How will display evolve in 2015?

| 12 Nov, 2014

Following on from his recent post on Brand Republic’s The Wall Blog, James Bourner talks about the ways in which display and programmatic will change in the forthcoming year.

Head of Display James Bourner talks about the way in which display and programmatic will change in 2015 in our latest Insights video

Video transcript

By breaking out of channel status, programmatic has been typecast a little bit from its start as a DR only tool, and as a DR only tool, it was often a line item, sat on the plan, right at the bottom amongst networks and bulk buyers and all that stuff.

However, we know full well that all formats really can be made available programmatically. Quite simply, if an ad can be ad served, it can be served programmatically. More and more big brands, in terms of publishers and better formats, are becoming more readily available.

What we should start to see is planner buyers making sense, making use of this and exploiting the benefits that programmatic can bring, that one-to-one sort of audience conversation, that meshing together of messages throughout the plan, that reduction of waste being used from the top of a plan, where you might have your more brand placements, all the way through to the bottom, as opposed to just busting out that bit down at the bottom really.

I think there's going to be less reliance on cookies throughout the next year and throughout time as we get better utilising other ways of identifying people. We're seeing the growth of very large marketing technology stacks from the likes of Google, from the likes of Facebook, from the likes of Microsoft, who are involved, and lots of big publishing houses can do this as well.

I don't think cookies will leave altogether, because we do need a way to jump some certain gaps when we're trying to identify people. But certainly, in the first instance, where you've got something like Google, who are wide-reaching, have login information which goes across device, across operating systems, into mail, all your searches, into your phone and stuff, being able to identify and track people using that technology, that methodology will become a part of how we track people overall and measure people overall, is what I really should say. Tracking sounds a bit sinister. We will start to gain accuracies from doing things in that way, and the cookie will be not the number one go-to tracking medium now.

I've predicted that there will be an increased one-to-one style engagement from brands to users. It's not really dialogue, to be fair. It's more of accountable advertising and putting more relevant messages in front of people.

It's also understanding what advertising, if any, one particular user has been exposed to throughout the purchase cycle for a particular advertiser's product or service and being able to message them more appropriately and at better times to help shepherd people through to conversion. We would do that in very large blocks, going back a few years. Going back a decade or 15 years, when we first started doing stuff in digital, we wouldn't really do that at all. It would be a message for everybody. So it's just that breaking down, that more granularity of messaging I think is really what's going to happen next year.

Well, attribution has always been fundamentally important to all marketing activity. Trying to understand where we're spending money and if that's the right place to spend that money is really the Holy Grail of understanding if we're doing the right thing by our advertisers. Attribution clearly isn't anything new. It's something that's been talked about for as long as I can remember. It's something that's been argued about. It's a really contentious subject.

We're getting to the point now where people are more comfortable measuring things differently and starting to act on those results. As we see, the integrated media plan is actually starting to become a real, tangible thing. The upshot is being able to track, measure, and address somebody across channels, across devices in digital, which is something we're making great headway in, means that we can easily measure it as well. So we're starting to unravel this ball of attribution and this ball of channels that we've got, and the stage is being set for it. It's so important. It's fundamental, but we've now got an environment to measure it really easily, so it's going to become more prolific.

Blind inventory really has been the canker blight on the whole of the display advertising U.K. system. What potentially seemed like a really good tactic, cheap, bottom price, effective way of getting new traffic and potentially new customers, actually in the long term, it turns out it's the worst strategy you could ever really do. Let's face it, in a world where you have to be brand safe on behalf of your advertisers -- well, you should want to be anyway -- and in a world where we can increasingly demand transparency, which is the right thing to do, hopefully that's one way of reducing blind advertising inventory.

Then if you look at it from we need to measure things, we need to make our actions more accountable, and you think about let's attribute even just within the display channel, in a way, if inventory is blind, it cannot be attributed properly. It can't be measured properly. Therefore, as we get more discerning in doing that, it should be eradicated more anyway. So we'd expect us pushing it out as well as it naturally declining as we see less value because we can't measure it properly. That's why I think blind inventory finally, in 2015, might be a thing of the past.

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