Back to Member Vault

Change is inevitable: why 2023 requires back-to-basics innovation


Effectiveness Measurement User Identity
Effectiveness Measurement User Identity

This content was created by an IAB UK member

Members of IAB UK can contribute to the Member Vault. Log in to submit your content.

Innovation will always be welcome, but 2023 should be seen as an opportunity to reset our framework across three fundamental areas, writes Anna Forbes, UK Country Manager at Azerion

The past few years have seen our industry experience unprecedented change.  

The effects of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis, and a greater awareness of social responsibility have had a huge impact on:  

  • What we buy - from changing our supermarket choice, to putting off the new car.  

  • Where we buy it - such as the adoption of ecommerce which is expected to rise by an additional 19% in 2023 alone (Statista) 

Notwithstanding wider changes in day-to-day consumer behaviour - be it the rise in home working identified by the ONS, to consuming new types of content such as gaming.  

Quite simply, customer priorities and expectations are changing.  

For some brands, these rapid changes represent good news - an opportunity to engage and nurture prospective consumers that were previously out of their reach.  

For most, it’s the opposite - a new reality where established rules in how to reach and engage with audiences have changed at a speed previously unseen. A world where hard-earned loyalty has diminished through little fault of their own.  

Either way, if brands are to remain successful in protecting or growing market share, they must act quickly to create new ‘best practices’ in how they use digital media to understand, target and engage audiences.  

All while trying to negotiate the choppy waters of an increasingly complex digital ecosystem with its ever-changing technology and regulations of course! 

However, whilst it’s often been said that ‘digital advertising has a lot of solutions looking for problems to solve’, we are thankfully well-placed as an industry to help build a considered response and blend long-term brand building with short-term performance.  

But we must calm the temptation that a completely new approach is required. Innovation will always be welcome, but 2023 should be seen an opportunity to reset our framework across three fundamental areas. To do this, brands should think about how to...

1. Understand & find audiences 

Context and conventional targeting will always be valuable, but as consumer behaviour changes, brands must first look at a considered data-led approach to discover who their target audiences actually are vs a reliance on traditional demographic segments.  

There is little value in maintaining the status quo if those buying your brand, product, or service have moved on.  

2. Engage with relevant creativity 

If creativity accounts for nearly 50% of a campaign’s effectiveness (Nielsen), the digital industry needs to use data-led inputs to build better ads that resonate with new audience behaviours. Simply ‘standing out’ to gain attention could even be detrimental if the content does not understand or respect the needs and expectations of modern consumers.  

3. Measure the appropriate outcome 

Where every impression needs to work harder, it’s crucial that brands focus on the most appropriate KPI instead of the most fashionable. For example, if the campaign is about lower-funnel lead generation, that must take priority over upper-funnel awareness and attention.    

Regardless of the goal, we must all challenge measurement suppliers to verify their claims and benchmark data if we’re to maintain effectiveness.  


Digital has always been a progressive industry, led by product innovation. However, with the unique challenges presented to brands in today’s climate, perhaps it’s also time to innovate the framework needed to ensure it delivers those crucial outputs.  

By Anna Forbes, UK Country Manager


Azerion are a media- and technology company that provides safe, reliable and valuable content on a European scale with local presence.

We touch real people when they’re actively engaging with their friends and their favorite content while we help advertisers and publishers to connect with these people at the right time and in a meaningful and valuable way.

We own the content and the technology to guarantee safety and reliability. Our team is located in 19 European offices and make sure we can support our users and clients in a local, specific and personal way.

Posted on: Friday 10 March 2023