What to expect from the advertising industry in 2019: Contextual, converged, and more

With 2019 already underway, we’ve wrapped up what’s been a transformative year for adland. Technology continues to develop at the speed of light, while significant policy changes have earned our industry a spot in the media limelight – not to mention the business break ups and make ups as the market continues to consolidate.

There’s no doubt that 2019 will come with its own raft of trends – here’s what I’m expecting to see.

The comeback of contextual

As advertisers continue to adapt to the new post-GDPR world, contextual targeting – one of the original forms of targeted marketing – will make a real comeback. But rather than contextual of old, we’re talking about contextual targeting 2.0, which presents a big opportunity for brands to get closer to consumers with relevant content. After all, the proliferation of programmatic means that – unlike manual media buys of the past – ads based on contextual data can be served in real-time, achieving both granularity and scale. And, because contextual targeting taps into real-time triggers, it’s better aligned with programmatic than any other type of targeting, suggesting its shoot back to fame is almost overdue. 

Continued convergence of eCommerce and advertising

The convergence of eCommerce and advertising certainly isn’t new, but it is something we’re going to see a lot more of as shopper marketing matures. The rich data that comes with ecommerce makes it the obvious place to start for advertisers under pressure to prove ROI, while the explosion of direct-to-consumer brands has encouraged them to find new routes to market. eCommerce sites are perfectly placed to both build relationships and drive sales – so, next year, I expect we’ll see ecommerce and media budgets combine and agencies build new teams which bring together marketing and sales functions.

The rise of programmatic shopper marketing, being the result of a collision of promoted listings and programmatic agency work, will naturally be part of this – and at eBay Advertising this has been part of our offer for a long time now. But now, as other players latch on to the trend, the wider industry can no longer ignore it – this is a rising tide that will lift all the boats.

A shortening supply chain

It’s no secret that a shorter supply chain tends to be a more efficient one and, next year, I expect we’ll see an uplift in companies cutting back on the number of partners they work with. But a shorter supply chain is also one part of the answer to brands’ increasing (and fair) demands for greater transparency over how their ad budgets are spent. After all, the fewer players involved in the process, the easier it is to understand it. Supply path optimisation is a big priority for us at eBay Advertising, and we are currently developing our own server side tech to boost performance and transparency.

But such transparency is only valuable to brands if they know enough to understand what they are seeing. Advertisers can boost their knowledge by collaborating more closely with their partners – from their agency through to the publishers they’re buying from – and this is something we’re very keen to encourage in 2019.  

Our industry is changing, and that’s exciting. At eBay Advertising, we’re looking forward to seeing how these developments play out – and, from improving our data offering to developing tech that makes campaigns more effective, we’re going to work hard to stay in front of them.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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