In what has now become an annual tradition at PerformanceIN following a similar feature last year, we've asked 12 experts in performance marketing from across the Atlantic to share what they believe will be key developments within the industry in 2016...
Ray Kingman, CEO and founder
Over the coming year, marketing and advertising technologies will continue to march closer together because brands are tiring of point solutions; they want to see audience, attribution, lead gen and others getting optimised for performance and simplified for execution. This will strongly affect the current ecosystem and some players’ standings.
This will result in brands gravitating toward a next-gen toolset that can help them manage their own data and help them turn that into better-performing media buys.
DSPs will shift from managing media and audience targeting to managing audience and media attribution and validation. As inventory of media is commoditized and audiences are self-managed, they will be looking to improve their relevance in the ecosystem.
Attribution will evolve from a sketchy, probabilistic sampling methodology to deterministic as big data starts to connect-the-dots across platforms and devices, while data silos will start breaking down, increasing match rates and improving validation and digital ROI.
Victor Wong, CEO
The IAB's announcement of the LEAN ad standards in response to the rise of ad blocking spells the end of rich media as we know it. Users are pushing back against these very heavy file sizes that take over their screen or seriously distract them. Publishers who had been the large proponents of rich media are now suffering from ad blocking and will turn to simpler, more targeted ads to fill their inventory.
We're now at a point where $20 billion is spent on programmatic with about $6 billion of that going toward data-driven targeting technologies. Unfortunately, over 90% of programmatic pros don't have enough creatives relative to targeting. New advances are making it easy to produce more creative variations that match targeting. This will result in the industry finally being able to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right place.
Furthermore, native has started off as a directly-sold ad unit by publishers. To get more scale, native already played into the hands of ad networks that could aggregate similar native-like inventory. The next step to make native go beyond experimental budgets is to go programmatic, so it has complete scale. This will require new creative tools to preview, edit, and manage creatives across all possible native environments.
Matt Huser, managing director
I see 2016 as the year of the customer as marketers realise that media definitions of audiences are less relevant in a post-mass media world. It’s more important for marketers to understand their audiences from a behavioural standpoint: where they go for information, how and by whom they are influenced, and build experiences from that.
Advertising will become a smaller part of the marketing mix as clients invest more in content-driven platforms that create lasting relationships with clients. The significance of time-bound advertising campaigns has decreased and has given way to content and experience platforms that can be optimised over time.
Interface design will be the new advertising. App design and utility will make or break a brand’s relationship with a consumer and in many ways define the brand in a consumer's eyes.
Lewis Gersh, CEO
Next year marketers will begin to realise that the data they sit on has not been used effectively. Whether it's website data or customer purchase history, this information will start to become actionable in ways that are not overt, but help guide and drive customers through their journey.
They have been tracking how many people sit for the whole marketing breakfast, but still don't know who wants their eggs over easy and who wants oatmeal. What they need to do in 2016 is find out what appeals to each person, anticipate what they need, and personalise the offering without being obvious about it. The concept and desire have been there - intent data and marketing automation will make it a reality in 2016.
David Cooperstein, Interim CMO
The challenge of 2016 is going to be the rationalisation of marketing tech. With all of the tools and toys that marketers have had to play with, the desire to have the "cool" ones consolidate into a few connected offerings is going to be high on the wish list for marketers at companies both big and small.
Adobe, Salesforce and Oracle will consolidate a number of the strongest enterprise platforms, and Google and others will help smaller companies make the most of software that supports all aspects of marketing and sales.
Paul Briggs, general manager EMEA & APAC
The popularity of print trade publications sprang from their credibility. Ads were clearly demarked as ads, editorial was clearly editorial and never did the twain meet. Digital blurred the lines, offering native content alongside editorial, though brands often missed the mark and failed at offering real value.
This is changing rapidly. Already we’ve experienced a content marketing revolution as brands transform themselves into media companies, enhancing and sometimes even supplanting the trades. Savvy brands are snapping up the talent that once fed the trades, and encouraging reporters to follow the same instincts that drove them previously: write useful, informative content, and don’t sell.
