ADOTAS — We’ve just passed the halfway point of Q4 2013, and not surprisingly, industry leaders have already begun to look ahead. Among the first to offer his predictions for the coming year is Bob Lord, who took the leap 4 months ago from the agency side at Razorfish to the publishing realm as CEO at AOL Networks. Here are his “2014 Predictions for the Digital Advertising Industry.”
1. Automation Takes Hold. 2014 will be the year that marketing and machines fall in love. Rather than looking at tech infrastructure and creative execution as two separate silos, more and more marketers are beginning to appreciate the symbiotic relationship between the two. As automated, or programmatic, advertising technologies replace cumbersome manual media planning and buying processes that eat up too much time and leak critical consumer data, more resources can be re-directed towards the creative side of the house, and toward impactful, engaging and effective advertising that drives commerce. This is what marketers have been waiting for.
2.Open Ecosystems Win. Both Wall Street and Madison Avenue are out of patience for niche ad technologies that are product features masquerading as foundational solutions. The industry has asked marketers to manage multiple relationships with 20 to 40 vendors to execute online advertising. This is a significant deterrent for digital investment. Closed systems that force marketers to stitch together a patchwork of technology features will lose, and existing ecosystems will be pushed to open up. We’ll see industry consolidation continue in 2014 and witness the rise of open “platform” heavyweights that will make media planning and buying a whole lot simpler for all involved.
3. Mobile Drives The Transaction. 2014 will be the year that marketers demand device agnostic advertising. Desktop display growth has been leapfrogged by the smartphone and tablet, moving multi-screen advertising into the spotlight. Sight, sound and motion will trump all other content forms as consumers have access to increased bandwidth. Innovations and technologies that empower marketers to gain a single view of the customer and target across all screens are leading the way, because ultimately, a cross-screen strategy will drive the highest return for marketers.
4. Customers Appreciate Targeting. 2014 will be the year consumers have a greater appreciation of targeted, personal marketing. And a growing number of advertisers will respond with online marketing technologies that deliver richer, more relevant brand experiences – things people like, want, and use – at scale from the smartphone to the desktop.
5. Premium Advertising Gets More Premium. 2014 will be the year when immersive experiences that tie directly to a transaction will dominate. Premium advertising that goes beyond banners will get even more sophisticated and customizable. Whether it’s a new live advertising execution (think Oreo’s response during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout) or a commerce campaign that drives product off shelves through location based content, digital advertising will be remarkable, unique and experience-based.
6. Convergence Drives Global Business Strategies. Techies, creative types and content producers can no longer retreat to their separate corner offices to devise strategies in a vacuum. They must break down silos to succeed. As media, technology and creativity converge, more holistic and integrated businesses will emerge and out perform their competition.