Digital Advertising Powers Ahead by Suzanne McElligott, CEO, IAB Ireland


It’s been a good year for Digital Advertising and a busy one for IAB Ireland, according to its CEO, Suzanne McElligott – this article was originally published in the Digital Edition December 2015 of IMJ, the Irish Marketing Journal.

After a strong 2015, 2016 is set to be another good year for IAB Ireland. IAB’s role as the trade organisation for digital advertising has never been more important and our membership across all the key digital advertising stakeholders, has never more committed to collaborating in the establishment of industry standards and best practice.

The recently released H1 2015 IAB PwC Online adspend records a landmark €162 million in digital adspend in the first half of 2015, mobile adspend accounted for 40% of total digital adspend, social media display doubled from €10.7m to €22m and digital video advertising achieved a 57% growth to €11m. This strong growth has been driven by the contribution of IAB’s councils across Display, Mobile, Native, Search, Social and Video, with their bespoke research and conference outputs.adspend snip

The positive backdrop is not surprising as digital is the top ranking planned area of growth for Irish marketers (Alternatives/MII Sentiment Survey 2015).  Consumption of digital continues to grow apace, 75% of Irish people use a smartphone (Consumer Barometer with Google 2015) and Web traffic on smartphones in Ireland is almost a third higher than the EU average, a quarter higher than the UK and a tenth higher than the US. A third of all internet usage is via Smartphone (Statcounter, August 2015). 61% of all users consume short form video via smartphones (Statcounter, August 2015).


There are important challenges also facing our industry such as the need for the establishment of Viewable Impression standards that are globally recognised. IAB Ireland has facilitated the set up of a Viewable Impressions Joint Industry Committee with our fellow trade organisations AAI and IAPI. As a director of IAB Europe, I have been nominated to the IAB Europe Board Taskforce on Viewable Impressions and most recently to the Viewability Certification Steering Group, these roles ensure that IAB Ireland will be at the forefront in bringing viewability best practice to our market.

Similarly sitting on the IAB Europe Ad Blocking Taskforce, we are currently developing a pan European Advertising Charter which will enable signatories to call out their good advertising practices incorporating the IAB US developed LEAN principles: Light, Encrypted, Ad-Choice Supported, Non-Invasive Ads. There is a real understanding that all stakeholders in the digital advertising industry have a role to play in the promotion of engaging lighter advertising while ensuring that there is always the opportunity for new innovative formats to develop and grow. The establishment of this charter once again points to the joined up approach facilitated by IAB and supported by brands, publishers, media agencies and digital service vendors. IAB is acting quickly and it is planned to establish the digital advertising Charter in Q1 2016.


These challenges also present exciting opportunities for our industry. Creativity has never been more essential in the development of engaging digital advertising.  With the shift from flash to HTML5, IAB Ireland’s briefing on November 25th was designed to support the market in this transition.   Specialists from Google and Celtra shared the opportunities that HTML5 presents to improve creative across devices, best practices in terms of file size and tracking, tools for creative and tracking and great creative examples using HTML5. As a 2016 strategy, IAB Ireland has prioritised working with our leading creative agencies to create a series of outputs directed at inspiring cutting edge online advertising.

IAB Ireland has the 4th highest level of IAB training Certification globally – given our market size this is quite an achievement. The high adoption of IAB Certification is an indication of the Irish industry’s alignment with global best practice. Consequently IAB Ireland’s training was featured as a role model for other national IABs at September’s IAB Global Summit in New York attended by 29 national IABS.

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IAB Ireland’s training offering includes practical workshops on a range of digital formats such as Social Media, Search, Video and Programmatic. IAB Bespoke training features a unique focus on our members’ particular business challenges and up skilling requirements with a tailored programme of training developed to fulfill these needs. Donna O’Connor heads up IAB training and is contactable at