Six Online Ad Industry Predictions For The Year Of The Ox
In 2009, smart and sophisticated marketers will see that the gold mine that is search, can be mined yet deeper. The rich vein of qualified prospects and customers they are buying in search can be brought over to increase their return on display media. The arcane barriers of how we do business as an industry will be lowered by the need to get more efficient in extracting value out of those search hills. 2009 will be the year the early adopters show you can cross the chasm of search and display.
Display Works! Really it does!
Display or graphical banners get a bad rap and rightfully so, because we as an industry haven't done enough to prove the efficacy of the medium in the overall mix. In 2009 the trends of appropriate attribution thinking, the adoption of appropriate attribution tools/methodologies and the advancement of the core advertising technologies that help you deliver the right message to the right audience will bring forth the "proof cases" that display advertising really works and is incredibly important in the overall media mix.
2009: The Year of the Exchange
You think you have heard about ad exchanges already. Well it is just getting started. 2008 saw the dominance of the exchange marketplace by RightMedia with ContextWeb's ADSDAQ not far behind, but 2009 will see new entrants across the industry from Fox, Y! APT, Microsoft, Appnexus, BlueKia and many, many more. These new entrants will not only preach the gospel of an open and transparent marketplace where we can all prosper but will bring the technology innovations our industry needs to move out of the back room deals and into a well lit marketplace. These changes mean that more buyers and sellers than ever before (along with their supply and demand) will enter the market.
Data isn't set free...not just yet
2009 will not be the year that user data makes your media plan more efficient. The promised marriage of data and ad inventory in cyber-space to make any ad a great one, just isn't a reality yet. The technology and processes to really make it easy to buy and sell data attributes don't exist across our ecosystem. Although the infrastructure and thought leaders are making great progress and a select group will have "private transactions" to make this work, it is not ready for prime time.
Agency's start to understand their "Network Buys"
Media buyers and planners have relied on ad networks for years to augment their media buys. The ad nets play an important role in helping advertisers scale the reach and frequency of their campaigns and make it easier to buy a broad reach of qualified publishers thus getting access to qualified users that could not afford to acquire directly (just not enough time in the day). Today the media buyer is finally getting some help in understanding the efficacy of those media buys. This comes from a better understanding of how to match the right inventory and audience at the right price.
Don't Follow the Hype or Naysayers in Social Media
When it comes to creating scalable marketing value out of social media or any UGC or transactional site, don't believe the hype or the naysayers. Everyone loves to state the obvious -- the current ad model for social media doesn't work. It doesn't because we have taken the old model (a square peg) and pushed it onto a new medium (a round hole) and sure enough, it doesn't work. How long did it take our industry to figure out how to create scalable marketing value out of display (and I would argue we still have a long way to go there to)? How many years did it take our industry to find a scalable way to monetize search?
We are only in the first inning of the social media marketing revolution and change. And the first inning is always played using old technologies or methods. The new ways of creating scalable marketing value out of social media are just now being developed. Look for these ideas to get real commercial traction in 2009 and the debate to start anew on how we make the most of this new medium.