2017: Publishers Reinforce Journalistic Integrity, Use Tech to Cut Out Middlemen

Much like a shark, the ad tech industry only moves forward. Arguably, the seas were a bit rough in 2016. Here are three predictions for the ad tech industry based on what 2016 left in its wake:  
  • The fake news backlash will drive credible publishers to prove their journalistic integrity, as brands seek to better validate publishers they’re associated with
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) will create new opportunities for publishers that act now
  • Publishers will up their ad-tech game and reclaim a larger piece of the revenue pie. 

The Fake News Backlash

While the presence of fake news has been an ongoing issue, the topic has spiked since the U.S. presidential election. Now site quality and ad context are having greater priority as consumers let brands know how they feel about where their ads appear online.

Brands are increasingly evaluating the caliber of their site list to determine the publications aligned with their values. Many advertisers are pulling their buys from questionable and/or controversial sites, despite the volume of traffic.



Whatever your political stance, divisiveness is impacting publisher revenue and brand affinity. Expect to see publications more clearly establish their credibility, stand up for journalistic integrity and provide increased transparency around the authenticity of traffic.

This means greater overall transparency, higher levels of engagement and irrefutable time-in-view metrics. In response, demand-side platforms (DSP) will become more sophisticated and transparent in how they weed out problematic sites.

The first step is measuring fraud, viewability and time-in-view accurately. Efforts will steer spend and value toward media that delivers well on these metrics and away from those that don’t.  It’s going to hurt some players.  

2. AMP Creates New Opportunities for Publishers

The need for AMP is coming on strong as consumers spend more time on their mobile devices. Promising faster downloads of content and ads, AMP and AMP for Ads provide publishers with an opportunity to drive engagement and incremental revenue on mobile.

As the The New York Times noted, the question will be if publishers are comfortable relinquishing all control and hosting to Google in return for AMP.

To take advantage of the rise in mobile and (finally) move consumers from “viewing to doing” on mobile devices requires publishers to fully AMP-enable their content. They’ll need to align with platforms that can support a range of AMP-ready ad formats. A third critical aspect for success with AMP is going to be in the authenticity and delivery of analytics.

Currently, the AMP project’s analytics are limited, and the spec is gaining support from the industry as third parties collaborate on how to effectively support and collect analytics information. Google’s recent ad partner announcements with Cloudflare and TripleLift are a good example of this collaboration.

In 2017, expect AMP will stir up existing publisher relationships driven by a greater need for improved user experiences on mobile devices, support for a variety of better ad formats, and greater revenue from mobile traffic.

3. Publishers Up Their Ad Tech Game

The market will shift and put publishers in an enviable position to create new revenue streams. They can do this by taking more control of their inventory and data, and by providing buyers with greater transparency into traffic, content, and context.

Additionally, they will see even more gains by embracing AMP for faster page downloads, which will result in improved user experiences and increased engagement.

A third, critical profit-enhancing opportunity for publishers is their ability to build their own tools and technology and circumvent some middleman. As the marketplace has evolved, enabling technologies have matured; buyers can and will go directly to publishers.

To avoid extraneous, or what some publishers might call unnecessary added costs imposed by ad-tech providers, they are employing a variety of tactics. They’re also tapping into header bidding in both server-to-server and direct integrations, as well as working directly with buyers for lower latency and higher quality.

As publishers continue to innovate on their own, there will be a shift in how buyers and publishers work together to achieve much greater quality online advertising.

Publishers, and now buyers, will need to be transparent in the value they bring to each other and how their actions affect the industry.  I think we can expect new, surprising market entrants and partners this year.





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