Csaba Szabo of Integral Ad Science on Contextual Advertising and CTV

Csaba Szabo is Managing Director EMEA at Integral Ad Science. I recently caught up with Csaba to learn more about its role, advertising trends such as contextual advertising and connected television (CTV), and next steps for IAS.

Image credit: Csaba Szabo

Tell me about your role at IAS – what are you focusing on the most right now?

I joined IAS earlier this year as Managing Director for EMEA to further expand growth in our priority markets. My primary focus is to leverage our industry-leading products, data and insights to deepen our relationships with our customers and partners in the EMEA region.

I believe we have a winning formula in programmatic and I’m excited about our strong focus on expanding with social platforms and doubling down on agency relationships. I believe we’re very well positioned to win in CTV as well, so I’m excited to bring our offerings to the region.

I’m also a leader of our ESG task force at IAS, and I look forward to working alongside a passionate and dedicated team on our ambitious goals to make IAS an even more diverse and inclusive company that makes positive contributions. to our social and physical environment.

Compassion and a strong moral compass have always been at the core of my heart, both as a person and as a leader. Assuming positive intent and believing that we are all working together towards a good outcome are beneficial driving forces in my roles as both regional leader and business partner to many global brands.

It is even more important that I bring these core beliefs to global markets as we tackle issues related to geopolitical conflicts and the role the Internet plays in them. It really puts our work in a new perspective. Reducing misinformation and creating a safer and more reliable Internet experience is of critical importance around the world, as is ensuring that advertising budgets do not support misinformation programs. This work matters more than ever.

The start of 2022 has been busy for me and for IAS, but despite challenging circumstances, we are already delivering strong results. We made strategic acquisitions such as Context, a European artificial intelligence and video classification company. We also deepened partnerships and platforms, and really maximized the results. It’s exciting to join the company at such a fruitful time for innovation and business development.

How are advertisers currently approaching brand safety?

Advertisers are clearly shifting their focus from brand safety to the intersection of brand safety and appropriateness. This has become paramount for brands, not only to prevent ads from appearing alongside unwanted content, but also to allow them to appear alongside contextually relevant content online.

This has become more difficult due to the pandemic pushing people to consume more digital content than ever, while social justice movements have permeated news cycles. As we continue to navigate through the pandemic and military conflict in Europe, emerging analytics technologies are giving advertisers the tools to instantly gain accurate ad targeting techniques at scale.

What are some of the biggest trends you see in your industry?

There are two main trends in ad technology right now. The first is the adoption of contextual targeting. Google’s move from FLoC to Topics was the tipping point in digital advertising’s evolution from audience-based targeting to contextual targeting. More and more advertisers and publishers are integrating contextual information and strategies to optimize the quality of their digital media, with consumer privacy being the number one priority.

As a result, brand risk saw a significant decline, improving by -6.9 percentage points between H2 2020 and H2 2021 for mobile web video environments for example. This news should be a call to action for every marketer and publisher to be proactive and consider how they will expand their contextual efforts in the coming months, especially since context can increase ad recall. up to 40%.

We are also seeing more and more advertiser budgets shifting to CTV. The audience growth it has seen during the pandemic continues unabated and, in response, it is making up a growing share of the media mix.

What is the next step for IAS in terms of business strategy and growth?

As mentioned above, the use of CTV is growing rapidly, and so it is an area of ​​focus for IAS. Nearly half of media experts agree that CTV and digital video hold the greatest potential for innovation in 2022.

Yet, where the cost per thousand (CPM) is high, fraudsters may look for ways to get ahead of the technology. But other verification measures, such as brand safety for CTV or video content classification, can help combat fraud in the industry. Through our acquisition of Context and Publica, as well as continued innovation, we have a fantastic opportunity to build on our CTV successes and accelerate our growth in 2022 and beyond.

Social partnerships are also high on the agenda. Platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube continue to be a staple of media plans, so bringing security and suitability options to these areas is essential.

Finally, the company will focus on offering its services to an even wider international audience. One of the main reasons why I felt excited to join IAS was not only its already existing position as an international market leader, but also its great ambitions to expand into new frontiers.

We work closely with our largest customers and partner with them in markets that are critical to their strategy, and then bring our products and services into these new regions to support them.

What advice would you give to people new to advertising?

Whether someone is starting their journey in advertising or have been there for many years, I encourage them to never stop learning.

Technology and the market are changing rapidly, creating more and more complexity for all players in the ecosystem. I remember how complicated LUMAscapes in our industry seemed 15 years ago – it’s not easier now.

Exposure to as many parts of the ecosystem as possible is important for anyone just starting out. I had the good fortune to work on the publisher side first, gaining experience running an ad network, working with the creative side, as well as the marketers within a brand, before finally joining IAS…

Whatever the background, striving for excellence and a superior customer experience is essential. I still rely on the advice given by my managing director when I started my career in a small management consulting firm in Hungary. They told me to ask a simple question before sending a job to a client: “If you were to show this job to the Queen of England, would you be proud of it?”

It was a fabulous early learning experience in such a customer-obsessed environment, and it’s a lesson that has stuck with me and served me well over the past two decades.

Marilyn J. Hernandez