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GroupM sees 'enduring digital truths'

News, 27 April 2016

GLOBAL: The digital marketplace is at an important pivot point requiring industry-wide collaboration and commitment to ensure ongoing consumer engagement with brand messages in media, according to a new study.

The annual Interaction report into digital advertising produced by GroupM, and based on insights from 45 markets around the world, highlighted six macro-trends, including ad blocking, the integrity of digital supply, mobilisation and the expansion of app use, TV's transition to over-the-top, the application of data to marketing, and the expansion of e-commerce.

"We are not now, nor have we ever been, in 'steady state' with digital advertising," said Rob Norman, Chief Digital Officer. "The velocity of change makes for a dizzying environment for marketers, but we've identified what we believe to be enduring truths.

"Data and technology have changed advertising for the better, even in video. But ads stop working when they're avoided and when the ecosystem allows fraud, or when strategies don't follow the consumer to apps and commerce anywhere."

The study forecast that digital advertising in 2016 would grow 14.4% to pass $160bn and would account for 31% of measured advertising investment in media, up from 28% in 2015. And more investment is being executed programmatically – 37% of all display advertising was transacted this way in 2015, up from 21% a year earlier.

But, as Norman indicated, the effectiveness of this spending is adversely affected by behaviour such as ad blocking, which varies from country to country but is especially prevalent in several European nations. France, Poland and Austria each reported more than 30% of internet users using ad blocking technology.

But Adam Smith, Futures Director of GroupM noted that there was much work to be done to understand the true impact of ad blocking as "estimates of lost inventory are scarce".

Of the other issues singled out by Norman, non-impression-based ad fraud remains a concern and GroupM recommended working only with trusted partners, using pre-bid controls in unknown markets, and developing specific contracts and reliance on verification tools and vendors.

The growing use of apps also presents a challenge for advertisers, with interactive, app-native ad formats appearing to be the most likely route forward.

Data sourced from GroupM; additional content by Warc staff