6 Digital Media Buying Trends


With digital advertising on track to comprise the lion’s share of advertising dollars, programmatic advertising will continue to gain prominence in the digital media-buying space.

Here are six digital media buying trends to expect in 2017.

1.Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!:Increased Buying on Open Auction. The industry will see robust buying through the open buying environment as advertisers recognize they have ample data and just need access to premium ad inventory at scale.

Today’s advertisers are more reliant on their own customer data and less in need of publishers to provide reader data. The biggest question advertisers will ask: “How do I find massive amounts of quality inventory?” It’s imperative for publishers to create a way that buyers can purchase multiple audiences without friction.

2.Maturation of programmatic guaranteed tools. There has been a move away from enabling advertisers to reserve inventory in advance as programmatic buying replaces human interaction. Look for advanced programmatic tools that meld automation with ad planning.

For instance, let’s say an advertiser has a product launching. They know they want to reach potential customers in several particular DMAs. They also know that a given media company has sites in those DMAs, with which the advertiser wants to secure 1 million impressions during a particular time frame.

New programmatic tools will make it possible for brands to efficiently reserve ad space in advance. Ideally, the buyer will enter a digital marketplace, type in specific targets such as DMA, number of desired impressions and the price they’re willing to pay.

The marketplace would then surface all available inventory sources that meet the specifications.

Then the buyer would submit a bid via the marketplace, which generates an automated alert to the appropriate publisher fulfillment team. A designated contact on the publishing side will receive the request, negotiate and execute the deal through the automated channel.

Several companies are making headway, utilizing tools and platforms to further options in the programmatic guaranteed lead space, including Rubicon and Google. Rubicon recently announced the launch of its Guaranteed PMPs (private marketplaces), designed to tear down the barriers between traditional direct buying and programmatic media trading. Google also is working on tools that enable customers to increase inventory and revenue from programmatic guaranteed.

3.1-on-1 relationships will remain important. Despite the move toward automating the buying process with an increase in programmatic ad buying, the human element will not be fully replaced anytime soon. Advertisers still need one-on-one relationships to help “cherry pick” the best inventory for them.

4. Video will be the biggest beast on the web. Highly coveted video inventory has been scarce with supply not keeping up with demand. Expect to see publishers focus on growing traffic for video assets.

Advertisers will continue to focus on creating engaging, shareable, creative video ads. In response, publishers will need to make buying mobile video ads more accessible, affordable and quick loading. They also will look to publishers to offer more native video ad options that are less intrusive and yield higher engagement with users.

5. Migration from desktop to mobile. Expect to see a continued shift from desktop to mobile inventory as more consumers conduct day-to-day business on their mobile devices. From July 2015 to June 2016, mobile traffic accounted for just over one third of traffic to our member news sites.

Less than a year later, mobile now constitutes more than 50 percent of traffic and inventory. As pageviews transition from desktop to mobile, mobile advertising inventory will continue to increase along with it.

6. Fraud detection tools will proliferate. In an age of fake news and click-baiting, advertisers and publishers have a responsibility to protect their constituents from falling prey to untrustworthy sites. Expect to see more focus on practices, procedures and tools to detect and eliminate digital advertising fraud.

2017 brings new challenges and opportunities, but overall this is an exciting time for the digital media buying space, and the advertisers and marketers we serve.