As a data-driven analytics company, my team and I spend most of our day helping publishers better understand their audiences, discovering opportunities for driving advertising yields, and teasing out trends that will push the industry forward. Although each publisher is different, there are some distinct trends that apply to almost everyone in the industry for the coming year.
1. Fraud and ad blocking will get worse before they get better, and will slow the migration of budgets to digital
Whether we like it or not, there’s a lot of incentive for fraudsters to keep doing what they’re doing. And they have immense technical skills, and can easily find ways to circumvent the fraud-detection systems. Is it any wonder that advertisers are now thinking twice about migrating their marketing budgets to digital channels? TV is beginning to look good again.
And despite the publishers’ best efforts to explain to readers the consequence of ad blocking, the number of installations keep going up. Why? In my opinion, the technical side of advertising harms the consumer experience. When each page load requires (literally) hundreds of ad calls, consumers are kept waiting. Ad-blocking eliminates that frustration. And if more than 50% of consumers start using ad blockers, what’s the point of advertising there?
Fortunately, I think we’re on the cusp of addressing both these issues. Companies like White Ops offer services to proactively block fraud. As this market matures, we’ll see a major dent in fraud, and renewed advertiser confidence. Ad blocking will also be conquered through improved consumer experiences. For instance, publishers need to understand just how many pixels fire on their pages, and the impact they have on the user experience. Try installing Ghostery and taking a tour of your site. You may be in for a shock.
2. Publishers will move to a mobile-first strategy
Brands have been aggressive in adopting a mobile-first strategy, but publishers have been slower to embrace this change. Too many pages are overly complex and bloated, and consequently work terribly on mobile devices. They’re simply carryovers from their desktop efforts, but the design and delivery don’t translate well to mobile.
Why are publishers late to the mobile-first game? The effort to rework their sites is a factor. More importantly, the rates mobile commands are significantly lower than desktop. From a revenue point of view, mobile isn’t necessarily a great place to optimize, which makes it difficult to justify the funds required to do so. But when the secular shift is there, being late to the game is never a good idea.