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The Come Up: What’s New in Ad Tech

Digital advertising is on the come up. In 2016, digital as a whole unseated television in total ad dollars spent, surging nearly 22% year-over-year. With digital slated to account for 77 cents of each new ad dollar spent in 2017, new breakthroughs in digital ad tech only continue to disrupt the industry at breakneck speed. Here are the latest considerations for your upcoming media buy:

  1. LinkedIn's Audience Network and Native Video: Networking powerhouse, LinkedIn is stepping up its ad tech game. With the rollout of the LinkedIn audience network, sponsored content is moving out of the confines of the traditional feed and across partnering sites and apps -- this means advertisers can serve content via desktop placements on Microsoft properties (i.e. MSN and, in addition to third-party publishers through exchanges like MoPub, Google’s AdX, Rubicon and Sharethrough. The update is limited to LinkedIn's sponsored post units, which have traditionally seen CPMs run a bit higher relative to competing social network units. Also new, but not (yet) ad tech: LinkedIn native video. Similar to Facebook's offering, LinkedIn is powering autoplay without sound on its feed, qualifying a view at three seconds. LinkedIn's ad offerings have left much to be desired, but there is no denying its data machinery and demand generation potential.

  2. Amazon's (expanded) Programmatic Buying: We've been seeing a ton of evolution at Amazon on the ad tech front. Amazon's advertising arm, Amazon Media Group is powering an amplified self-service offering to select brands and agencies. There isn't a ton of functionality as of yet, but Amazon's proprietary demand-side platform (DSP) enables advertisers to deliver content across and IMDb, in addition to other owned and operated sites and apps. Also new: Amazon's expanding headline search ads -- similar to search ads, these are the sleek Amazon product units that appear above Google results when users search for a particular product. A caveat: these are reserved for Amazon brand owners. Amazon may be a ways away from monetizing on advertising, but its expanding marketing service suite is definitely something to keep on the radar.

  3. YouTube's Adpocalypse: This is a biggie, particularly if you're in the business (or are implementing the use) of influencer marketing. Throughout early 2017, and in the midst of some serious advertiser pushback, YouTube addressed growing accountability issues of ads serving alongside offensive content, basically shifting algorithms and disabling video ads. You can relive a play-by-play of the full fiasco here. The impact was swift for influencers and content creators alike -- some saw ad revenue fall as much as 30 percent within the first month of the so-called "adpocaplypse." The media consensus is that the policy overhaul was disastrous; and the balancing act between advertisers vs. creators only continues as these reverberations continue to ripple across the space.

  4. OpenSlate, and the Greater Ad Auditing Space: To dovetail with my previous point re: YouTube's vast policy overhaul -- not to mention the recent controversies surrounding Facebook's (lack of) disclosures on $100k worth of Russian influence advertising -- brand safety and accountability are increasingly coming to the forefront of digital media planning. A number of large players like Omnicom are implementing third-party auditing services, like those provided by OpenSlate, that can independently validate ad measurement, targeting, and placement. We're only scratching the surface as an industry -- unease around brand safety and accountability is not only real, but will shape large-scale changes in the space.

  5. Facebook Original Video: Facebook is looking to make some headway on original, long-form video programming. The social network's much-anticipated Watch feature is the latest digital play to curb ad budgets and users away from well as Facebook's attempt to undercut video spend on competing networks like Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube. NASA, Mashable, Quartz, and Hearst, are just a handful of content partners that will develop original programming available across mobile, desktops, and TV apps. What does Facebook's new video hub mean for advertisers? Ad buyers need to keep an eye out for the long-term feasibility of Facebook's TV offering, from both an adoption and revenue generation standpoint -- but for now, Watch may just mean more in-stream opportunities for social media buys.

The ad technology world is ever-evolving in scope and complexity. Need help navigating it? Drop us a line.

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