The Evolution of Spanish Ad Tech: Interview with Mario Torija, Index Exchange

In association with Index Exchange.

Coinciding with ATS Madrid 2022, ExchangeWire speaks to Mario Torija, managing director Spain, Index Exchange, to discuss the current state of play in the Spanish advertising landscape, and how the ecosystem is set to evolve in the coming years.

How is digital advertising set to change in the short-medium term following the deprecation of third-party cookies? Will we see more of a dichotomy between the open and authenticated web?

The deprecation of third-party cookies means a huge opportunity for the industry, as they never were a perfect solution for addressability, especially from a consumer privacy point of view.
This change is therefore a great opportunity for our industry to question the way we're working and come up with solutions that are privacy-focused, ultimately delivering better advertising experiences to consumers. For instance, universal IDs have been designed with a consumer-centric approach that is safe for privacy. Ultimately, this will mean more marketing budgets going towards the open and trusted web.

Following the deprecation of third-party cookies, how will regulatory scrutiny into ad tech change?

The ad tech industry has been adapting to regulatory changes for years, including with GDPR in 2018. Most recently, France and Italy, which are similar to Spain from a cultural or business standpoint, adopted regulations for consent management following the respective recommendations from the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) and the Italian Data Protection Authority - which shows again the importance the consumer role will have in the future of our industry.

So there’s no doubt that following the deprecation of third-party cookies regulatory bodies will still be vigilant on how the ad tech industry is working. Our industry should leverage regulatory changes as an opportunity for our industry to continue to develop in the right direction.

New regulations are very often a way to weed out bad actors, so we can expect the players who have a consumer- and privacy-centric approach to thrive. Consumer trust is essential to our businesses and we need to collaborate in order to bring more transparency and efficiency that will allow us to drive greater revenues, while ensuring that consumers’ privacy is respected by everyone along the supply chain.

What devices are Spanish audiences turning to post-pandemic? What new channels are Index Exchange exploring?

Mario Torija

Mario Torija, managing director Spain, Index Exchange

Mobile and CTV are currently the rising channels in Spain, and both will help provide a cross-screen experience for consumers.

A study released by the Mobile Marketing Association Spain and WARC in 2021 shows that almost four in five marketers surveyed declared that they have adopted a mobile-first approach to their marketing strategy. Then, following the evolution in consumers' habits brought by the change in our way of living during the pandemic, 41% of internet users are accessing content through connected TVs in 2021 (versus 21% in 2018) according to the last Magna report for digital advertising in EMEA.

Index Exchange is focused on expanding our omnichannel capabilities to support different formats and channels. We recently rebuilt our entire exchange architecture to allow more innovation and integration that will enable media owners and buyers to transact across the spectrum of programmatic ad formats within a single platform.

How are content consumption habits set to change in the coming years? Are we approaching peak subscription fatigue?

The pandemic has changed content consumption habits and reinforced digital consumption across all demographics and I think this trend will continue.

Revenue made by over-the-top (OTT) services such as Netflix or Movistar+ has more than doubled in 2020 compared to 2019 to reach €492m (£421m), and it’s expected to keep growing in the coming years to reach €850m (£727m) in 2025.

I don’t know if we can speak about subscription fatigue, since the digitalisation of media consumption is accelerating, and media owners are still working to adapt their business models to meet both their business goals and their audience needs. But, media owners should think about a greater way to explain the value proposition that stands between consuming content and the monetisation of their content through ads.

How does Index Exchange see the Spanish market evolving in the next three-to-five years? How will this evolution compare to other European and global markets?

The Spanish digital advertising market is expanding and programmatic growth has accelerated over the last few years. According to the latest Magna report, 68% of the transactions in digital advertising in Spain are done programmatically, and this number is expected to increase by 10% within the next 18 months. The growth is mostly attributed to new ways of media consumption that we’re seeing not just in Spain - but in most countries around Europe.

CTV being one of these emerging channels is exponentially growing across the world - and Spain is seeing the same trend. This is a great opportunity for the market, which will be able to innovate and also define its own standards and processes for what good looks like. CTV & mobile channels, will definitely play a role in bringing the market together, and increase a collaboration that has been needed for a while. This collaboration will also provide the ability for marketers to know who they are actually buying from.

To that end, Index Exchange is actively involved and contributing on the subject - we’ve recently co-authored ads.cert 2.0 and the cryptographic security protocols designed to secure the CTV supply chain, to provide full visibility into each transaction and confidence in the legitimacy of each impression.

I’m excited to witness and contribute to the growth of the programmatic landscape in Spain. We have work to do, but we will get there - and ensure that Spain is a reference in the domain, globally.