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Top 5 Advertising Predictions For 2015

Hard as it is to believe, Christmas trees are being glimpsed on curbs, and Easter decorations are making their way to CVS aisles. As we head into another year of customer insights, business intelligence advances and advertising innovation, here’s our top 5 advertising predictions for 2015.

1. In-house moves beyond the innovators

Taking online advertising in-house provides an unparalleled glimpse into what drives customer acquisition and re-engagement. In 2014 — a year of heavy digital disruption — agile, innovative businesses evaluated traditional third-party marketing models against the benefits of self-sufficiency and shifted gears. Now we are beginning to see adoption from larger companies who have recognized that excellence in digital advertising hinges upon in-house expertise.

Here are some noteworthy press mentions over the past year:

Ad Age, “AOL’s Bob Lord: Brands’ in-house programmatic teams driving growth”

Ad Exchanger, “These tech disruptions will reshape advertising”

Wall Street Journal, “Agencies must change or brands will dump them entirely”

2. First-party data takes center stage

Advertisers are forecasted to spend $170.5B worldwide on digital marketing this year, and no one can afford to play guessing games with that kind of money. The recent surge in analytics solutions has made it easier than ever for online companies and end advertisers to target their own customers effectively. Whether it’s someone who has signed up for emails, added an item to a cart, made a purchase, or visited a particular page, the data is straight from a reliable source: you!

In Owned Data Gives Digital Ads Seeming Superpowers, VentureBeat’s John Koetsier states, “Using your own data makes you up to 98 times better at driving conversions” — particularly in entertainment and retail, as evidenced by the graph below:

Neustar’s data shows a massive lift from using owned, private data when targeting digital advertising

 

3. Cross-device and cross-channel attribution are key

Mobile puts the Internet at everyone’s fingertips, which means web browsing, search, social media and gaming apps are ubiquitous means of reaching customers. But as the customer journey continues to fragment, tracking behavior from tablet to laptop becomes a huge challenge. Social media networks have pioneered a universal identity with first party data, allowing marketers to understand cross-device and cross-channel customer purchase patterns. This year, we’ll likely be seeing more networks and exchanges tackling the problem of user attribution in a post-cookie world, enabling marketers to reach customers in automated ways and incentivize actions.

4. Search and social gain more equal footing in marketing budgets

A recent Gartner survey revealed that digital marketing budgets are set to increase 8% this year, spurred by brands’ efforts to create a better customer experience. Laura McLellan, research vice president at Gartner, explains:
For marketers in 2014, it’s less about digital marketing than marketing in a digital world. Hence, marketers manage a much more balanced and integrated marketing mix than in previous years, which were characterized by online and offline silos.
The way that consumers find information and interact with brands is changing rapidly, and savvy online businesses are making adjustments to optimize customer touch points via search, social, and offline channels. As an example, here’s how eCommerce powerhouse Zulily diversified its marketing budget during Q2 of last year:

Display + Social Media

Search

Television + Other

We predict that marketers will continue to adjust their search-heavy marketing to reflect the new customer journey in 2015.

5. Mobile scales beyond app developers

Developers were the first to recognize the power and value of mobile advertising, but it’s certainly no secret these days: apps are a billion dollar industry. Publishers are vying to provide the most effective app install ads, and mobile ad exchanges are seeing demand skyrocket to the tune of 574% year over year (YoY). Last year, advertisers began to follow their lead.

In Q4 of 2014 we saw a +132% YoY increase in eCommerce Facebook ad spend on mobile, and we think 2015 is going to be one for the books in terms of advertiser buy-in. Online retailers are a natural fit for digital marketing innovation, and we expect to see additional verticals like travel and lead gen get on board.

Is there something we missed? Leave your own 2015 predictions in the comments below.

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