Key areas of growth will be in streaming TV, in retail media, on short-form social video platforms and in new forms of search. Much of the growth and a majority of the spend will be captured by the six largest global technology platforms.
There isn’t much debate on any of this. There’s also not much debate of the fact that most of this spend and the growth will be on non-standard platforms running non-standard systems, with the buying, optimization and measurement conducted separately and uniquely on each one of the platforms. And, in some cases, with several different and custom ways to buy within each platform, depending on what inventory or tools you want.
How is this possible? The past 20 years have brought us massive growth in ad spend on digital banners and mobile ads, much bought and measured in standardized ways, and normalized on specifications driven by industry trade groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Unfortunately, how you buy and measure streaming ads on Google/YouTube is different from on TikTok and different from Netflix, and it’s more likely that those services diverge than converge.
Really? Shouldn’t the maturation and massive scale of the digital ad ecosystem, together with its capturing of a majority of total ad spend, mean a future for our industry with more standardization, not less?
Clearly not. Just look at TV. In the legacy world of television advertising, the standardization was (and is) strong. Clear guidelines for everything from gross rating points, age and gender definitions, day parts definitions, terms of delivery, terms of make-goods, standardized ad lengths, commonality of measurements, etc. In the world of CTV ads, we don’t even have very good standards to know that your ads even appeared on TVs, let alone whether real people viewed them or on what content they appeared.
Incredibly, the world of real-time, data-driven, automated and closed-loop advertising, opacity and customization is much more the norm than we ever had in legacy TV offerings.
So yes, the future of advertising is non-standard as the norm. Are you ready for that?