By: Mailee Creacy, ANZ Country Manager, Rocket Fuel
We're just weeks into the New Year and already 2017 promises an impressive amount of growth and maturation in the digital marketing industry. We will see more data, more pressure on ROI, more media going programmatic and more complexity in the customer journey, which will require improved real-time technology and predictive marketing.
In the first part of our 2017 predictions, here are the four trends that we forecast will affect the industry:
1. Programmatic continues to rise
It is a remarkable time for digital advertising in Australia with forecasts of over $1 billion being traded programmatically over the next 12 months. In 2017 expect that programmatic will become the norm and will no longer be considered ‘new’. Automation has revolutionised the media buying process and we can expect that the brands who continue to manually buy ads will fall behind those who champion automation.
2. The 'year of mobile' becomes the 'year of cross-device'
The ‘year of the mobile’ has enjoyed a good run for at least the last five years, however, 2017 could finally be the year we move beyond this. This doesn’t mean that mobile isn’t going to be hugely important to ad campaigns but we’re going to start thinking about mobile marketing in an entirely different way. 2017 will be the year that marketers realise the most important part of mobile isn’t about reaching one channel, it is about the opportunity to create meaningful experiences between brands and consumers across all devices. Because people have their phones with them all the time, seeking out nearby Wi-Fi signals or checking in to locations, mobile devices can tie together the consumer journey as it moves between online and offline decisions.
‘Always on’ mobile devices provide a wealth of data; they help us understand when and how to engage particular consumers throughout their day: not just on mobile devices, but across any digital touchpoint. Therefore, what we currently refer to as mobile is really just one step towards a comprehensive, full-funnel, cross-device solution. To get there, we need to be marketing to people, not their devices.
3. The creation of unified profiles
A primary challenge today in creating Unified Profiles is not the amount of data available, it is the ability to turn that data into action. To reap the full benefit of this data, marketers will need to focus on data hygiene to ensure this aggregated data is accessible and actionable across technologies. Ultimately, this will result in a deeper and more unified understanding of consumers as individuals versus consumers as part of a segment.
There’s already a tug of war between the value of identity solutions as a way of powering contextually relevant, cross-device advertising versus the need to protect consumers from unwanted or excessive third party data collection. This will only become more intense in 2017. Marketing leaders from the world’s biggest brands will need to work with industry trade groups and government regulators to frame a viable solution.
4. Programmatic becomes a branding staple
While programmatic advertising has largely been synonymous with Direct Response (DR), brands have started to realise that the technology can help personalise mass reach and therefore be a very effective tool in building a brand.
In 2017 programmatic will move across the full spectrum of the consumer journey. Brands have already been moving towards greater programmatic spend, driven in part by a larger desire to hold marketing spend accountable. That transition has been a bit slower in 2016 than analysts predicted at the close of 2015, in part we believe, because the bigger move will be toward full funnel programmatic solutions of which brand and DR are core components, rather than siloed programmatic brand spend. Marketing professionals are under increased pressure to demonstrate results and are therefore looking to run highly relevant, creative, responsive and measurable campaigns at scale. With clear links between brand uplift and DR performance more marketers will start to use insights from both brand and DR campaigns to inform media and creative strategy.