With so many new technical innovations showcased in 2014, the next 12 months will no doubt deliver a wealth of new initiatives. Rachel Powney, Marketing Director EMEA at OpenX, predicts the top four display advertising trends that will develop in 2015.

Measuring viewability

Fraud is a hot topic in the advertising industry and many column inches are dedicated to discussing its seriousness and how it can be overcome. Part of this discussion is focussed around the issue of viewability – a metric that aims to track impressions that can actually be seen by users – and I believe this year will see considerable improvements in its measurement, which will ultimately help to detect bots and prevent fraud.

Now that an IAB industry standard is in place to measure viewability, advertisers have reassurances that measures are now in place to ensure standards around fraud will be improved. For display and mobile ads to be viewable, at least 50% of the served ad must be on a viewable space of a page on an in-focus browser tab for at least one continuous second. For video ads, at least 50% of the served ad must be seen on a viewable space of an in-focus browser tab while playing for at least two continuous seconds.

Best-in-class viewability vendors can now measure up to 90% of all impressions, while average viewability on exchanges tends to be in the 40-50% range, but there are still considerable limitations in anti-fraud detection technology. As an industry we need to encourage trade associations to lead the conversation in preventing fraud and enable a solution to minimise fraud. As the use of programmatic trading increases, pressure will mount for publishers to ensure higher CPMs for advertisers, while ad servers will also face mounting pressure to improve viewability measurement. Almost three in five (59%) publishers say the market isn’t yet ready for buying based on viewability — so it’s clear there is much improvement to be made in this area.


Currently, multiscreen campaigns often feature the same creative across device without consideration for the different screen requirements, including optimisation for the size of screen. This approach can cause campaign performance to suffer as a consequence as – according to Google – around three in five (61%) consumers visiting a non-mobile website on a mobile device will move to an optimised competitor site. This year, marketers will move closer to a multiscreen strategy that incorporates all mobile devices and screens.

As marketers increasingly recognise the media fragmentation caused by consumer engagement across multiple devices and screens, they will design their marketing strategies to include seamless consumer brand experiences across screens to contextually reach the intended audience.

These integrated seamless campaigns will benefit from sequential storytelling, allowing marketers to build a brand’s story and integrate a unified campaign across multiple screens and touch-points. This will enable marketers to create closer connections with their target audience, as well as better brand engagement, providing appropriate content for individual platforms to achieve more measureable results.

New programmatic business models

Video is one of the fastest growing advertising formats – online video was worth just £4 million in 2008 according to the IAB, and is expected to grow to £11.4 billion by 2016. Video advertising delivers significant brand awareness by creating personal connections with consumers, engaging audience emotion, and providing a multi-sensory encounter. Video on mobile devices is particularly effective in increasing consumer engagement due to the fact that smartphones and tablets tend to be kept close to hand and viewed in close proximity.

The uptake for programmatic video was initially slow, but is expected to grow this year as the platform receives brand support and gains momentum. Emarketer reports that by next year 40% of digital video ad spend will be programmatic.

As marketers shift towards multiscreen campaigns, programmatic will become increasingly available on various mediums. Next year, will see increased interest in programmatic TV as a result of developments in this space, such as the launch of Channel 4’s programmatic video on demand (VOD) platform, All 4. Similar automated TV ad trading platforms will make significant headway as marketers look to efficiently purchase TV ad space.

We will also see the continued rise of private marketplaces (PMPs) as both publishers and advertisers seek highly controlled and transparent premium inventories. In Europe, 27% of all programmatic ad spend is traded via a PMP and this figure is expected to rise as the application of big data becomes more accessible.

Advertising formats

Native advertising, combined with the power of programmatic trading, creates a formidable digital ad format that will experience huge growth in 2015.

Programmatic native advertising combines content that is more creative than a traditional display ad, and targets specific target audiences in an integrated and seamless way that does not interrupt a consumers’ online experience. Native ads provide click through rates similar to those of editorial content and are seen more frequently by consumers than display ads. The attributes of native ads also increase the chance of engagement, by meeting consumers contextually in a manner that complements their chosen online experience.

Return-on-ad-spend for native ads is expected to continue to increase as marketers more readily adopt the format this year. Interactive native video ads on mobile will also increase as brands recognise the potential of native video for social media sharing.