At the IAS Innovation Summit, we invited agency leaders to our agency change discussion to highlight their incredible insights. Paul Nasse, Managing Director for Northern Europe at Integral Ad Science hosted the conversation with fellow agency experts: Helen Price, Head of Global Accountability at IPG Mediabrands, Christian Wilkens, Chief Digital Officer with Mediacom Germany and Hannah Beanland, Global Director, Digital Operations at Dentsu Aegis.
The conversation began, as most do in this unprecedented year, with the coronavirus pandemic. The group focused on how agencies first reacted to the pandemic, and more importantly whether their initial approach has changed. Helen Price raised the first point that while the anxiety of advertisers increased due to the influx of negative online content and misinformation surrounding the pandemic, “we saw a huge increase in the consumption of news.” The adverse result was that as premium publishers produced news content that drove huge readership, advertisers stayed away. Helen went on to comment, “we made recommendations on how to achieve a balance,” citing partners like IAS as an effective solution to avoid content that could cause potential harm for brands. Hannah Beanland hit the issue on the head when she stated, “It’s business as usual, we just need some adjustment.”
Believe it or not, not all agency change is pinned to COVID-19, the leaders go on to focus on the role of technology and data. Hannah Beanland kicks off this section of the discussion commenting that where data in the past could be seen as a “box ticked” it’s now more important than ever to dive deeper into the data at your disposal and identify trends, both good and bad, to better your campaigns and verification needs. “We’ve all had these technologies in place, but often they’re just sitting there… it’s time to get the full value out of what we have,” stated Hannah.
On the subject of technology at their disposal, the group stated it would be remiss to not discuss the agency change happening as a result of the deprecation of third party cookies, and the rise of contextual capabilities. Christian Wilkens stated that, “we’ve never been in a situation where cookie collection has been as high as it is now,” referencing the post-GDPR onslaught of compliant tick boxes that are so familiar to online consumers. As the third party cookie comes to the end of its life,”what we’ve seen over the last month is that contextual is becoming more and more relevant,” stated Wilkens.
The assembled group of experts then look ahead, to define what they will take from 2020. One word rang true with all the leaders, “proactivity.” Being proactive in navigating agency change and how to take a global media ecosystem fully digital, while still maintaining processes and empathy. And as far as their wishes for 2021 were concerned, it was no surprise that it’s the “old normal” the leaders beckoned for, a good holiday and a pint.
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