Many people are glad to see 2016 over. Not only did we lose a lot of famous people, like Prince, through death, but we lost faith in our electoral system and perhaps in journalism as well. Since November, democracies have been in a flurry of self examination. And in the advertising industry, we very nearly lost faith in our own business models.
But we believe the industry will pull out of this stronger than ever. Here are some reasons why we think 2016 wasn’t so bad and better days are coming.
1)When people began installing ad blockers, the marketing industry finally sat up and took notice. Several new industry groups were formed to try to sort out the reasons people have come to hate advertising. Those groups worked diligently through 2016 and came up with some pretty specific ways to clean up the industry and restore faith. Publishers revised their pages so they did not have as many ads and and the advent of AMP pages sped up page load.
2) part of the reason advertising became such a mess had to do with the birth of real-time bidding and the shift from direct to programmatic. In the early stages, adopters of programmatic off and didn’t know what they were buying. However media buyers have now become more educated about how to buy programmatically, and they’ve become smarter about what they buy.
3) A corollary to the last point is the emergence of many new techniques to take the blindness out of buying at auction: programmatic direct and header bidding are two of them. We are a participant in both
4) Facebook began to show chinks in its armor as it had to report three different instances of mistaken metrics toward the end of last year. Some publishers began to question their commitment to the global platform, and to reignite ways to draw people to their own home pages again. Brands and agencies, too, began to question whether Facebook was really worth their investment. Now we don’t think Facebook will disappear tomorrow, but we have our eyes on Snapchat and also on individual sites in dishes that seem to do very well, such as travel, sports, and Lifestyle issues.
5) Digital video, especially out stream video, proved itself this year. Digital video spend grew remarkably, and according to predictions will grow again next year
And one last word to the wise: don’t think you know what is going to happen this year. If you’ve been in the industry for any length of time you know that trends can turn on a dime.