BREXIT’s impact on the digital marketing world

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By: Shaaf Tauqeer – Audience Store

With the announcement that the government will activate Article 50 by March 2017, Britain will officially be out of the EU by 2019. What does this mean for our businesses?

Although majority of the British voters, voted for Brexit, the immediate aftermath of the ‘leave campaign’ left a negative impact on businesses that operate internationally, whether they are retail, education sector, advertising, finance, or new start-ups to technology developers. Most are reliant on the EU for: funding; customers or workers, whatever the sector they operate in.

As the dust settled from the initial shock, uncertainty now looms over the economic infrastructure. The chances are that the economic market will become unstable, or have “bumps” as we are being told, during the transitional period, which will be until some point in 2019. For example we have the Pound, weakened to record lows, the FTSE has tracked towards record highs. This juxtaposition of performance is adding to the confusion and lack of understanding.

2020 Planning

The question that has remained unanswered is: “Would this affect the 2020 and beyond strategies of organisations and businesses?” The early signs are indicating towards that probably it will.

Businesses based in the UK will probably hold back any major strategic decisions as the weekend’s announcement, means we are now awaiting what negotiations Britain will have with the EU. Inevitably this means that the investment decisions will stall, and as stated earlier, the uncertain environment means the planning process for any organisation would be more difficult.

Do companies start to consider cutting down their marketing budgets? This raises a question of whether marketers then start to assign bigger percentage of their budgets towards digital channels and advertise on a premium publishers’ PMP’s? (Private market place)

The Internet Advertising Bureau UK pointed out that during the credit crunch of 2008 the digital advertising grew at a rate of 5.7% annually.

With a reduction in budget and more pressure on ROI, marketers should consider investing more budget to programmatic: for better return on investment; accountability and measurability in compliance with their due diligence risk management processes which would give them more control over their planning. In addition to that agencies should expect more scrutiny on ad-fraud, view ability, brand safety and ad blocking issues from the advertisers.

Since the BREXIT vote, there has been an increase in the subscription of premium and financial publishers such as Guardian, Bloomberg and Financial Times resulting in access to more premium inventory and access to AB+ audience, however this could effectively increase the price of PMP’s. As time is passing by the uncertainty is increasing over how the digital advertising sector will coupe with this, nevertheless marketing has always been integral and as shown by the credit crunch of 2008, experts believe that by the end of 2016 market will continue to grow. The long-term signs are showing that there could be more opportunities for digital sector to grow further but the competition will be tougher and we need to be smarter.


The current environment however provides a strong branding opportunity for advertisers to capitalize and have a strong international brand presence in the non-EU markets. The major example is Coca Cola, during every downturn when the purchasing power of consumers went down, Coke made sure that they were constantly running their branding campaigns running throughout the recession, providing a high level of consumer engagement and trust building exercise.

Legislative effects on leaving the common market and Data protection act

There are other implications that we need to consider are, when UK leaves the EU many media and tech companies might consider moving away from the UK to the upcoming markets such as Germany, Poland, France or even Spain as these countries are developing their media capabilities at a faster rate, this may provide them more opportunities by dealing in common market. Therefore, the British companies need to focus more on digital advertisement from outside the EU such as Nigeria, India, China, South and North America as well as Middle East these countries are hot on mobile technology and media is gaining a lot of ground in these regions. While the law “aims to strengthen and unify data protection for individuals in the EU, it has severe implications for the internet’s commercial sustainability,” according to Anthony Rhind, chief strategy officer at Adform a company that is based in Denmark.  UK no longer subject to EU data protection law (General Data Protection Regulation) Potential is to become more competitive due to looser data restrictions, and attract more ad-tech investment.

Industry views

If we look at the UK education sector, even with tougher visa regulations non-EU markets remain a major contributing factor towards UK economy worth around £17.5 billion per year. China, Middle East, South East Asia and Brazil are few top markets that send masses of international students to overseas universities seeking high quality education.

The drop in value of the pound makes the UK more affordable making us more competitive in the markets and able to offer more competitive rates on CPM.


We are sailing in unchartered waters, politically nobody knows 100% how we will get on. The one thing we must remember is away from all of the political posturing there are still consumers, who have disposable money and are willing to spend on the right products. The challenge to advertisers is to make sure you are engaging with the consumers better than your competitors. The market is changing let’s make sure we adapt and benefit from the changes and together growing our brands to be bigger and stronger.

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