GroupM's Interaction 2016

25 Apr 2016


Insights from 45 Markets Reveal Opportunities and Challenges for Reaching 2.3B Online Consumers

NEW YORK  & LONDON — GroupM today published Interaction 2016, an annual report offering insights into digital advertising globally. It covers consumer behaviors, technology and marketplace trends, as well as figures on the number of consumers online, the amount of advertising investment directed to meeting them there, the most popular online platforms and the amount of commerce transacted online. The 2016 edition discusses six macro trends believed important for study including adblocking; the integrity of digital supply; mobilization 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. The report suggests that 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.

Interaction is part of GroupM’s This Year, Next Year thought leadership series which taps into WPP’s global network of communications, data and research companies to form the most comprehensive views of the media industry worldwide. Interaction 2016 includes data from 45 countries and analysis by GroupM’s Chief Digital Officer, Rob Norman and Futures Director, Adam Smith.

GroupM predicts digital advertising in 2016 to comprise 31 percent of measured advertising investment in media, up from 28 percent in 2015 and representing a 14.4 percent increase to surpass 160 billion USD. The investments are aimed at reaching nearly 2.3 billion adults expected to use the Internet in the year, and increasingly executed programmatically. In 2015, 37 percent of display ad investment was transacted programmatically, up from 21 percent in 2014.

The effectiveness of these investments is impaired by problems with the integrity of digital supply including fraud, viewability and measurement, which past Interaction reports have explored. This year, the report also seeks to add clarity to the issue of adblocking. Some correspondents reported a lack of hard facts on the state of adblocking, but 19 countries reported figures on the percentage of users with adblocking technology installed on their devices. Countries with the highest percentage of consumers using adblocking tech included France, Poland and Austria – each reporting greater than 30% of users.

“The rise in consumer adoption of adblocking technology violates the inferred consumer contract with content owners which enables advertising investment to support content development. For this reason, and its potential to inhibit brands’ ability to reach their audiences, it merits close study and preventative measures,” said Adam Smith, Futures Director. “We have much farther to go in understanding the true impact of adblocking as estimates of lost inventory are scarce. We will be tracking closely the progress of initiatives like the IAB’s LEAN program in the U.S. which encourages publishers to develop light, encrypted, ad choices-supported, and non-invasive advertising strategies to reduce page latency and other nuisances that may encourage the adoption of blockers.”

In addition to ad avoidance, other important trends discussed in Interaction 2016 include:
  • Integrity of Digital Supply: Impression and non-impression-based ad fraud remain concerns and risk varies by market. GroupM recommends working with trusted partners, use of pre-bid controls in unknown markets, development of specific contracts and reliance on verification tools and vendors.
  • Use of Apps: A majority of smartphone users have between 30 to 50 apps installed, and this rise of app usage is a challenge for advertisers. Emerging, more interactive, app-native ad formats hold promise.
  • E-commerce: Globally, e-commerce is expected to reach 1.81 trillion USD this year (8 percent of global retail), up from 1.57 trillion in 2015. E-commerce strategies enabling transactions anywhere and anytime are on the rise and will become the norm.
  • OTT TV: TV consumption is increasingly non-linear, particularly with younger audiences. However, correspondents reported comparatively minor shifts in investment due to a prevalent lack of understanding about non-traditional formats and lack of standardized audience measurement around digital video. Next year, we expect that live streaming of video on Facebook and other platforms will be a significant topic in Interaction.
  • Applying Data: Correspondents reported that the accessibility, the collection and the application of data from owned and third-party sources remains an imperative and a challenge for many clients.
“We are not now, nor have we ever been, in ‘steady state’ with digital advertising. The velocity of change makes for a dizzying environment for marketers, but we’ve identified what we believe to be enduring truths,” said Rob Norman, Chief Digital Officer. “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. Though there is more still to understand about ad avoidance trends, data does suggest the time is now to share in a profound sense of responsibility, transparency and vigilance to ensure the ongoing engagement of consumers with brand communications.”

About GroupM
GroupM is the leading global media investment management company serving as the parent to WPP media agencies including Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, Maxus, and Essence, as well as the programmatic digital media platform, Xaxis, each global operations in their own right with leading market positions. GroupM’s primary purpose is to maximize performance of WPP’s media agencies by operating as leader and collaborator in trading, content creation, sports, digital, finance, proprietary tool development and other business-critical capabilities. GroupM’s focus is to deliver unrivaled marketplace advantage to its clients, stakeholders and people.

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