Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Top insights and highlights from IAB Europe’s Interact 2024 Conference in Milan

By Lauren Wakefield, Marketing & Communications Director at IAB Europe

On 21-22 May IAB Europe hosted its annual flagship conference Interact 2024 in Milan where over 240 industry leaders, innovators, and experts came together to answer the big questions needed to shape the future of the digital advertising and marketing industry. 

Thanks to the support of IAB Italy, industry peers enjoyed two days of fascinating content, which focused on the theme ‘The Big Questions. The Smart Answers’

Going beyond standard keynote presentations and panel discussions, Interact was all about the ‘interactive’ this year, with each session framed around a key question that the elite lineup of expert speakers endeavored to answer. No beating around the bush. It was all about delivering the smart answers to the industry’s most important questions.

Across the two days, IAB Europe unpacked a huge variety of topics as they looked to address some of the industry’s biggest challenges and innovations head-on. From the latest ad spend figures, the demise of third-party cookies, and Retail Media to sustainability, policy, measurement, publisher advertising models, and more, the esteemed speakers provided smart, sharp answers to the biggest questions of today, including:  

  • Are sustainability strategies delivering across the value chain?
  • Is the industry ready for the end of third-party cookies?
  • Is TV programmatic buying finally going mainstream?
  • After the hype, is it time for a reckoning for retail media?
  • In “polycrisis” times, what outcomes should digital advertising be delivering?
  • How can publishers reinvent their digital advertising business?
  • What do buyers really want from digital advertising?
  • Where is future digital advertising growth coming from?
  • What comes next for digital advertising regulation?

Event highlights 

IAB Europe’s Chief Economist, Daniel Knapp kicked off Interact by sharing the top-level results from their widely-anticipated 2023 AdEx Benchmark Report to show whether the digital advertising industry experienced growth for 2023 and if so, what markets and channels contributed to this growth. Mark your diaries for 12th June when the full report will be released. 

This set the scene for day one, where speakers explored key aspects of digital advertising in more detail, starting with Diageo and TIM Group sharing insights on transparency, testing, brand loyalty, and innovative areas like AI and VR from their perspective. The intersection of creativity and technology was then discussed, highlighting first-party data and Generative AI. 

The shift from third-party cookies was also addressed, with Mediaplus introducing NERO AI for cookie-less targeting, and Google emphasising Privacy Sandbox technologies. Discussions on industry readiness stressed the importance of collaboration, education, and first-party data. 

IAS focused on combating misinformation and fostering trust, while RTL Group discussed creating a holistic video advertising engine through their recent collaboration with ProsiebenSat.1. The rise of TV programmatic buying and Retail Media’s growth were also examined, emphasising transparency and unified reporting in these areas. 

The first day brought everything together with an exploration of measurement including discussions on cross-media measurement and the crucial industry changes needed for better digital advertising outcomes. 

You can check out the day one round-up on IAB Europe’s website here.

On the second day, IAB Ukraine’s CEO, Anastasiya Baydachenko, provided a heartfelt update on Ukraine and highlighted industry support for the region’s digital advertising. The event then shifted to sustainability in advertising with Scope3 and Sanofi Consumer Healthcare discussing standards to reduce carbon emissions, exemplified by Sanofi’s 30% emission reduction in digital campaigns. 

A discussion led by ExchangeWire explored sustainability readiness and collaborative frameworks across industry bodies and Mail Metro Media highlighted trends for publishers, which were further explored in a publisher-focused discussion that emphasised the importance of first-party data and e-commerce in driving digital advertising strategies forward. 

Subsequent sessions tackled digital advertising policies in the EU, with a focus on post-election regulatory landscapes, and updates on the IAB Europe Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF). The event concluded with a discussion on meeting the transparency obligations of the Digital Services Act (DSA), which stressed the importance of industry-wide common standards.

Check out the day two round-up here

If you’d like to know more about Interact, IAB Europe, and the opportunities available to dive into these key topics and more through membership, you can reach out to the team at