Moving from mobile-first and UGC: How the advertising industry is set to change in 2019

As the start of a new year dawns, it's time to reflect on 2018 and consider how the advertising industry will evolve in 2019.

Data’s been the word on everybody’s lips, with regulatory changes shining a light on how companies process, store and share information. Transparency and marketplace quality remain hugely important and a top priority for all advertising companies – and it’s been very rewarding to see the industry take some huge leaps forward in this space. But, as the advertising industry matures, attention is also shifting to the exciting technological developments that are helping to improve the way brands engage with consumers.

Here are my predictions on what’s to come.

Connected TV will take the crown from user-generated content

Historically, the only way to reach users with video content online and at scale was through user generated content (UGC) platforms. But it’s hard to control ad placement on platforms where content is being uploaded so quickly – and, while it certainly allows advertisers to reach millions of users, there’s no way to ensure videos are aligned with content that meets brand objectives. For example, it’s probably not very beneficial for an airline to advertise next to a funny video of a cat. And it’s downright detrimental for it to pop up next to something even less tasteful.

I hope that 2019 will be the year that advertisers switch their spend from UGC to connected TV. We’ve seen an annual increase of nearly 100 million CTV sets per year over the past five years globally, and the market is growing rapidly in the UK – with advertising on the channel expected to grow to £220m by 2020. And, why not? Not only does it offer a premium environment previously reserved only for linear TV, its proliferation means it is cost efficient and enables brands to smartly engage with a much broader audience – spreading their messages further and ultimately boosting their bottom line.

Digital will take its place in the driving seat

Calls for ‘mobile first’ marketing have been given plenty of air time over the years. But the industry has moved on, and – next year – I hope advertisers will think ‘digital first’ instead. After all, smart planning begins with data, and given that digital is where all the data is, that’s where the real insights are to be found – from who to target to how best to reach them.

At The Trade Desk, we believe that digital should be more than just a line in a marketing plan. These insights can have a huge impact on everything from print to out-of-home advertising. That’s why we’ve brought the buying and planning processes closer together on our platform, to give media planners quick and easy access to the insights that result from their digital media buys – and help them plan smarter campaigns in 2019.

Brands will embrace the insights at their fingertips

Brands are sitting on a goldmine of the most valuable data possible – their own first party data – which they can and should use to help grow their business. It offers an opportunity for advertisers to really get to know their existing customer base – what are they buying, when and how? – and finetune their offer accordingly.

But, perhaps more importantly, it enables brands to expand their traditional pool of customers. Smart methods such as lookalike modelling allow advertisers to target people who exhibit the same characteristics and behavioural patterns as their existing customers, reaching a much bigger (and potentially more receptive) audience than they would without this data. Brands have just started to tap into their data and we expect to see even more progress next year.

Whether it’s developing new tech or simply getting smarter about how we use the tools already available to us, we’ve got an exciting year ahead of us. Advertising is evolving more quickly every year, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.

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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