Display Advertising: The Second Coming

The death of display advertising is predicted on an almost daily basis. But it never seems to happen. Perhaps that’s because now that we’ve gotten over our first dependence on CTRs as a metric, we’ve come to realize that display advertising has another use: storytelling. Storytelling is what creates engagement, brand loyalty, and, finally sales.

If you really stop to think about it, there were three main trends that jumped into focus last year. One was programmatic, of course. Finally marketers have come to see that programmatic is more than RTB, and can be part of all media planning. That’s because “programmatic” really means automation — even for direct sales.

The next trend was native advertising, which is a way of telling a story that comports with the other content on the page. Native advertising often looks like an article, but it’s a well-written story by or about a brand that has appeal for a reader who may not want to click on performance-based display ads.

And the third trend is viewability, which obviously comes first. There’s a new study out by eMarketer, explaining how four main digital display advertising trends will converge in 2014:

  • The focus will continue to shift from standard display ad units to more dynamic, engaging ad units. Banners won’t cut it anymore, and brands will look to native advertising and richer content ads, such as the IAB Rising Stars, to draw in consumers.
  • Programmatic direct will emerge as a primary vehicle to pair those richer ad units with consumer data. Brands will get smarter about using programmatic direct not just to automate the procurement of premium ads, but to bring that inventory to life among a more captive audience.
  • Marketers will look beyond behavioral web data to better understand their customers and reach those customers across devices. Location-based and TV data have existed before, but this year, marketers will make a concerted effort to leverage this information for greater insight into consumer behaviors and apply that data to improve ad experiences across devices.
  • The viewable impression standard will finally become just that—a standard. With the Media Rating Council expected to lift the advisory on viewable impressions in March, many expect the viewable CPM—a metric finally more in line with broadcast measures—to emerge as a new display pricing model.