The Top Trending Topics in Ad Tech

By: Rodger Wells, CEO of DashBid

(as posted on MediaPost)

Ad tech is evolving at a blistering pace. 2016 was the year of viewability and battling fraud. 2017 is the year premium publishers, and advertisers continue to develop sophistication with regards to serving users and making ads more effective.

A number of topics are trending in this space and as the year races on here is some of what we can expect.

Publishers Get Smarter About Header Bidding

Last year, publishers installed header bidding solutions in droves to maximize revenues by leveling the programmatic bidding field. This created massive problems with the more traditional SSPs, evidenced by the struggles of Rubicon and similar companies who missed this move.

Publishers traded higher CPMs for increased load times and latency, primarily in client-side solutions. This year, sell-side ad ops experts are pushing the load to server side solutions. This results in cleaner page loads and better experiences for users and advertisers.

Publishers will experience higher CPMs by moving to server-side decision-making, preventing revenue loss from users abandon pages due to poor experience.

...And About Technology and Data

Publishers are giving technology experts a role in decision-making. Their input is critical to effectively scale audiences and capture larger shares of programmatic budgets.

As alternatives such as sponsored content fall from grace — as demonstrated by Medium’s recent restructuring of its ad product — publishers will be looking to programmatic to increase margins and scale advertising.

In 2017, data will lead the way as ad tech providers become more sophisticated. They will layer valuable user data segments over audience targeting to increase ad efficiency while also improving site quality.

Amazon Comes On Strong

Late last year, Amazon got a lot of notice among publishers’ tech teams by applying their massive server capabilities to their own cloud-based header-bidding solution. They promised to not only let publishers find the best bids for ad spots at lightning speed but also to maximize the efficacy of ads by mixing in their trove of shopper data insights.

The Amazon Advertising Platform will attract further demand from media buyers wanting to access audience segments created by the e-commerce giant. AdAge predicts that Amazon’s initiatives will turn ad tech from a “digital duopoly” between Facebook and Google into a “three-way brawl.”

Continued Pushes on Fraud, Viewability

Last month, the “Methbot” hacker rings stole $5 million per day from video advertisers. This news proves that battles with fraud will continue. GroupM—the world’s largest media buying agency—has been leading the charge to require higher viewability standards than those required by the IAB. For all practical purposes, 100% viewability has become table stakes.

“A mountain of impressions that are bought today have a near-zero chance to get attention,” said Joe Marchese, President of Advanced Advertising of Fox Networks Group, citing the absurdity of standards calling for only 1-2 seconds of proven time in view on a recent Recode Media podcast.

More Focus on The User

Publishers want to clean up their pages and improve user experience while maximizing monetization opportunities. Top advertisers realize that what’s best for people—lower page weights, cleaner ad tech, better ad creative—is ultimately best for them too.

Advertisers want effective ads, not wasted spend. In 2016, advertisers over-indexed to social (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat) in order to combat their fear of fraud. This resulted in driving up CPMs and driving down advertiser ROI. In 2017, advertisers will index back to the broader media market to gain lift in ROI and rebalance pricing. The trend will be further accelerated because of doubts planted by Facebook’s metrics mistakes, the decline of Twitter growth and the exposure of large botnets throughout these platforms.

2017 will see premium programmatic video advertising on premium publishers, with a focus on the users, leading to more and better programmatic ad revenue.