If you're a marketer visiting the states for the very first time, you'll be amazed. On the one hand, you're always confronted with advertising everywhere. On the other hand, it's more colorful, louder and usually has a bit more pizzazz than in Europe. On the facades of Times Square, there is hardly a square inch that is not paved with illuminated signs or digital advertising screens. Every (!) sporting event is also a top-class advertising event. And even the smallest coffeeshop doesn't just sell coffee, but also branded mugs, caps and bags.
So it's hardly surprising that the general tenor for years was that the USA is way ahead of Europe in terms of marketing. But is that still true today? And does this also apply to modern digital forms of advertising?
Short answer? Yes and no. Detailed answer? Follows – please just read on!
Adtech is born in the USA ♫ ♪
Adtech got its start in North America. It was from here that innovation took its course. Whether RTB, HeaderBidding, SSP or DSP – everything was more or less invented in the USA. From the very first banner ad in 1994 on hotwired.com to the programmatic advertising we know today, the USA has always been years ahead of Europe in terms of online advertising – from the degree of innovation to the actual use of new technologies in everyday life. So it's only logical that most of the players in the ad tech sector also come from the USA.
Whether Google, Xandr, TheTradeDesk, Yahoo, Pubmatic, ... we have to face the fact: Most large and well-known ad tech companies are American. But just because that's the way it has always been doesn't mean it has to or should stay that way in the future.
The challengers from Europa are on the rise
In fact, there are already some European success stories to celebrate in Adtech. A good example? Adform. Adform was founded in Denmark in 2003. 20 years later it still is headquartered in Europa, but has transformed into a global digital media advertising technology company with offices in 28 countries.
Adform has achieved this through innovation, intelligent product development (interlinking of DMP (Data Management Platform) and DSP (DemandSide Platform)) and last but not least through its DNA. Especially in Europe, the home market, only those who recognize and use their origin as the decisive USP will be able to stand up to the US competition. Those who understand that it makes sense to rely on local partners and can communicate this well to their customers have a real chance of changing the rules of the game and joining the big players sooner or later.
Why we should rely on local partners
That it is important to support local economies has become clearer than ever during the last years. However, many still do not understand why this also important when talking about ads. These 5 reasons should help your understanding:
The different marketing approach
In the States, advertising is part of everyday life. It is much less likely to be perceived as "disturbing" or "annoying". In Europe, on the other hand, people prefer discreet, subtle and unobtrusive advertising. In addition, Europe is a smaller market because of the many different cultures, languages and circumstances. What works in Germany might not work in France. European suppliers know this. They understand the market. They speak its language.
Understanding European realities
But not only language and culture distinguishes Europe from America. The regulatory environment is also very different. The legislation is often a little tricky. The EU in particular simply ticks differently than the USA or the APAC region.
Making business the "correct" way
GDPR, ePrivacy and co: directives like these have emerged from the correct European approach to data protection and privacy. In more liberal markets, however, such developments are rather unwelcome. Nevertheless, they radiate into them. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), for example, can be seen as a latecomer to the the IAB Europe Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF), which has been in place before.
Hands on mentality, hands on site
When partners are on site, it's just different than when they are on another continent. You have a completely different connection. You can really work together on the issues of the day and actually develop the business from the markets and the circumstances. This always benefits everyone involved: advertisers, publishers, agencies and Adtech providers.
Better access to the market
It is in the nature of things that local suppliers have better access to the market and also understand what local markets and customers need. They often simply have a good feel for where the shoe pinches and thus also offer solutions for the customers' needs.
Conclusio? We’re proud to be European!
YES, Adtech is a constant race in innovation. YES, the US has been ahead of the game here for a long time. BUT the times when we had to look across the great pond with awe are slowly but surely over. There are successful challengers in Europe who can do even more than just hold their own against the Americans – and that's something to be proud of. Moreover, we must not forget that, if we want to keep Europe vital as a business location, we have to work together. The cooperation of different European Adtech players, who employ the majority of their staff in Europe and also pay their taxes here, is an important step into the future.
In any case, we at ConnectAd are proud to contribute to the programmatic development of the market in Europe and to support our publishing partners in their business models. Are you still looking for someone like us? Then please do not hesitate to connect. We look forward to meeting you and would love to grow together – in Europe for Europe.