By Jon Watts and Ian Maude | Executive Directors

January 30, 2023 | 10 min read

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The economic downturn in Europe looks set to accelerate the shift in ad spend to addressable media, raising the question of what advertisers should do to address the challenges and maximize the benefits.

In a growing but slowing advertising market, advertiser budgets in the UK and Europe are expected to shift to addressable media

In a growing but slowing advertising market, advertiser budgets in the UK and Europe are expected to shift to addressable media

The UK and European advertising market is still growing but slowing as the economic uncertainty continues. The major agency groups now forecast that ad spend in Western Europe will rise between 2-4% this year, down from 7-8% growth last year.

These numbers mask wide differences between countries, but the core trends are much the same everywhere with the growth of addressable media and overlapping drive for greater data privacy forming the foundations of a new advertising ecosystem.

The downturn seems likely to accelerate the shift in advertiser budgets to addressable media in the UK and Europe, as businesses come under increasing pressure to maximize their advertising bang for buck across media. But what needs to happen to help advertisers allay the challenges and realize the benefits that addressable media can offer?

This is one of the key questions which the European Addressable Media Initiative, led by Finecast, LiveRamp, Amobee, Comscore, Lotame, Magnite, Neustar, OneTrust and PubMatic, in partnership with PXI, set out to answer in its recent report.

The report outlines a set of recommendations to help European advertisers as well as media owners position their businesses for the future and support a vibrant addressable media ecosystem. These include support for cross-media measurement and measurement innovation, as well as best practice guidelines for ID solutions and data management.

Cross media planning & measurement

Growth in addressable media is being driven by and driving long-term changes in consumer behavior and innovation in technology. The way that ads are bought and sold is moving from a media-centred model to a more audience-based approach.

As Oliver Shayer, director of omni-media at Boots, explains: “It’s essential for us to understand how each media channel talks to our different audiences but also how we can combine different media, so they deliver more effective performance overall rather than singly.”

Nicole Ferguson, managing director of growth at GroupM Germany, also highlights the importance of cross media planning and measurement: “There’s no way around addressable media and programmatic advertising. It bridges silos and enables us to activate and optimize campaigns across publishers and broadcasters. And there are more and more addressable channels which is great for our clients. But it also creates new challenges because we still don’t have a common measurement currency which works across all these channels.”

Making cross media planning and buying more efficient needs to be a key priority for the industry, according to Amobee’s head of growth EMEA, Piper Heitzler, who points out that: “Advertisers are always focused on two axes: performance and price, but when companies are facing more tailwinds than headwinds (such as in this economic climate), they pivot to becoming laser focused on the combination of price plus performance equals value. To help advertisers better quantify the value of addressable media, ad tech players need to make buying across different media environments far more standardized.”

At present, in most European countries the cross media planning and measurement ecosystem remains highly fragmented and complex.

The UK’s Project Origin and Nationaal Media Onderzoek (NMO), the combined Joint Industry Committee (JIC) in the Netherlands, are good examples of new approaches. But these initiatives have taken years to develop, still face a number of limitations and are yet to launch.

Collaboration is essential to overcome these challenges. Therefore, one of the key recommendations of the European Addressable Media Initiative is to urge all players to support moves to develop cross media measurement systems.

Paul Goode, senior vice-president of strategic partnerships, Comscore, acknowledges much still needs to be done but is optimistic: “Cross-media measurement is in essence the challenge of resolving proprietary ID schema into a single consistent ID space. In the US, the ANA has partnered with Comscore to test the WFA’s methodology to deliver reach and frequency measurements across television and digital media audiences. The results are due this quarter.”

Common approaches to certifying measurement partners could also play a powerful role in supporting innovation across the addressable ecosystem, supported by different trade bodies and media owners.

This would give buyers the confidence to work with different partners and deliver important efficiencies, reducing the requirement for every buyer to perform their own detailed due diligence, at least in part. The costs of accreditation could be covered by research providers seeking certification.

Adapting to a cookieless world

The deprecation of third-party cookies and other traditional digital identifiers is another key challenge for advertisers as well as media owners.

According to Lotame’s Beyond the Cookie research in early 2021, ID solutions topped marketers’ must-have investments and over half of publishers were seeking ID solutions.

This urgency waned after Google’s cookie delays, but the impact of Apple’s and Firefox’s restrictions mean that adapting to the increasingly cookieless world is now an urgent priority on both sides of the market. Lotame’s latest research shows the number of marketers and publishers that see testing and selecting ID solutions as urgent has doubled in the last year.

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Its chief revenue officer Chris Hogg, puts it starkly: “Marketers and publishers are in an adapt-or-die moment. Their future depends on testing and adopting privacy-first ID solutions now. First-party data will only work for a select few who have tremendous scale. Everyone else will need tried and tested cookieless ID solutions, such as Panorama ID, that will work when third-party cookies are gone to find and reach new customers.”

As it is still unclear which cookieless ID solutions will be the eventual winners, European Addressable Media Initiative’s recommendation is for companies to test and understand at least one of each of the main types of ID solutions that are relevant to their business.

Advertisers with little or no first-party customer or user data may want to focus on probabilistic shared IDs, cohort-based solutions, and contextual targeting. Those with authenticated customer data should add first-party and deterministic IDs to the mix.

Smaller advertisers should choose solution providers who will help them with market insights and developing best practices. Companies should also ensure that test and learn programs measure the efficacy of the ID solutions they are using not just the quality of the audiences.

According to Sam Shapiro-Kline, director of growth at Neustar, a TransUnion company, “Programmatic ID solutions are poised to preserve and expand addressability for European marketers. Increasing interoperability and simplifying their implementation and use will help publishers manage the proliferation of IDs and harness them for their benefit.”

For more details on these and other recommendations to help European advertisers and media owners maximize the opportunities from the shift to addressable advertising download the Initiative’s report via the link below.

This article is part of a series examining the findings of the European Addressable Media Initiative. Click here to download the full report.

Media Data & Privacy Media Planning and Buying

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