Is it safe to say that 2017 was a pivotal year for the world of marketing and advertising? We’ve outlined six trends that marked the past year that you’ll likely be hearing more about in 2018. As the year begins, it’s a good time to think about current concerns in the industry, and to fully understand new trends!
#1. Transparency in advertising: marketers (finally) enter the fray
The past year was, above all else, the year when advertisers truly understood the lack of transparency in the advertising industry – and decided to fight back! Leading the fray was Mark Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble and chairman of the ANA. In early 2017 at the annual IAB conference, he gave adtech players an ultimatum: one year to decrease complexity and fraud, and to increase rationality and transparency. Key areas for improvement include brand safety, ad fraud hidden margins in tool contracts, data ownership, agency/brand relationships… The list goes on. Following the disillusionment, mea culpas, and nascent initiatives of 2017, will this year be a renaissance year for advertising?
To learn more:
- How the CMO became a politician
by Shareen Pathak via Digiday, published on 3/10/17
- In advertising paradise, reality is just a conversation away
by Sapna Maheshwari via The New York Times, published on 25/06/17
- Digital advertising is facing its ultimate moment of truth, and billions of dollars are at stake
by Lauren Johnson via Adweek, published on 04/09/17
#2. “Amazon is everywhere” – especially on the advertising market
While advertisers and content publishers have been pursuing new alliances, Amazon has been rubbing shoulders more and more with the Google-Facebook duo. This is only the beginning of the advertising adventure for this e-commerce titan – which recently surpassed the ad revenue of both Twitter and Snapchat. In fact, eMarketer estimates that Amazon’s advertising revenues will grow by 38% in 2018, reaching $2.77 billion. This impressive potential can be explained in large part by the richness of data at Amazon’s disposal, as well as by its advantageous position given its unique purchase funnel and its increasingly sophisticated advertising offer which brings together search and display.
To learn more:
- The mysteries of advertising on Amazon, revealed
by Hugo Loriot (fifty-five) via Viuz, published on 12/15/17
- Amazon’s push to grow its ad business, in 4 charts
by Seb Joseph via Digiday, published on 12/19/17
- Online publishers – the time for taking stock is over. Now must come the response
by Mats Carduner (fifty-five) via Forbes, published on 10/26/17
#3. Could Apple and Google be the new white knights of online advertising?
Faced with the growing popularity of ad blocking and, more generally, the resistance to advertising, these Silicon Valley titans are positioning themselves (surprisingly?) as protectors of Internet users against the advertising industry’s practices. Google will thus begin blocking ads judged to be intrusive in its Chrome browser beginning in February 2018. “Intrusive” will mean ad formats that don’t follow the directives of the Coalition for Better Ads. Apple, for its part, has completely revisited its cookies policy within the Safari browser, which could be bad news for many digital advertising players – particularly those who operate using the third-party data market.
What’s more, the GDPR becomes effective from May 2018, which means that it is likely that protection of users and their personal data will once again be central to conversations this year. Though targeted online advertising has undeniable benefits for consumers and advertisers, certain practices are considered intrusive or even abusive. Again, we can expect to see that Google and Apple – whose next steps are highly anticipated when it comes to this subject – will portray themselves as exemplary leaders.
To learn more:
- The New Chrome and Safari will reshape the web
by Klint Finley via Wired, published on 07/06/17
- Intelligent Tracking Prevention or when Apple sets out on a new Safari in the digital advertising wilderness.
by François Khoury and Merwan Benarbane (fifty-five), published on 12/02/17
- What is GDPR? WIRED explains what you need to know
by Matt Burgess via WIRED, published on 01/02/18
#4. Chinese players seek to conquer the global tech scene
Last November, Chinese group Tencent (owner of WeChat) spent some $2 billion to acquire 12% of Snapchat.
This symbolic investment is a clear illustration of China’s desire to make its mark on the global tech scene. The BAT group (or Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, the Chinese equivalent of GAFA) have built a rich and pioneering digital ecosystem (largest ecommerce market in the world, including fastest mobile payment adoption rates…) in China, and plan to export their savoir faire. And this is to say nothing about the enormous VC financing transactions that come one after another for local players, particularly in the sharing economy, artificial intelligence, and electric-vehicle markets. Ride-hailing specialist Didi Chuxing raised a record $5.5 billion dollars last April – an amount increased by $4 billion in December!
To learn more:
- China’s digital economy: A leading global force
study by McKinsey Global Institute, published in August 2017
- China’s tech giants are pouring billions into US start-ups
by Rebecca Fannin via CNBC.com, published on 03/09/17
- Tencent could play a role redesigning Snapchat following $2B investment
by Jon Russell via Techcrunch, published on 08/11/17
#5. For agencies, a future moving towards consulting
Last June, the main drag of Cannes, France, was studded not with film stars, but with star consulting firms, present for the Cannes Lions: Accenture Interactive, Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young, and McKinsey. Propelled by the convergence of marketing, business, and technology, consulting firms have been venturing into ad agency territory for the past 2 or 3 years. Could the recently-arrived “hybrids” of the past ten years have inspired this strategy? Concretely, this means that consulting firms have been acquiring agencies, recruiting industry talents, and participating in major tender offers against classic agencies. Note that Accenture Interactive (Accenture Corporate’s marketing division) will soon have some 18,000 employees spread out across 40 markets, making it the world’s biggest interactive agency.
To learn more:
- Consulting firms muscle in on media planning in transparency fallout
by Seb Joseph via Digiday, published on 08/14/17
- Global consultancies are buying up agencies and reshaping the brand marketing world
by David Gianatasio via Adweek, published on 03/12/17
#6. Artificial Intelligence: myth or reality?
It’s tough to talk about 2017 without mentioning Artificial Intelligence (AI), the words on everyone’s lips this year. But what does this mean today for the marketing world? Predictive analyses, NLP, personalisation, recommendation… AI has incredible potential for the brand-consumer relationship. However, according to eMarketer, half of US marketing professionals think that AI is more a buzzword than a reality, as the idea has been oversold by tech vendors and has led to confusion. In truth, we’re still far from AI that could replace humans, and human intervention remains indispensable. Today, AI is mostly a tool to assist decision-making, which can help to clarify data and provide interesting and usable insights.
To learn more:
- Is Artificial Intelligence over-hyped In 2017?
by Zeeshan Zia via Forbes, published on 09/27/17
- Many marketers consider AI to be overhyped
by Rimma Kats via eMarketer, published on 11/29/17
In short, 2017 was a busy year for marketing and advertising, but there’s no rest in sight just yet. It’s safe to say that many questions raised in 2017 will still be center stage this year!