Predictions for 2014

Tis the season of parties and predictions, and far be it from ZEDO to be left out. Although we have no inside track to the future, we’re as entitled to make predictions as anyone else in our industry, so here goes:

1) In another year, no one will have a “mobile strategy.” Rather, brands will have an integrated strategy to reach consumers wherever they are, and creative will be designed purposefully to work on desktops and tablets. It will be acknowledged that advertising follows the consumer, that consumers leap from screen to screen and the creative challenges presented by the flitting consumers will have been met. Publishers, if they hope to remain in business, will have designed their sites responsively, to work with all browsers and all devices. Flash will continue to die a slow death, as will any technology that slows down pageloads.

2) Video will be the name of the game. Even in traditionally display-oriented sites, like news sites, video will take over because of its higher levels of engagement. Video ads will be monetized, using GRP-like metrics. Our video formats, especially InArticle, will continue to outperform display, although display will never die.

3) Native advertising will be limited by publishers’ squeamishness about breaking down the wall between business and editorial. While it might be all right for a publisher to have one or two native ads on a site, the Buzzfeed model will not work for everyone, especially the premium news sites.

4) There will be more convergence in the business. Although 2013 was the year of the ad tech IPO, 2014 will be the year of disappointing results. Even private companies will suffer from this, as there are simply too many tool providers that don’t give an advertiser a full solution. Those with little or no revenue will run out of venture capital and need to sell themselves to the stronger players.

5)Media planners will get smart, and refuse to buy blind inventory. They’ll buy on premium exchanges, where even if they buy programmatically, they can be sure they’re in a brand-safe environment with the right targeting.

6)Programmatic and RTB will not be worth writing about anymore, as they will have  ceased to be a threat, and have become a promise — the promise of cost-savings and time-savings that automation at its best can keep.

Admittedly, some of these are things we wish would happen. And one other wish: we wish you, our friends, customers, vendors, and teammates a very Happy Holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year.