Though the trades will never go away completely, I expect that many will continue to shutter as advertising dollars decline. This will create an information vacuum that brands would be wise to fill. The smartest brands will build content marketing programmes that work hand-in-hand with the remaining trades, making intelligent use of banner ads, native ads and other formats to drive folks back to their own resources.
Erik Matlick, CEO
We’ve seen some great innovations throughout 2015, and I expect that we will see some additional trends taking center stage in 2016. Programmatic continues to be a top focus, and more and more large clients will be setting up their own DMPs, trading desks and taking it in house or having their agency manage it - most likely, the latter. What they will find is it is a lot more expensive and harder to manage than they thought. The sum of the parts will surprise them; I would expect there to be a slight rebound in premium/direct buys and PMPs.
In my view, 2016 will also be the year we see mass adoption of account-based marketing as it’s been a hot topic for 2015, with new players emerging that specialise in his tactic promising to overcome issues with accuracy, scale and reach. Additionally, display and lead generation strategies will also become a reality, leading to a few issues.
Lastly, 2016 will be the year of data validation. Because audience targeting using data sources is so widespread, and so many vendors have emerged, solutions and companies that can validate the accuracy and quality of their data will emerge as front-runners.
Galia Reichenstein, COO & head of US sales
If 2015 was the actual ‘year of mobile’, then 2016 will be deemed the ‘year of cross-channel data’.
The industry became more comfortable and innovative with big data, while social channels such as Facebook, as well as mobile and video, matured and innovated. As a result, in-depth targeting and reporting capabilities emerged that began blurring the lines between the different marketing channels.
Mix in evolving tracking solutions and we’re going to have a record-breaking year in terms of (smart) spend. Companies that have unique data are headed into 2016 much smarter and more innovative, allowing marketers to have an easier time managing this growing channel base - including social, video, display, in-app and connected TV. With users even more connected, marketers now have the ability to market according to that connectivity.
Tim Koschella, CEO and co-founder
After losing revenue from the days of SMS and content distribution, big telcom players still have the advantage of owning extremely valuable sets of data about users, including all data usages across devices.
These groups are starting to realise that advertising technology might be the best route for them to go. I predict that in 2016, more telcoms will be investing in advertising technology companies. The greatest example of this during 2015 was Verizon’s acquisition of AOL and Millennial Media.
The Trade Desk
Jeff Green, founder and CEO
Programmatic TV has grown immensely in 2015, and it is dramatically changing the way advertising is bought and sold by bringing more precise targeting capabilities to buyers, and greater value to sellers.
In the new year, OTT viewing will continue to soar, and the linear end of the spectrum will continue to make significant strides as well.
I think 2016 will also be the year that Hulu embraces programmatic at an unprecedented rate of adoption, and it will move its ads to a more pure programmatic play than we've seen any other major player do previously.
Connected TV will also continue to grow at an unprecedented rate. In 2016, marketers will see more ad dollars put towards this than in all previous years combined.
Philippe Guelton, CEO
Digital agencies and clients will demand 100% ad viewability – requiring publishers and platforms to reconceive their ad economy. In a throwback to the 1950s, advertisers will sponsor entire episodes and series, rather than just buying ad space or running product placements.
Native ads will continue to grow in relevance due to a combination of performance and ad blocking. Advertising on mobile will increase but will not catch up with content consumption on mobile. Social media advertising will focus more on the audience of influencers, rather than just the influencer on their own.
Bryan Buskas, SVP of sales, performance advertising
This year we saw companies like SuperCell, MachineZone and Eat24 run ads in the Superbowl. These are some of the largest and most savvy mobile app developers in the world when it comes to user acquisition – and they chose to invest one of the most traditional ad platforms.
It shows that mobile performance advertisers are expanding off-platform to channels like TV and OOH (out-of-home) to accelerate their success, and I expect this trend to continue and grow in 2016.
You can also read what our US experts said last year, and see whose predictions became a reality.