Digital Advertising “Grows Up” in 2014 – The Year of Accountability

As we wrap up another year, it’s time for all to reflect on where we’ve been so that we can set our sights on where we’re going.  In fact, it’s a great exercise to focus on the biggest hurdles we saw in our path in 2013, as innovation is always driven from the challenges we face in the marketing sphere.

Moving into 2014, we expect to see an industry-wide shift toward the technology solutions that have emerged to address these challenges.  And, as a result, the online advertising ecosystem is primed for significant maturation in 2014.

Will it finally be the year that we fix some of the legacy problems with digital advertising?  Here’s how we see it happening:

Fraud gets controlled to manageable levels – In 2013 we saw the industry’s awareness of digital fraud go up.  In 2014 brands and agencies will no longer turn a blind eye to fraud, understanding that ads that are served to non-humans are a waste of their budget. Cutting edge technology will be commonly used by all industry players as the norm, which will lower the fraud to manageable levels.

Attribution gets turned upside down – Coming off a year of industry discussions of viewability and its correlation with attribution, brands and agencies will dive into the methodology of their attribution partners.  Additionally, brands will strive to take attribution a step further to understand the “cause and effect” of their campaigns – which sequence of ads worked best, what was the reason that users converted and how to maximize ROI as a result. Vendors who will best be able to address those concern will come out on top.

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Quality drives results – With all the data that is now available, brands and agencies will no longer “gamble” on the quality of media, understanding that the “gamble” will cost them in brand reputation and campaign results. Data will be utilized to mitigate risky advertising as well as to drive ROI.

Premium inventory will become mainstream in programmatic – As programmatic continues to gain traction for efficiency and economies of scale and as data allows for transparency, the current programmatic inventory will get closer to its true market value.  That trend will drive more premium inventory to programmatic.

“ROI is King” – Brands will do a lot less experimenting and will spend their budgets on channels that drive results; that will be true for mobile, video, native, social. Only those channels that can prove effective will be a part of the marketing mix.

Brands look to gain control over their digital marketing by leveraging technology themselves – The year of accountability will help strike a new balance between agencies and brands.  As brands get more involved with digital industry topics, agencies will be held accountable and up their game accordingly. Brands that feel that their agencies are not tackling the issues head-on will be taking control and bring more of the work in house.

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