• 08 June 2017

    Have you ever wondered what keeps your marketing peers awake at night? How other organisations are approaching the marketing transformation that’s sweeping our industry? Or even how other CMOs are preparing for a future media ecosystem?

    ISBA sits in a privileged position, in a constant dialogue with and surveying the behaviours of the biggest brands in the country, this gives us a unique perspective on what’s exciting and worrying our marketers and enables us to track key trends and activities.

    This week we are thrilled to share some brand new insights from a tracking study, Media 2020 on which we partnered with MediaSense and IPSOS Connect. The study explores how ISBA members are organising themselves to meet the challenges of the rapidly evolving media ecosystem.

    With over 260 senior marketers and media decision makers taking part, the report is one of the most comprehensive surveys on marketing change management to date and builds on trends we identified in a similar study in 2015.

    The report indicates that ISBA members are a progressive bunch, leading the way in reconfiguring themselves into more data driven, customer centric businesses.

    All interviewees agreed that organising resources around customers also means owning customer strategy and customer data. Over three quarters of respondents (78%) rate data analytics and data insights as a critical media capability (vs. 67% in 2015) and over half (54%) see data management as an in-house capability (up from 42% in 2015). 

    Marketers told us they felt empowered by data, that it enables them to be more accountable and drives more authority for marketing at board level. For all, insight from data, not the data itself, was absolutely crucial to driving growth of their organisation and controlling that customer data, allowing greater visibility of the customer journey, was critical.  

    In-sourcing data management activities, data modelling and data activation is increasingly common amongst brands as they build their confidence. This is having an interesting effect on agency relationships, with over half the respondents in the survey claiming they would seek strategic advice on data management not from their agency partners but from their own internal teams, or as one senior marketer put it:

    “As a result of the new insight performance teams, we have taken back strategic control of our brands from agencies”

    And this charge to in-house activities is being led by the c-suite, over two-thirds (68%) of directors agreed that marketers will do more in-house.  Amongst more data- driven businesses there is an imperative to bring in new specialist talent with distinct skill sets, especially around data science.

    Marketing is broadening its scope and taking control with the emergence of new super integrated marketing teams including data scientists, marketing scientists, analysts and engineers working seamlessly together to drive growth.  Agile ways of working are breaking down organisational silos.

    Agility of operating models is now a prerequisite, both internally and externally, in order to achieve this data driven, customer centric nirvana. Key requirements of new operating models highlighted were flexibility, adaptability, scalability and iterative thinking over rigid process.

    Agency partners are now expected to present more flexible, varied and agile models, to experiment and change as their client needs evolve BUT many felt agency models were not evolving quickly enough and are hampered by legacy structures and processes.  And in a watch out for the agency community, 62% of respondents said they will be using fewer agencies in the future.

    In essence this study affirms that marketing will continue on its road to transformation, many are already on the data delivery superhighway, but many more are yet to progress.  There is only one certainty in this current environment and that is that more change is to come,  a fact echoed by the 80% of respondents who indicated that further organisational change is required if they are going to develop and deliver dynamic creative.

    Get your copy of the full report

    Media 2020 is rich in insight and I have only touched on a tiny part of what we discovered here, for further insights you can request a copy of the report from me.  


    Debbie Morrison
    Director of Consultancy & Best Practice, ISBA


  • 30 May 2017
    Last week the EU Culture Ministers adopted a General Approach on the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) despite opposition from the UK, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Finland, Denmark and Luxembourg delegations. The decision paves the way for ‘trilogue’ negotiations between the Council, the European Parliament and European Commission on the directive which sets out the basic rules for the European audiovisual sector, including for TV and video-on-demand advertising and alcohol and food advertising, as well as advertising to children and self-regulation.

    Main areas of the Council's position which advertisers should be aware of include:
    • Maintenance of the current regime allowing sponsorship of all programmes, with the exception of news and current affairs programmes.


    • Increased flexibility on quantitative limitations with the 20% per hour rule changing to 20% per 24 hours. Member States are free to determine an additional “prime time window” not exceeding four consecutive hours, during which broadcasters may only allocate 20% of their airtime to advertising, in order to avoid having all the advertising placed during prime time.


    • Consolidation of country-of-origin principle, with jurisdiction rules and co-operation procedures strengthened to deal with problems whereby providers are established in one country but targeting an audience in another.


    • Extension of the scope of application of the rules governing advertising, sponsorship and product placement to video-sharing platforms.


    • Maintenance of current support for self- and co-regulatory codes for the advertising of HFSS food and beverages in children’s programmes, as well as for alcohol advertising. However, it is proposed that national authorities monitor and evaluate the codes of conduct, as well as apply sanctions to self-regulatory authorities.


    • Maintenance of the current definition of children’s programmes for food and beverage advertising as “children’s programmes”, whereas for sponsorship and product placement the definition will be changed to “children’s programmes and content primarily aimed at children”.


    • Extension of product placement from children’s programmes to “content aimed primarily at children” and to user-generated content and video sharing platforms.
    Next steps: The final text agreed last week will be publicly available in the next few weeks. ‘Trilogue’ meetings with the Council are expected to start before the summer recess. The delegations which opposed the adoption of the text will table a statement which will be released together with the minutes of the meeting.

    ISBA actions: ISBA will work with the WFA to carry out an in-depth analysis and assess the implication of the position once the consolidated text is available. Working with the WFA we will continue to engage with key players involved in the ‘trilogues’ and will keep members updated of important developments.

    Find out more about the AVMSD here

  • 22 May 2017

    With greater focus on extremist material, fake news and brand advertising appearing next to unsavoury content, brand safety has again been thrust fully into the limelight. The immediacy of social media makes it far easier for people to spot and share “campaigns that have gone wrong,” resulting in brand safety now being brought to the attention of the masses. What was once a problem discussed solely amongst the digital advertising industry, now has become national front-page news.

