Predictions: What’s in store for digital advertising in 2017
A few things to watch for: A boom in voice services, such as Siri
December 20, 2016
The issue of fake news has really only become of interest to advertisers over the past month, in the aftermath of the election. But it’s a problem that will reverberate throughout the coming year for digital advertisers, according to predictions made by Jonathan Adams, chief digital officer at Maxus. He says advertisers will need to “prioritize authenticity” when it comes to news. His other predictions include: A renaissance for audio voice services; intensifying competition for internet “lite;” influencers joining the establishment; telcos targeting advertisers; and emphasis on behavioral signals. Adams spoke with Media Life about his forecast.
What’s the most important thing relating to digital that buyers and planners should keep in mind for 2017?
Despite the seismic shift toward programmatic which has occurred in recent years, understanding and following media fundamentals will drive performance.
Who you speak to, where and when you are finding them, what you are serving them in that moment, and what data do you have to back up that decision?
Is there any overarching theme to the digital trends you see in the coming year?
The pace of change hasn’t slowed, it’s accelerated. After last year’s CES, many felt we were telling the same stories year over year.
[But] 2017 will prove that we are about to see advances in technology improve the lives of both consumers and marketers.
What is internet lite, and what should media people know about it?
Not every country has high-speed internet.
In fact, many of the largest populations, such as those in India and China, are just coming online, and they often have intermittent access to bandwidth. While the first world has shifted into the cloud, these emerging markets may well be offline first for a while to come.
Fake news has been in the real news for weeks now. How do you see the issue transforming in the coming year?
As agencies, it will be our job to help brand marketers navigate around–and fully avoid if at all possible–the onslaught of fake news. There are a few brand safety players who are hoping to release a real-time pre-bid filtering solution, which would be very well timed.
What sort of online influencers are most desirable for clients to court? Are these largely Millennials? Are they trusted by other Millennials?
The influencer market has exploded precisely because they are trusted by Millennials and GenZ. Not all are marketing-friendly and that’s the trick — finding a partner rather than a quick shill.
If it’s not authentic, consumers will know.
Why will voice services come into their own this year? How much have they improved since we first started talking with Siri?
Great question, and perhaps my favorite topic.
In just the year and a half since [Amazon voice service] Alexa came to life, she has gone from 14 available tasks to well over 1,000. This is driven almost exclusively by marketers embracing the platform.
This integration of voice services into our lives will only accelerate as they become better listeners. Once they all reach 99 percent understanding, it’s roughly the same as a phone conversation with your best friend. Pretty amazing stuff.
You predict telcos will target advertisers. Why is this significant, and can you expand on your prediction?
I was really talking about the 2017 acquisition headlines. Verizon and AT&T mergers will bring the telco and cable brands back into the limelight after their stories had largely lost public interest.
With the assets they are considering buying — combined with their own — we have some fairly remarkable targeting options coming this year.
How do advertisers “assess behavioral signals” in what’s admittedly a polarized political climate, as you note?
In recent years, behavioral targeting has lost its shine as programmatic has conversely driven so many other reported data signals into relevance.
With the 2016 elections, it’s clear we need to refocus on what people do versus what they are just saying.
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