Macro Industry Trends – Notes from the IAB Global Summit

Last week, IAB leadership from over 15 countries gathered to discuss the state of the digital marketing industry and the global impact of regulations, rapid advancements in AI and fundamental changes to the ad tech landscape. After three days of sharing intelligence through presentations, panel discussions and town hall sessions, our international community was able to take home valuable insights as we plan for the coming months and year ahead. 

While each market is working through local dynamics, there are some important global trends that we are watching across borders. Following are some of the key areas we discussed at length. 

Uncertainty is Framing Ad Markets Worldwide 

From corporate social responsibility and contributing to SDG targets to planning against headwinds caused by supply chain issues and inflation, we are currently experiencing a “Polycrisis” moment in time. This requires careful considerations towards short, mid, and long-term outcomes. Marketers must navigate several KPIs at once. 

Economic Environment is Favourable for Ad Spend 

Uncertainty creates a market dynamic that is favourable for advertising. Brand loyalty shifts are at play as consumers become price sensitive which stimulates activity as brands look to secure or gain market share. Across all markets our IAB network confirm increased digital ad activity despite the consistent reality of rising consumer price indexes. 

Digital Advertising is Growing in Scope & Value 

As categories continue to come online to participate in the digital supply chain, we are seeing a resurgence in calls for standards and guidelines. The efficiencies that have long been established into the digital media infrastructure are being expanded on to include audio, CTV, OOH and retail media. Progress is evident through the IAB Tech Lab’s work on Open Measurement SDK for CTV – which allows for video measurement to be consistent with digital video as well as the launch of a Retail Media working group to build out the technical standards specific to the emerging channel.  

AI Holds Tremendous Opportunities 

While there is much concern about the impact AI will have on our sector in terms of jobs, a great presentation from Daniel Knapp, Chief Economist of IAB Europe, outlined some much-needed perspective on how the industry has handled automation in recent history. Knapp pointed to the adoption of programmatic and how job growth remained stable throughout its emergence to mainstreaming. 

AI stands to assist in driving efficiencies across the buying process and can create space for increased creativity and innovation. 

As we look towards developing frameworks for ethical and effective uses of AI for digital advertising, IAB Canada will be playing a key leadership role in the AI conversation across our global network. We will be working closely with IAB Tech Lab and international IABs to pool our collective intelligence towards innovating for a sustainable, secure, and efficient media supply chain. 

The biggest take away from last week was that we are part of a powerful network. IAB unites 45 countries and over 4,000 members globally and is working hard to drive every market towards common global standards that will ensure this dynamic sector continues to innovate and thrive around the world. IAB Canada is incredibly proud to be part of this impressive network and we are so grateful to our members for helping us represent our local interests on the global stage.