    When people explain brand safety, they typically use an example of how things go wrong in a display campaign. One classic given example is that an ad for a family-focused brand appears on a website with adult content. Another commonly quoted example is that an ad for an airline runs beside a news article about a plane crash.

    Careless insertion of an ad could start a public relations firestorm and ultimately damage a brand’s image and reputation. These examples are vivid and easy to understand, but they can make brand safety sound simpler than it is. First of all, a major brand safety misconception must be addressed by brands.

    The top misconception around brand safety that we hear is that brand safety is just about setting up a list of blocked domains and this ensures your brand’s online safety.

    This is one approach to enforcing brand safety -  simply draw up a list of websites and mobile apps that you know will have content that your brand will deem inappropriate and then avoid buying impressions from any properties on that list. While this approach has some merit, it also has several serious drawbacks:

    Lack of precision: If you block an entire domain because some of its pages are unsavoury, you lose out on the scale you could achieve with other, high-quality pages in that same domain.
    Continual manual update: A blocked list has to be constantly expanded as new properties are being created every day.
    Domain spoofing: Bad actors know their website is on your list and will fraudulently sell it under a name you trust instead.

    With fake news and extremist sites dominating the headlines, protecting your brand is more important than ever. Verification providers are able to help protect your campaigns from unsafe environments in the planning stage, as well as during the campaign.

    Here are 5 tips to protect your brand online:

    • Page-level. Domain-level protection is not enough. Different web pages on a website have different content topics, with different levels of risk. Make sure you’re getting page-level protection for true coverage.
    • It’s not binary . Don’t rely on just one or two methods to protect your brand. Use a combination of blocked and acceptable domains,  keywords, and page-level analysis for a fully comprehensive solution.
    • Don’t just set it and forget it. Make sure your  blocked and keyword lists are up to date – and review them on a regular basis. As new scandals, international crises, and other brand concerns crop up, you’ll likely want to add new keywords to your list.
    • Programmatic performance enhancer. Leverage predictive targeting in demand-side platforms (DSPs) to ensure your ads appear on safe environments. With predictive targeting segments, you can target away from risky content; only paying or bidding on impressions that meet your brand safety requirements.
    • Blocking. To ensure more complete protection from risky content, add the ability to block impressions to your brand safety solution. This will ensure your ads are prevented¬≠ from serving near risky content. Remember, you’ll need to use third-party creative ad servers to block in real-time.

    Brand safety isn’t a new problem, we have been building effective solutions since 2009, but new threats can appear unexpectedly. Now that the industry has refocused its gaze on brand safety, what’s next for this topic? Now that brands, agencies and the wider general public are aware of the extent of brand risk within our industry, hopefully the industry can come together to address the challenge and provide effective solutions.

  • 24 January 2017

    Brands are coming under ever greater pressure to prove that their budgets are being spent efficiently and that their campaigns reach their target consumer.

  • 02 December 2016


    Speaking at last month’s JICWEBS (Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards) Townhall event, Alex Tait, UK & Ireland Media Director at Unilever, said the industry needs a collective change in behaviours and mind-set. Accepting that trade bodies can’t solve problems such as viewability and ad fraud on their own, Tait also called for leadership from the whole industry – primarily advertisers, agencies and media owners. 

    Unilever, together with Shell, Santander, Nationwide and Google, have been working with their industry partners on the JICWEBS Cross-Industry Anti-Fraud Working Group to reduce the risk to exposure to Ad Fraud. 
    Tait feels that it’s becoming more difficult to get consensus as fragmentation generates more media players, claiming that it’s hard to drive change in an organisation, even harder in a whole ecosystem. He added that ‘burning platforms’ such as ad verification and ad blocking has made it even more important to restore trust and confidence in Digital.
    The good news is that members of ISBA’s Digital Action Group identified Ad Viewability, Ad Fraud and Online Brand Safety as being the biggest priorities for digital this year – issues being tackled by JICWEBS. Tait, who used to chair the Group’s meetings, believes that ad verification will remain a priority for advertisers next year. 
    Tait also called for advertisers to deepen their engagement with publishers. Acknowledging that the JICWEBS standard on Viewability for display ads is a good starting point, he feels that advertisers need to implement change on Viewability themselves, setting the bar higher and establishing their own standards.
    To conclude, Tait stressed that advertisers need to help fix the basics first, allowing Digital to trade on a like for like basis with other media.
    Members can get involved by:

    • Joining ISBA’s Digital Action Group. Contact David Ellison for details
    • Joining JICWEBS Cross-Industry Anti-Fraud Working Group. Contact David Ellison
    • Attending ISBA’s free, members only events in 2017, including one on Ad Fraud
    David Ellison
  • 14 November 2016

    In the second of a two-part series ahead of the IPA's Effectiveness Week, ISBA's media and advertising manager eyes a world of cloud-based broadcasting.

  • 14 November 2016

    In the first of a two-part series ahead of the IPA's Effectiveness Week, ISBA's media and advertising manager discusses the future of TV

  • 14 November 2016

    In  the wake of Facebook's video measurement blunder, ISBA's Mark Finney outlines the options for a transparent solution

  • 04 October 2016
    Is your company amongst the 20% of UK businesses that haven't yet looked at the new Data Protection rules? Is your organisation amongst the 25% that have suffered a data breach this year?
  • 06 September 2016

    There has been quite a bit of (largely inaccurate) press speculation over the last few weeks on the subject of a proposed joint advertising sales venture for UK news brands.  For those who missed it, this is still at the level of a feasibility study, examining the potential customer and commercial benefits of news brands sharing a commercial future.