two people near the edge of a tall building holding hands
To restore trust, marketers are demanding more from mobile ad campaigns. PHOTO: Yuri Catalano

Marketers are demanding more from mobile ad campaigns. 

In 2017, the issue of how trust can be brought back to the space will dominate the conversation as they sort the new demands going forward. 

Marketers will demand revenue-generating traffic and users will block ads if they keep being served irrelevant, unengaging content.

Mergers and acquisitions in the ad tech space will heat up as niche players with specialized technology are snatched up by larger digital advertising portfolio companies.

The big question: How can marketers collectively bring trust back to the industry? 

Here are some trends that align with that objective.

Programmatic Goes Premium

Programmatic advertising will grow 31 percent in 2017, faster than all other digital channels, according to Zenith’s Programmatic Marketing Forecasts. 

This growth will continue to be fueled by the entrance of new premium players (and inventory) into the programmatic realm, further blurring the line between programmatic and direct sales.  The rising acceptance of private auctions and preferred deals will provide publisher CRO’s with the holy grail combination of data and efficiency together will control over environment.

Publishers Learn to Ride the Data Tsunami

Marketing and ad sales are no longer about wining and dining. Now it’s all about data crunching and the combination of technology, analytics and intuition for better audience segmentation. 

Advertisers have been shifting from buying "real-estate" to buying audience, and have thus become quite savvy when it comes to understanding users.

Publishers will need to up their game when it comes to understanding and segmenting their own audience in order to keep advertisers interested and in order to capitalize on their user-segments. Supply-facing players that can provide publishers with such tools and insights will become more valuable partners for publishers.

Outstream Video Takes Over Mobile Feeds

Ever since Facebook began selling auto-play video advertising in 2014, the other major social platforms — Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat — have become equally aggressive at courting video marketers, and with great success. In November 2015, Facebook announced that it had reached 8 billion video views per day.

In April 2016, Snapchat said it had 10 billion video views per day, and in 2017 these numbers will continue to climb. Yet why should this be contained to social feeds?

As feed environments expand outside of the social realm (such as news, commerce, entertainment, etc.), so will the inclusion of outstream video ads as part of the feed in any app with a feed, thus making outstream video an integral part of a user’s experience, a publisher’s monetization strategy, and the advertisers budget.

Viewer Alienation Will Drive Innovation

2017 will see the rising prevalence of ad blockers, widespread banner blindness and the general lack of interest among the viewers in digital ads.

Studies indicate the average click through rate for display ads is 0.06 percent, and ad blocking has grown by 41 percent in the last year.

Next year it’s more likely you will survive a plane crash than click on a display ad. This, in turn, will force advertisers to create more engaging creative, and force publishers to make ads less disruptive.

Video ads will continue becoming more of a go-to unit in order to boost engagement and innovations such as auto-resume (making a video pause and resume as a user scrolls down a feed) more valuable to advertisers.

Continued Mergers and Acquisitions

2016 saw the long-awaited ending of the ad tech IPO drought. Trade Desk was the first ad tech company to go public since March 2015 (Maxpoint IPO). This year, we all are expecting AppNexus to follow. 

In the private sector, the marketing industry overall saw 204 M&A deals in the first six months of 2016, totaling an estimated $6.8 billion, up from 85 deals valued at $2.1 billion in the equivalent period a year earlier.  This increase was driven by new players like Deloitte, IBM and Accenture.  Several acquisitions were fueled by Chinese companies pushing harder to enter Western markets.

New growth brings new investment and innovation.  The companies that will come out ahead are the ones that take advantage of new video ad units and leverage mobile platforms, while using data to deliver ads that cultivate loyalty for improved monetization and long term profitability.