One of the things I liked to do prior to the pandemic was to attend relevant conferences around marketing and advertising technology. I also help people improve traffic and conversions on their site with the help of WordPress plug-ins, which is why I find ad tech interesting. It's constantly evolving, and there are several key drivers behind it, including:
• The rapid development of artificial intelligence and its application in advertising, especially programmatic advertising.
• The rising concern over how businesses are using their audience's data, with the implementation of legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation acting as a major indicator of similar laws appearing in the future.
• A fear of the recession and the unexpected rise of the current pandemic.
Now that we’re in the third quarter of the year, we're still left with questions on how ad tech will grow. So, let's explore a few ad tech directions I believe we can expect to see this year.
There’s been a buzz around omnichannel marketing and "MadTech" for a while now. Bringing advertising and marketing technology together is desirable because there are a large number of platforms and vendors. This means that it’s challenging to manage multiple platforms, and it can be quite expensive.
Not to mention, with diverse platforms, there’s a good chance that businesses are sitting on a lot of data and not using it effectively. Bringing the technologies together is important for better data management and to reduce the dependence on too many vendors. A study by Sizmek titled "An Insider's Look at Media, Brand Safety and Partnerships," which surveyed 522 marketing leaders, found that 64% of marketers are prioritizing reducing the number of vendors in their supply chains.
Another reason the convergence of ad tech and MadTech is important is to remove the silos in an organization. An omnichannel approach makes it possible to remove internal silos so that different teams have access to the same data. The information technology department can help produce information that’s relevant to the organization.
Fortunately, new MadTech tools are available in the market, thus bringing together advertising and marketing tools. It's a good idea to do research to find out if such a tool would be more effective in your business.
Contextual intelligence to support privacy
In advertising, it’s personalization that drives higher click-through rates and conversions. Personalization is possible by tracking user behavior and using this data to show ads that are relevant to your audience.
However, the implementation of the GDPR and a growing concern about protecting people’s privacy means that you need to think of alternative ways to create personalization. (Just consider that Google announced in January that it will be depreciating third-party cookies, and Apple has included built-in privacy features in its Safari browsers.)
As the larger platforms and laws change, it’s AI that comes to the rescue again. Context intelligence is an AI application that allows advertisers to show ads based on the content of a page rather than the behavior profile of the user. By using machine learning and natural language processing, contextual intelligence technology can help eliminate the reliance on tracking users for making relevant ads.
With this in mind, an important thing that marketers can do is keep an eye on rising technologies. Oracle, for example, recently acquired Moat and Grapeshot to further grow contextual ad tools, so I believe it's worth exploring your own options. The challenge may lie in transitioning to new ways of working, but as tools and your experience evolve, you'll be able to adapt to technological changes more easily.
The pandemic and the future of ad tech
An unexpected situation in the form of the current pandemic has disrupted virtually all industries around the world. I think we can look at past crises to take a safe guess on what ad tech businesses and investors should do during this uncertain climate.
Since the downward movements of the markets in 2019, there’s been speculation that there might be a recession and a reduction of investment in ad tech technology. But if we use similar past events as examples, we might look at this time as an opportunity for innovation and growth.
In 2009, Amazon, for example, grew its sales by more than a quarter during the Great Recession. It also introduced the Kindle and heavily advertised its products to expand its market share. During the recession in 1990 to 1991, McDonald’s dropped its advertising spend, which led Pizza Hut and Taco Bell to increase theirs and improve their sales.
While the pandemic is a different kettle of fish, it’s with noting that it is driving more and more businesses online. There are avenues of opportunity in many cases, and it might also be a good time for businesses to use their voice through advertising and stay in their audience’s minds.
One way to have a voice that helps people is to communicate in ads about how you're working during Covid-19 and what people can expect during this time from your brand. It will immediately ease any concerns by providing helpful information.
Businesses are being compelled to change by different factors: better AI solutions, changes in people’s preferences regarding how their data is being used by companies and the pandemic.
As a business, it’s essential to stay on top of what’s happening and to move with the changes taking place. Hopefully, the brief look we’ve taken at these developments in ad tech will help you navigate 2020 and the year beyond.