2018 Digital Media Forecast: Slaying With Programmatic

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the digital world is evolving at breakneck speeds. For some, that’s exciting. For others, the thought of having to devote your life to a perpetual cycle of digital research is, well, just the worst.

Fortunately for those in the latter category, you have me. Consider me your personal tour guide as we navigate the weird, unknown, ever-changing terrain of digital media. You may have to put up with a few Beyoncé references as we go, but you’ll ultimately walk away with a much better understanding of what’s hot and what’s not as we kick off 2018.


Carry It Into 2018 – Programmatic Advertising

When Programmatic buying sneezed on the beat, the beat decidedly got sicker.

You see, if you looked at my online and purchase behaviors, you wouldn’t have a hard time figuring out that I’m a woman between 25-34, married with no kids, a figure skater, a pop culture junkie, and a total sucker for cheap statement earrings and high end makeup. Programmatic Advertising uses automated technology to do just that – look at our behaviors as individual users to give advertisers the best chance of getting the right message in front of the right person.

Of course, Programmatic is certainly no longer a shiny, new buzzword. That being said, it’s still hot due to its rampant rate of adoption – finally diffusing beyond innovators/early adopters in 2017. In fact, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB – a.k.a. The Real Experts) predicts “programmatic spending will grow to over 80%” this year.

And it makes sense. Getting in front of specific users across whatever sites and apps they may be browsing allows for maximized accuracy, minimal waste, and narrowed margins of error when it comes to getting the right ads in front of the right audience. What more could you ask for in this life, am I right?


Picking Up Steam – Connected TV

Connected TV (CTV) has been proving that it has some coordination in recent history, but 2018 may just be the year that it fully gets into formation.

Just as we saw with the rise of music streaming services, the way we watch television is changing. Whether they’re binge-watchers or cord-cutters, this new group of viewers is still watching as much programming as ever, just not with the same limitations of traditional viewership like episode release schedules, geographic programming blackouts, or even sitting through commercials – all of which were elemental to traditional television advertising. So, what now?

Enter CTV: a digital way to maintain the impact of traditional media. CTV accounts for any device that allows your television to connect to the Internet – Smart TVs, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, and gaming consoles (i.e. Xbox).

Ad techs have been keeping an eye on this tactic for a while, but media buyers have been hesitant to dip their toes into the cool waters of the CTV pool. Why? In short: scale and targeting. As CTV is a newer tech capability, the rate of adoption – although fast – wasn’t supporting a deep pool of inventory. Several years back, media partners were limited as to what kind of targeting parameters could be applied to a CTV campaign. Fortunately, eMarketer estimates that over 60% of the US population used CTV in 2017, and that number is expected to rise to at least 65% in 2018. Media partners now inform me that campaigns can easily be geotargeted to the DMA level, thanks to the ever-increasing inventory, and CTV can now be purchased programmatically by layering in additional digital data.

So, stay tuned – CTV is only going to get hotter as more people turn away from broadcast and cable, allowing targeting capabilities to continue getting more and more nuanced.


On the Cusp – Influencer Marketing

It could be a sweet dream, or a beautiful nightmare – either way, we’re not sleeping on Influencer Marketing, which continues to be a rising trend in digital advertising.

Although many other trends point in the direction of hypertargeting capabilities, Influencer Marketing takes a step back and relies on the audience that key individuals have already built up. Once an individual has amassed a sizable captive audience, they possess the power to influence that audience.

And, for a price, they could use that influence to favor your brand.

It’s high risk, high reward. Influencer Marketing typically comes in at a premium cost, but allows a prominent figure to become your brand ambassador. It can help establish a bond, or a sense of trust, between your brand and an influencer’s devoted followers. But, there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when executing an influencer campaign: does the influencer’s standards align with my brand’s standards? How many brands has my influencer already taken on? Does my influencer investment include a robust, cross-platform strategy? Do we have the budget and the resources to support the consumer journey beyond the influencer’s first touch? Will there be any kind of available reporting against this campaign that can provide stable audience data?

A wrong answer could tank your ROI, but the right answers could land your brand a lucrative partnership.


Leave It In 2017 – Site-Specific Buys

Everything site-specific buys own are now in several boxes to the left. And the truth of the matter is, replacing it was so easy.

Now, hear me out. By all means, site-specific buys still have their place. Ex: In the B2B space, certain trade publication sites or local business publications are worth considering. Or, if you know that a handful of major sports websites align flawlessly with your audience and your messaging, I’m not saying you’re wrong.

What I am saying is that digital buying trends are pulling away from the more “old school” format of compiling a list of sites to purchase inventory on, or even working with ad networks that do the legwork of stockpiling inventory for you. Due to the rise of programmatic advertising, you no longer have to hope that your ad appeared in front of the right person at the right time on a site you thought might be a good fit. Nine out of 10 doctors say that this method just isn’t efficient anymore. Not when alternate buying opportunities can cut out all that waste.



Like our digital media forecast? Check out our social media forecast and stay tuned for more trend alerts throughout the month of January in interactive and immersive technology, and SEO/PPC.

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