4digitalIn the advertising world, 2017 can be seen as a transitional year for publishers and platforms.

Print media’s shift to digital is nearly complete, and it is predicted that budget allocated to traditional media will see another huge drop this year. Keeping up with the similar trend, television advertising has accelerated its shift to digital, favoring premium video apps like Hulu and mass-reach platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat.

Web publishers that don’t offer a differentiated experience will potentially lose consumer attention - and associated advertisers - to scaled platforms. And finally, radio is still early in its shift and is expected to ultimately transition to digital audio platforms over time. As technology continues to evolve, brands and marketers need to be highly attuned to their customers’ journey; ensuring that it is relevant and efficient.

Following this shift and progress, here are four key marketing trends to look out for in 2018. Whilst these may not be new for some, marketers should keep them in mind while working on their 2018 marketing plans:

1. Understanding your customer, and having ads that offer value add

Digital ads are still far from living up to their potential, often interrupting the consumer’s favorite content instead of adding value to the experience. For now, the winners in digital advertising are Facebook and Google, not only because their ads enhance the consumer experience, but also because that value leads to positive business outcomes for marketers.

They do this by capturing and predicting intent better than even we can as consumers. Traditional method of using a cookie to profile a shopper and retargeting them may be effective when compared to blind targeting. However, as data-rich platforms get better at interpreting moments, context and interest signals, so too does their ability to drive true consumer value.

2. Paving the way for more native advertising and sponsored content

According to Business Insider, native advertising will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021. Native advertising is seen as beneficial due to its scalability and the quality of the ads. When ad placements match the form or function of the platform, the more exposure and engagement these ads would garner.

Based on various resources and research, “... many native ads are viewed the same amount of time as editorial content …” This is crucial for brands, as users today live in a content heavy world. Apart from being less intrusive and overbearing to the customer, native advertising provides content that complements the overall user experience.

According to the report by BI Intelligence:
● Native-display ads, including social native and native ads in-feed on publisher websites, will make up the bulk of native ad revenue from 2016-2021.
● Sponsored content will be the fastest-growing native format over the next five years.

3. Personalization must move beyond “targeting”

P&G’s Marc Pritchard has spoken at length about the problems that marketers have identified about programmatic ad placement. Knowing when and where to serve an ad is as important as who and what to serve.

For example, don’t ask a user to click an ad if they are driving in a car, or target a “fitness enthusiast” to fill out a form while in the middle of an intense workout. Understanding consumer context and mood are incredibly important and increasingly possible with everything becoming connected. According to IHS, the number of connected devices will grow to 30.7 billion in 2020.

4. Digital audio consumption reaches its tipping point
digAs people increasingly consume media across devices, the marketing landscape is shifting towards people-based marketing.

According to Nielsen, 79% of audio is consumed while people are engaged in activities where visual media can’t reach them, whether it’s hitting the treadmill after work, or even channeling your inner rock star in the shower. Today the priority is about having access to content, rather than owning content. For example, Spotify users spend 148 minutes a day listening to music through the Spotify platform.

Savvy marketers will quickly embrace the consumer shift and audio advertising will be reimagined through the lens of native experiences as opposed to terrestrial radio adaptations.

By Sea Yen Ong, Vice President of Sales for Spotify, Asia