Why Personalization is the Key to AdTech in 2017

Gil Becker, CEO at AnyClip highlights that whilst there have been many positive trends during 2016, and the adtech industry seems to be emerging from the revenue slow down experienced over the past couple of years, how innovation still remains a key driver for the industry

The adtech industry has experienced major events in 2016 that will continue to have an impact on the sector. Transparency, ad fraud and data protection will still remain key topics for 2017 to which adtech companies will need to address.

The significant growth of mobile and social media has largely impacted digital advertising, where the first half of 2016 saw nearly 47% of digital ad spend was towards mobile advertising, and social media experiencing 50% every half year since 2012.

Mobile is becoming an effective advertising channel for brands and media agencies with 43% of all internet advertising revenue being generated by display advertising on mobile and desktop during the first half of 2016, according to a recent IAB report.

So, what can be said of 2016?

For the first time (and ahead of previously-predicted timeline), ad spend toward digital channels surpassed that for TV ads in the US. Mobile has been a driving force for the industry, and as consumers shift to mobile — so does the ad spend.

Alongside this shift, it’s been a year that has seen a significant growth in mobile video, mobile display advertising, and mobile search advertising. As its dominance increases, so too will revenue and business opportunities for adtech players.

As we enter 2017, here are a few of the trends we think will emerge and shape the adtech industry:

Growth of video ads drives server-to-server integrations

With the significant growth and adoption by consumers of mobile handsets and the decreasing cost of accessing the internet with these, mobile is rapidly becoming the preferred screen device amongst consumers and is quickly catching up to desktop usage. Video has proven to enable the enhancement of a brand’s emotional engagement with its customers and mobile video advertising is becoming a frequent choice for advertising spend. Instead of the siloed model currently in place, we’ll see more platforms connecting to each other and sharing data in real time.

Latency is, however, a giant challenge, and one that I believe we’ll see handled through server-to-server integrations in 2017, especially with video ads.

The emergence of media programmatic

Digital advertising is on the rise without a doubt — but no area has experienced faster growth than native advertising in the past year. This has also seen the emergence of native programmatic platforms and publishers seeing the appeal of working with these new breed of tech companies.

I think in 2017 we’ll see a lot of the slow-to-adapt publishers hopping on board the programmatic train. This will cause a sudden jump in growth for the technology providers powering the platforms. Meanwhile, the evolution of programmatic will be driven by marketers who have figured out step one and are approaching step 2: media programmatic, to enable better integration of creative design and data-based approaches to their advertising campaigns.

Cross device and platform attribution rises to the forefront

As marketers navigate the complex waters of ad tech, especially on mobile, to show ROI, they’re increasingly understanding that any demonstration of value is contingent on the ability to properly attribute user actions to the various touch points. In other words, we need to figure out whether it was your mobile banner or my mobile video that led Joe Bloggs to buy this new car at that used car lot.

We’re already seeing some industry organizations like the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) embark on initiatives around this issue. With think tanks and task forces as well as some good old fashioned trial and error, we are confident the move toward standardization will be swift.

Non-viewable ads will begin to disappear

Currently, a big part of the problem in the industry is that there is no clear method to measure viewability. Digital ad spend has one purpose increase a brand’s viewability, sales and provide a ROI for the organization. As the industry takes shape, and clearer definitions of viewability are defined, supported by innovative tech, machine learning, and more efficient platforms to ensure viewability, advertisers will demand viewability. This will have much effect on marketers as they will build their business models and strategies incorporating this and will settle for nothing less than viewable ads. As a result, I expect non-viewable ads will begin to disappear.

We’ll make people like ads

Or at least dislike them less. I believe 2017 will bring some pivotal victories in our battles against ad blocking and ad fraud. Unfortunately, before we fix the problems, we may need to hit rock bottom.

Current projections are showing that desktop ad blocker penetration may reach 50% by this time next year. Quite simply, consumers get annoyed by our ads. While we can’t magically make adblockers disappear, we can try to address this bigger, more specific problem that’s making people want to use these. Some online publishers have been highly successful at getting their readership to disable adblocking systems by integrating less intrusive ad displays, providing more personalization and partnering up with native advertising platforms.

I think this year will bring solutions that take on the concept of “right ad, right person, right time”. Technological solution providers, perhaps working in tandem with publishers, will develop new ways to expose consumers to ad.

Video is an area that needs focus and where personalization is years behind. Companies that can figure out real video personalization and dynamic creative optimization, something that requires tremendous innovation, will become the market leaders.

Despite the recent news of the largest organized fraud operation ever discovered, it is very possible that fraud levels have already bottomed out. Now that people are aware, we’ve seen many tech tools launched to address the problem. The changes in this regard will be improvements in monitoring and blocking fraud while making tools more cost effective.

While a balancing act is always called for in marketing technology, the next year promises to be one with a lot of interesting developments that will ultimately yield positive results for all stakeholders — advertisers, publishers, consumers, and more.

This article was originally published on MarTech Advisor

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