It’s been a weird and wonderful year for ad tech in 2016 – interrupted by the collision of ‘martech’. From a slew of mergers and cash injections, there was certainly no shortage of news spanning all things ad tech and automation. Regardless of the good, the bad and the ugly in 2016 it’s time to look ahead to 2017. From extracting customer data gold to harnessing artificial intelligence and welcoming BYO algorithms and “just-in-time and precision marketing”, to fast-tracking cross-channel capabilities and scrutinizing independent analytics and attribution – there’s plenty afoot, and it’s a mouthful.
The internet needs an ad tech renaissance, one based on creating real value for publishers and marketers. Some people have pointed to the dominant share of advertising dollars going to social and search as a sign of the apocalypse for ad tech. Although is it just the opposite? Does it show us just how big the opportunity is for publishers that can integrate ad technology and deliver world class outcomes for marketers without compromising user experience?
The spread of fake and misleading news has shown a light on how its producers have thrived by plugging into the programmatic ad system. But a new study shows that in fact, mainstream media sites are far bigger users of ad tech, which is blamed for eroding the user experience and ultimately contributing to ad blocking. Mezzobit, a tool that lets publishers audit ad tech on websites, found that mainstream news sites have almost twice as much third-party technology as the fake or misleading news sites.
Adtech has failed to deliver for broadcasters over the past five years, but there are signs that there’s a better understanding and change on its way. So now it’s time to revisit the potential for adtech to help telly, wherever and whenever it’s watched. Predictions point out that in 2017 we’ll see piloting and launching of ad tech stacks by broadcasters to check that new technology can bring them the solutions they require and 2018 will be the year when real scale emerges in the true cross platform targeting of video advertising across the ecosystem.
The good news is that the digital-advertising industry is growing strongly, with revenues up sharply in 2016. The bad news – Virtually all of that growth is going to exactly two companies: Google and Facebook. This duopoly control has had an increasing impact on the advertising-tech market as well, something that used to be a growth area both for publishers and for ad networks.
Many businesses in the Adtech sector have tried to minimize their data protection obligations by claiming that they do not process personal data at all, or do so only as data processors. With the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), such approaches seem increasingly untenable. Given the volume of data that is processed by Adtech businesses, and how central it is to their business model, it seems likely that the Adtech sector will face some of the toughest challenges in preparing for the GDPR.