Hello, and happy 2017.

Apologies in advance if you were really hoping to read another point of view on what’s going to be paradigm-shifting, game-changing, mind-blowing and Rubicon-crossing, in our industry in 2017, but I’m afraid we think there’s already enough noise on the internet about that. We think that it roughly falls into 3 categories:

  • Abstract, vague notions which make the ‘guru’ espousing them seem like some sort of prescient, futuristic, new clothes-wearing Emperor. 
  • Predicted-massive-growth-in-areas-and-channels-which-the-agency-in-question-happens-to-specialise-in-and-wants-new-clients-in.
  • People who actually know what they’re talking about, and predict that largely things will stay relatively similar to last year, but that’s not interesting enough to make a headline out of, so they get bumped to a footnote.

For your reading pleasure and ease, I’ve curated some of the more interesting points of view that we’ve read over the last couple of weeks on each of a number of interesting topics for our industry.

Measurement

The industry is currently facing a slightly paradoxical scenario where Facebook are hoovering up as many ad-dollars as people want to throw at them (which is a lot), and yet are currently facing increased scrutiny over perceived inaccurate measurement of campaign performance. Twitter is also struggling with measurement, and it seems that Google are the only huge player yet to come under fire. Facebook have had to come clean and admit that they have mis-reported certain metrics which may have over-stated the performance of some of their products. In an area where transparency is a hot topic, and various polemicist commentators are raising the issue of ad-fraud and the margins which publishers, agencies and trading desks make on ad inventory, it’s clear that measurement efficacy is going to be under the spotlight in 2017.

Here are some examples of why Measurement will continue to be so important, in order to restore faith in the industry:

http://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/12/24/twitter-puts-inflated-video-metrics-down-bug-it-refunds-advertisers-and-affirms

http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/facebook-admits-fourth-measurement-error/1419156

While Mark Ritson says that this proves that ‘no-one has a clue about digital’

https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/09/26/mark-ritson-facebooks-erroneous-video-metrics-show-no-one-has-a-clue-about-digital/

Marketing Week think that this will be a wake-up call for the industry and that measurement will be more important than ever:

https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/12/06/trends-2017-gig-economy-price-hikes-measurement

And here’s the Ad Contrarian with, well, a contrarian view, on ad fraud and transparency within programmatic buys.

http://adcontrarian.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/huge-video-ad-fraud-uncovered.html

http://adcontrarian.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/display-ads-my-3-worth.html

Post-truth, post-click-bait?

The general wave of anti-native/click-bait advertising attitudes have been gathering momentum for a while, however with the more recent explosion in opprobrium against ‘post-fact’ or ‘fake’ news content, we’ve seen a knock on effect of a backlash against Taboola/Outbrain style click-bait content. We think this is a shame – despite being a medium ostensibly designed to get round ad-blockers, the concept of content tailored to your interests, within the editorial feed of the page/social network you’re browsing, is a good one. Increased information, where you are, in digestible form. What’s not to love? Well like eBay and Twitter, it’s been ruined by unscrupulous latecomers who have muddied the purity of the well.

It’s going to be interesting to see how advertisers react in a scenario where they’re shying away from programmatic display because they’re potentially only seeing $0.03 of value per dollar in their advertising (as highlighted by the Ad Contrarian), but don’t want to advertise on the sorts of websites which allow the sort of lowest common denominator advertising straplines such as ‘You won’t believe what happened next..’ on them.

Charlotte Rogers in Marketing Week makes a compelling argument:

https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/10/28/why-advertisers-should-avoid-clickbait-in-the-post-truth-era/ 

Live Video

There’s a social media arms race taking place to capture the burgeoning demand for live streaming of video, with the launches in 2016 of Facebook Live and Instagram Live following on from Periscope in 2015. It’s not all great news for live streaming fans though – Meerkat came and went within 18 months, suggesting that the cut-through of live video isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. However, all evidence suggests that 2017 looks to be a huge year for live video, as evidenced by Brandwatch, CIO, Techcrunch & Digiday:

https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/digital-marketing-trends-2017/

http://www.cio.com/article/3154424/videos/what-marketing-pros-need-to-know-about-live-video-in-2017.html

https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/28/twitter-introduces-360-degree-video-live-streaming/

http://digiday.com/brands/livestreaming-booming-brands-want-staff-camera-ready

The ease of broadcasting live video does have its downsides. High profile cases of people being shot, live on video, and others capturing crimes such as assault and torture suggests that Facebook, Persicope et al will need to address the ethical conundrums around live video if it’s truly going to be a hit for them.

So it looks like being a hugely exciting year for our industry and we’ll be exploring all of the above themes, and more, in more detail in the coming weeks. Check back soon, and Happy New Year!