According to Carat, an international media agency, global ad spend is expected to reach $554 billion in 2016, a 4.7% increase from the previous year. Of that, approximately $33 billion (€30 billion) comes from the European market.
In many respects, Europe is commonly a trendsetter for the rest of the world. By analyzing the hottest markets in Europe, and the advertising trends that are gaining adoption there, the rest of the world can adjust accordingly.
Primarily, there are three key trends to take note of: overall digital activity, programmatic advertising, and mobile adoption.
Overall Digital Activity
My own personal experience as both a European and US advertiser confirms what industry reports are predicting: for the first time in advertising history, television will be dethroned.
Carat reports digital is already the principle media spend in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. Experts anticipate 2016 is the year digital will overtake television in the US, too—by more than $4 billion.
The popularity of digital marketing is growing at a significant rate, 14.3% compared to outdoor’s 3.4%, TV’s 3%, and radio’s 1.3%.
Digital’s growth is primarily driven by online videos and mobile advertising. While banner and moving image ads are still used, the popularity of interactive and full-screen ads have grown stale. Generally speaking, consumers favor non-intrusive approaches.
Programmatic advertising enables the automatic purchase of digital ad space, a trend that is hugely popular in Europe right now. Viktor Zawadzki, MediaMath’s regional manager, estimates 50% of premium ad inventory in UK is programmatic and 40% of Europe’s ads will be programmatic by the end of 2016.
One reason programmatic is so popular is because it enables advertisers to create real-time, customer-oriented campaigns based on their own in-house data acquisition. Desired groups are addressed in a very targeted way.
However, based on my own personal experiences, automation without human involvement can lead to deceiving results. Programmatic makes it easy to focus on less significant variables, like high click-through rates and low CPAs (cost-per-action). It’s easy to overlook things like engagement, attribution, relevancy, and reach when the process is automated. The inclusion of human analysis ensures a quality and profitable campaign.
Additionally, programmatic provides a seemingly limitless supply of inventory, which will easily disguise fraud. Fraud is already an undetected threat with many ad forms; programmatic is likely to increase that risk.
Mobile advertising was somewhat slow to take off, but has now become one of the driving forces behind digital’s popularity.
European advertisers seem to have a leg-up on the rest of the world in, at least, one area; they’ve recognized the importance of attribution. Multi-channel and multi-device campaigns have made attribution absolutely essential. Advertisers who can’t definitely identify touch-points will get trampled by industry leaders.
Once attribution has been mastered, we can expect to see the popularity of mobile ads take a giant leap forward.
Advertising is a fickle industry with trends evolving quickly. However, monitoring global adoption can provide insight needed to maintain the competitive edge.
Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO of chargebacks911.com, helps merchants identify risks, prevent fraud, and optimize profitability.
This article appeared in issue 34 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2016. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-34