Forget GDPR: Mobile Ad Spend Will Continue to Grow

As usual, the digital advertising world is about to change. Several factors have caused this next round, and only a minor one is GDPR, which proves to be something we can all get over by checking another bunch of boxes to say we accept cookies.

But companies have invested quite a big in getting ready for GDPR, and they’re not going to let that go to waste, so here are the ways advertising will change again:

1)Some publications are going to re-ignite direct sales, in the name of transparency and brand safety. Although programmatic will continue to grow, we’re already seeing the return of the I/O, which was a staple of the industry. To guard against misplaced advertising, I/Os specify context. This may seem very old school, but there’s benefit in having ads placed next to relevant content. Facebook and Google already know this.

2)Some players are experimenting with the block chain. There are at least three solutions that experiment with the blockchain. The first is the Brave browser and the Basic Attention Token (BAT) a way of paying content providers micropayments for traffic. No one is under the illusion that this will replace advertising, but it may co-exist nicely with fewer ads. There is also a startup called KindAds, a blockchain platform that wants to decentralize online advertising process by connecting advertisers directly to publishers to remove the intermediary service of ad networks.

And  there’s AdEx, which is attempting to boil the ocean.

AdEx is a blockchain-based ad exchange that seeks to minimize advertising fraud by providing a platform for advertisers to connect with publishers. AdEx also wants to solve the problems around lack of consumer consent, privacy concerns, and data misuse. For one, users get a dashboard where they can choose the kinds of ads they want to see, the firm uses blockchain technology to anonymize user data, it creates a data trail to verify clicks/views in ad campaigns

3)Industry groups are promoting transparency. IAB, the industry’s self-regulating body, has released a framework for acceptable ads, as has the Acceptable Ads Exchange initiative of Ad Block Plus, and several other trade associations. The goal of these efforts is to show consumers the industry can and will self-regulate.

In the meantime, we can be sure digital advertising growth will continue, because Mary Meeker has identified a $7B delta between the growth of time spent by consumers on mobile devices, up 29% since last year and growth of mobile ad spend, which is only up 26%.