So, how will the developments of the last 12 months evolve in the year ahead? We gathered together thought leaders from every corner of the tech space and asked them to share their views on the trends that will shape the digital landscape next year.
The ad blocking evolution
By Jonathan Milne, CRO at Celtra
Ad blocking will continue to be a significant issue in 2016. However, the conversation will turn from the arms race of ad blockers vs. advertisers to how the ad industry needs to improve its practices. A new set of guidelines is likely to be created, advising publishers, advertisers, agencies, media owners, and technology companies how consumer data should be used. There will also be a focus on the number and quality of ads delivered, including the most engaging formats – such as interstitial — and the level of tracking to which consumers should be subjected.
The industry must acknowledge the requirement to adapt to consumer needs. It is only once advertisers and publishers take steps to improve user experiences and create relevant, engaging content that we will begin to see a decline in ad blocking.
Quality will be optimised to fight ad blocking
By Andrew Buckman, Managing Director EMEA, OpenX
The number of UK consumers using ad-blocking software has risen to 18 per cent, and this figure could increase if the industry does not address the issue soon. Consumers are demanding a better user experience and are prepared to block poor quality ads.
The industry must take more decisive action to meet the ad blocking challenge. We expect advertisers to improve the experience they deliver, with a focus on premium native formats. To win back consumers loyalty, advertisers need to deliver engaging, hyper-targeted ads that reach them at the optimal moment. Publishers will follow City A.M’s lead and focus on educating consumers about the role ads play in the free internet, and will ask those who still use ad blockers to pay a subscription for content access.
Tech providers will prioritise quality standards to eliminate malicious advertising, which has increased by 260% in the last year, with 58 per cent of malicious software delivered through popular websites. These issues fuel the adoption of ad blockers, and may also deter premium publishers from fully embracing open programmatic exchanges.
Ad tech companies must commit to higher standards that prioritise quality and offer a safe, positive experience for end users.
A universal standard of viewability will be reached
By Lisa Menaldo, Managing Director UK, Sublime Skinz
Viewability will be crucial for publishers as advertisers expect guarantees on viewable impressions. This year, despite the IAB releasing viewability metrics, an agreed standard remained elusive as brands and publishers disagreed about what constitutes an acceptable level of viewability. For some publishers, low cost inventory is sold with the bare minimum of viewability standards, while for brands maximum viewability is vital for their advertising efforts to come to fruition.
In 2016, we will continue to move towards a global standard, which appeases both brands and publishers. However, this may be a result of consolidation across the industry, which will bring its own problems by reducing competition in the marketplace. No matter what, a global industry-wide discussion is needed; maybe then we will see viewability become the main currency in media trading.
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