Last week in Lisbon, leading publishers across Europe and abroad gathered for the first Digiday Publishing Summit Europe of 2017.  As expected header bidding, ad blocking, and the “Google/Facebook duopoly” were amongst the dominant topics. Witnessing the growing urge within the publishing community to have a collective voice against these two forces as well as other issues publishers face was both striking and empowering. Below are a few of my takeaways from the event.

Header Bidding Will Become More Strategic
The need for better latency, transparency, and greater control continue to drive publishers to experiment with header bidding. With so many taking advantage of header bidding, selecting the right solution will be imperative for European publishers in 2017. Whether it’s the client-side or server-side, the ultimate decision on a heading bidding solution will depend heavily on tech partner capabilities, publisher resources, and the complexity of the integration. Determining KPIs, examining domains, and weighing the importance of cookie matching are all important factors for publishers to also consider.

A solution-driven approach to ad blocking
During the summit publishers openly collaborated with one another, shared their experiences, and offered their own successes against ad blocking. Publishers have accepted that ad blocking will not easily go away. The balance between user experience and ad serving remains at the forefront of this issue. Publishers must educate their audiences on the importance of ads and experiment with a variety of message types. These are necessary steps for publishers to take in order to succeed against ad blocking. 

Big Data and Preparation for New Regulations
Continuously brought up in presentations, publishers have agreed that data analysis is crucial to the overall success of a programmatic strategy. With that The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Act here in Europe seems to be gaining momentum among publishers. Going into effect in May 2018, this law will require all European publishers to audit their foreign partners to ensure compliance surrounding data collection and protection of EU residents.

In all Digiday Publishing Summit Lisbon facilitated an environment for publishers to speak up. While publishers understood that certain objectives cannot always be aligned, there was a strong willingness to band together on key issues. This was an impactful opportunity for publishers to come together and I look forward to Digiday Programmatic Summit Dublin in the Spring.