Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Programmatic Predictions: Sophie Toth, Global Programmatic and Adtech Lead, Euronews 

By Sophie Toth, Global Programmatic and Adtech Lead, Euronews 

What impact has the events of 2020 had on the programmatic advertising industry and how is it recovering? 

The biggest impact we had is the sudden CPM drop, strict and sometimes-unnecessary brand safe targeting as well as pausing or cancelling mainly programmatic direct campaigns as a quick answer to the pandemic.  

Comparing programmatic to other digital media, we were still in a fortunate position because although OMP spending was slowed down in early spring, we could maintain a good level of revenue via programmatic by reacting swiftly to the change of digital climate.  

Euronews as news broadcaster had also suffered from pulling digital budget completely from news content and advertisers’ panic around BS and COVID news. Now,  we know everyone could have done better on this tactical decision.

Supply and demand definitely should have communicated and worked together more closely in the first place but having had all these difficulties, the market started to recover during the summer and lost and paused budgets started to flow in again with slightly different strategies and this trend stayed during the second wave of the lockdown in the UK.

I believe as a publisher I am not alone – I have never experienced this pressure and being this busy with deals and new opportunities. We are definitely recovering on all fronts. The budget is definitely there but advertisers needed to take a step back and think, adjust to the new “normal” and build up their new strategy from scratch.  

I am proud that despite of pandemic Euronews programmatic could hit its original target; moreover we were able to over-perform the business expectation by working and educating our clients.  

What is the biggest opportunity in programmatic for 2021, and why? 

The biggest opportunity in direct programmatic deals, thus higher CPMs and better yield as well as more first-party audience deals.  

What is the biggest challenge that programmatic faces in the year ahead? 


Taking out the third-party cookie deprecation from the challenge list as we have been talking about his and ID for years now. NPA and limited ads with all the regulations and challenges around them as well as finding the best way to monetise our most precious inventory in a well-balanced way between programmatic and non programmatic campaigns without jeopardising any of them.  

What channels will fare best? And worst? 

 Channels where we will be able to execute a highly engaging, innovative and relevant advertisement with a relatively good interaction rate will be the winner. If I needed to say the one, I would go with CTV or OTT. As opposed to the worst which is print or linear TV.

How will new and emerging channels such as TV, outdoor and audio better plug into one-to-one programmatic channels? 

I am sure that they have been working on these challenges already. They must adopt the necessary tech, which needs to be integrated to be able to keep up with other players. They need to focus on targeting capabilities, for instance CPM integration on CTV, not forgetting about, better attribution modelling possibilities, combining with other channels.

What do you most hope will happen in the industry? What do you most fear? 

Hope is more human communication and more direct campaign execution between demand and supply and a more controlled and standardised ecosystem.

Quick and inefficient adaption of the best first-party audience and the capability of finding the final substitution of third-party cookies which will be commercially independent and able to work at least as well as these third-party unique IDs have for decades, with a fear of Google uncertainty about this as well.