The start of the New Year is always an exciting time in the ad:tech industry. With a plethora of predictions for the New Year and reflections on the past, AdExchanger brings together some of the best brains in the industry for a two-day Industry Preview event, which just took place in New York. Here are some of our top takeaways from the event:
1. Bringing Back Creativity and a Human Element
Big data, efficiency and scalability have been a major focus for several years and as a result, we may have lost the human perspective. While algorithms and optimization made us smarter, they’ve also sucked some of the creativity out of our work. Likewise, data-driven decision-making has caused our styles to converge and our work to be less novel.
Whether speakers casually encouraged us to remember that we are creating experiences for humans, or they focused their entire sessions on the matter, such as Undertone CEO’s spotlight on Why 2015 should be the year of Creative?, this theme threaded itself through many conversations.
From bringing more creative ideas to clients to instilling a bit of originality into our creative execution, the experts predict that we’ll have a resurgence of inventiveness this year.
2. A Call for Transparency and Connectivity in the Industry
The most common theme of the event had to be a call for transparency and open connectivity between industry players. Publishers and advertisers aren’t able to create a comprehensive picture when their partners maintain information in silos. We need an increase in collaboration and players need to find a way to maintain their business integrity without closing off their systems and creating walled gardens.
Neal Mohan, VP of Display & Video Advertising Products, Google asked for the industry to come together on important metrics like viewability. Given that viewability is a currency on which media is transacted, we all need to be able to talk about metrics such as this across platforms.
3. The Value of Independent Verification
Many, such as Cameron Meierhoefer, the COO of comScore, commented on the need for independent data and verification to fully unlock programmatic’s potential. Last year, on the same day that AOL acquired Convertro, Google purchased Adometry, two previously independent attribution platforms. While we all expect acquisitions to drive consolidation in the industry, we must not lose sight of the need for independent performance measurement bodies as they inspire trust in the validity of the assessment.
SpotX is very supportive of both the call for transparency and independence. One of our core principles is the creation of a platform that is open and extensible, allowing us to work seamlessly with partners like DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and Telemetry. Through support for interoperability with industry partners like these, transparency becomes innate, all the while making our capabilities more robust.
4. Cross Screen Is King
Whether it was Nadine McHugh, SVP of Omni Media, leading the conversation on “The Omnichannel Marketer” or other speakers talking about cross screen user tracking and the cookieless ID, figuring out how to connect the cross screen experience is critical. As mobile traffic growth continues to outpace that of desktop and the allure of programmatic TV grows stronger, we’ll need to enhance capabilities to ensure that both the user experience and tracking are seamless.
5. Remain Vigilant on Fraud
Fraud took center stage in 2014 and industry leaders predict it will remain a key focus in 2015. After all, anytime you have a vibrant and growing economy, there will be people who are looking to take advantage of that and the digital marketing industry is no exception.
As fighting fraud has positive outcomes for buyers and sellers alike, we need to have an industry wide partnership to fight this together. Buyers get lower costs and better results. Sellers get bigger margins and stronger profit. If both can achieve that, value is delivered and ad:tech wins as well.
At SpotX, we’re staying ahead of fraud in 2015. In addition to partnering with leading 3rd party vendors, we’re continuing to enhance our comprehensive brand safety suite that leverages proprietary anti-fraud technology to maximize the quality of video advertising inventory in our marketplace. To learn more, check out our Product Pulse Fraud Series, including posts on hidden ads and botnets and hijacked devices.
6. Context Is Key
Speakers raised great points about the importance of context, such as:
- Knowing your customers and where they are on their journey with you should influence how you message them
- The mindset of the consumer at the time you interact should change how you talk to them
Whether you segment your prospect list by their position in the sales funnel, consider the user’s device, or think about how day part and users’ location might influence messaging, we need to take context into account and vary our approach accordingly.
7. The Power of Video
Something we never get tired of hearing about is the power of video. As one of the speakers said, video is an incredible medium that has true value for brand advertisers and it’s experiencing explosive growth. eMarketer reported that in 2014, digital video ad spend increased 56% from the previous year.
To fully embrace the power of video, the panel conversation on Video Everywhere recommended figuring out how to:
- Make the economics of video work
- Do video well
- Scale video and translate it across channels
The conference was chock full of digital marketing insights and diverse ad:tech perspectives. As always, it was great to hear about trends and predictions for 2015 from some of the industry’s most notable subject matter experts.