“I see…no, wait…it’s an ad blocker!”
At the start of the year, our clients typically ask us what we see in the areas of consumer marketing and media…a glance into the crystal ball, as it were.
This past year most of us were focused on enhancing digital outreach. We have seen this area at least double in activity in our campaigns over the past two years, as clients’ desire to customize and measure the impact of their messages grow. We see no different for the new year.
In short, “If you ain’t doing it digital, you ain’t doing it right”, as one of our agency creative gurus quipped. But HOW to keep doing it right is the question.
Rather than reinvent the wheel on this topic we are taking the shameless and easy path, excerpting what “alum/chum” Publicis — the world’s largest ad agency — tells us. If they don’t know about this, then no one does. So, without much ado…
1. Programmatic targeting of content, not just ads. Programmatic targeting of ads is now very common for brands and advertisers. In 2015, we’ll see a critical mass of publishers begin to leverage behavioral data to programmatically target content to optimize experiences for users on publishers’ sites. Content will be personalized and specifically aimed at individual consumers on websites and blog pages, similar to the way ads have been targeted until now. Medium-to-large sized publishers will also invest in data management platforms and in-house programmatic resources.
2. Content marketing spend will need to deliver a more measurable ROI impact. In 2015, we’ll start to see more sophisticated means of measuring the impact of content marketing campaigns, leveraging multi-attribution techniques to understand the downstream impact on conversion caused by these higher-funnel marketing activities. For example, a brand might spend $1 million on a native advertising campaign but not understand to what degree — if any — that investment impacted ROI.
3. A critical mass of merchants will finally optimize their mobile affiliate tracking capabilities. While the browsing experience is now largely optimized for mobile devices, the same cannot be said for tracking of performance campaigns on mobile devices. [In 2015], we can expect to see retailers work continuously to improve conversion tracking and affiliate payouts in order to satisfy the demands of their increasingly mobile publishers.
4. The startup bubble will deflate slightly and result in consolidations of a fragmented adtech startup market.The last few years have seen an avalanche of entrepreneur startup companies, many focusing on the adtech space. While this has resulted in a great deal of innovation — publishers and advertisers have benefited from a wealth of choices for optimizing their ad spend — we’ll start to see this slow down as some of these companies struggle to raise successive rounds of funding.
5. Point solutions will struggle, and clients will shift their desire to want to work with more full-funnel marketing suites. In a similar vein, some adtech companies offering point solutions will also start to struggle, as an overwhelmed publisher and advertiser community will prefer to work with fewer partners, opting for ad tech companies offering full-funnel marketing suites. This likely will result in further consolidations of the fragmented adtech market, resulting in stronger conglomerates offering their customers a number of key services combined.
6. Publishers will develop sophisticated in-house capabilities for behaviorally programmatic targeting of premium advertising. Historically, publishers have worked with ad networks and other programmatic adtech partners to outsource their programmatic ad targeting. However, in 2014, a number of larger publishers started to bring this capability in-house, and invest in infrastructure to manage their audience data, such as data management platforms.
7. Ad blockers will become as big of a problem in 2015 as “viewability” was in 2014. The increasing technical sophistication of the adtech market and the increasing demands on accountability by advertisers saw ‘viewability’ become a dominant theme in 2014. Technologies that can filter out automated bot traffic and determine if a human truthfully saw an ad are regularly used now despite it reducing impression metrics significantly. This movement will continue in 2015, with attention turned towards ad blocker software.
Ad blockers (in the form of toolbars and browser extensions) have quietly gained popularity by users wanting a faster, ad-free browsing experience. However, a little-known fact about these ad blocker companies is that they monetize by charging ad companies to let their ads bypass the blocking software. While a marginal problem in the early days, the popularity of these ad blockers means that ad revenues for publishers are impacted; on average about 20 percent, though up to 50 percent for publishers with a tech-savvy readership.
In 2015, we will see a variety of solutions emerge on the market, offering various experiences around user-driven personalization of advertising. (Credit: Publicis Alum Group, via LinkedIn.)