These days, it is not unreasonable for a person to have a smartphone, tablet and desktop or laptop for work and then the same again for personal use (not to mention wearables). The challenge for marketers is that currently these six devices will frequently be perceived or measured as six individual identities instead of one.
As the proliferation of devices continues through 2016, it will become more complex to effectively understand the user journey. And yet it is more crucial than ever to be able to do so. Marketers must continue to evolve their approach to ensure that they are serving consumers adverts that are less intrusive, more relevant and more profitable by gathering and making use of cross-device intelligence.
Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to hit the headlines in 2016. Regardless of perceptions, it will become more prevalent as a technology which powers everything as companies follow the lead of Google and Facebook, and indeed ourselves, and invest in this technology. As a company that uses AI to power our business and drive better, more efficient outcomes for our clients’ marketing campaigns, we can see how it is already making a positive impact.
We will continue to see discussion around the perceptions of AI amongst the British public and the role it will play in business especially. We undertook some research this year which found that there is broad public optimism across the UK about AI. We expect to see this move to positive sentiment increase as the public becomes more informed about the technology and the benefits it offers.
As 2015 draws to a close there is increasing debate around the role of ad blocking. Most recently, Yahoo stopped users with ad blocking technology enabled from accessing their email. In fact, research from the Internet Advertising Bureau showed ad blocking is on the rise in the UK, with 18% web users saying they use the software, up from 15% just five months ago.
However, users must recognise that if they want free content and services that advertising will always be the pay off. What we need is not ad blocking, but more relevant, targeted advertising so that users are engaged and ad budgets are maximised.
As we approach another year, the amount of data that marketers will instantly have at their fingers will continue to grow. In order to stay ahead and avoid the pitfalls associated with siloed data, organisations start to invest in making this work more efficiently and effectively for them.
Marketers should all be looking to achieve optimal cross channel marketing performance with a technology partner that can combine first-party data, behavioural insights and third-party data, as well as consider investing in AI capabilities that can add automated machine learning that can make decisions in real-time.
Brand and Programmatic
This is the perfect time to talk about programmatic; the festive season has a peak of programmatic activity from retailers set out to hypertarget gift buyers. In 2016, we will see an increase in branding campaign budgets spent in this area, which have previously been negotiated directly with publishers and more often spent on broad awareness drivers such as television and premium display programs. One area to watch will be programmatic TV, we’ve some developments in video but TV is only just beginning to follow suit and as it still has the largest slice of advertising revenue should be embraced to reach specific subsets of consumers and make that budget go further.
As an industry we need to focus on the quality of inventory and new products and services that offer state-of-the-art data-driven marketing where ROI of brand metrics can also be met. Single platforms enable businesses to pinpoint consumers at every step of their brand engagement on every channel, and provide relevant creative for each different moment.
Cleaning up the industry
In 2016 advertisers are going to continue to be an easy target for fraudsters. Fraud will continue to be the blight of the industry until publishers and exchanges take responsibility and commit to being transparent about inventory. We would love to be in a situation where we can guarantee our customers that fraud won’t occur on their campaigns but until better checks on blind inventory and appropriate code of conduct is in place this will remain a challenge and we’ll have to continue to reject up to 40% of all bid requests due to inventory quality concerns.
For the online advertising industry to evolve, publishers and advertisers alike must start to address the issue far more broadly than they are and commit to a quality marketplace, where they won’t be rewarded for non-human impressions and indeed probably shouldn’t be rewarded for non-viewed impressions either.