What’s in store for adtech and martech in 2021? Here are 6 predictions and trends

March 3, 2021 | 5 minute read
Mollie Spilman
Chief Revenue Officer, Oracle Advertising and CX – Advertising and Marketing
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This article was originally published on The Drum


A Verizon Media survey revealed that 57 percent of digital advertisers plan to increase spending for H1 2021. Ad spending on internet-connected TV sets, where most of streaming TV happens, will reach almost $8 billion in the US this year and likely total $15.6 billion by 2023.

To help you capture the most value from your digital investments, take a look at our predictions for the adtech industry this year, and our reasoning below, to find new opportunities at hand.

1. Verification will still be a top priority for advertisers, but the adoption of attention metrics will signal advanced marketing campaigns.

The lack of transparency and trust between advertisers and their publishers severely impacts the success of a campaign, so use measurement partners and trust to engage consumers with shorter attention spans and more choices. Remember that attention is the key to branding, and false positives erode trust and create operational hurdles and missed opportunities for monetization. Technology from Oracle Moat unifies buyers and brands so that the collaboration results in a seamless storyline stemming from an approach based on a proactive investment in metrics.

“The real success of a brand campaign should be determined by whether you captured your intended audience’s attention. Moat by Oracle believes that attention is about more than just the click or the view—it’s about the engagement, the interaction, visibility, the length of time, and the environment.” – Beyond Ad Verification: Capturing Consumer Attention to Achieve Campaign Success

2. Connected TV’s (CTV) continued growth increases emphasis on inventory fraud protection.

According to Innovid’s Fall 2020 U.S. Video Benchmarks Report, CTV made some imposing waves in ad impressions, growing 55 percent from 2019 for the third quarter, while its share in 2020 came in at 41 percent, a 23 percent increase. And, mobile video took the lead with its 27 percent increase year-over-year.

Jessica Hogue, Innovid General Manager, Measurement & Analytics, elaborated: “The onset of the coronavirus pandemic drove massive cord-cutting behavior, with advertisers following audiences. In April, even when marketers were grappling with budget cuts and changes to creative, Innovid saw a 22 percent year-over-year increase in CTV ad impressions while video declined overall by 14 percent. This growth continued, with a 58 percent year-over-year increase in September.”

Advertisers will need to beware of fraudsters targeting known flaws in streaming-TV ad-serving technology and the supply chain. They fool marketers into paying for ads that viewers on real devices and apps never see. Learn more about the StreamScam fraud to find out the exorbitant expenses these crimes can incur.

CTV shows strong evidence of growth, and the adtech industry will stand to benefit by investment in measurement, identity, interactive formats, and programmatic buying.

3. Consumer attention wanders as cross-platform and omnichannel advertising campaigns become the new standard.

According to a Verizon Media survey in which the organization asked 152 digital advertisers to gauge their ad spending plans for H1 2021, more than half fully expect to increase their campaign spending. We spend a much larger portion of our lives online, and we will do so for the foreseeable future as online activity keeps rising. Naturally, advertisers follow, and CTV/over-the-top spend has increased to take advantage of significant ways to enhance the marketing palette.

4. Solutions from new identity technology will replace the reliance on universal identifiers.

You don’t need a weather forecaster to see which way the wind blows, and we anticipate that the loss of universal identifiers means that marketers will hunt for an appropriate, transparent, and scalable solution they can operate in a consumer-centric, privacy-friendly ecosystem.

New methodologies will emerge, with machine learning playing a critical role in establishing data strategy—with audience, context and measurement at the forefront—enhancing our ability to understand data usage patterns and to identify the smallest data sources for a more refined approach. We’ll also see new industry-standard ID systems and the continued expansion of registration-based integrations.

5. Contextual targeting solutions will experience a renaissance.

Remember, context matters because it reveals the true meaning of a web page. Keyword blocking and URL blocklisting rely on a rudimentary verbal interpretation to gauge content safety—in short, its suitability for targeting. We expect the bigger picture of what content truly means to loom larger and minimize the likelihood of lost audiences, reduced scale, and inadequate advertiser protection.

Contextual Intelligence will offer deeper insights by analyzing how people interact with specific content, which topics trend online, and how those trends evolve to serve advertising campaigns over time.

Oracle’s Digital Marketer’s Guide to Contextual Insights and Trends offers the following tips:

  • Assess the best times to launch campaigns and determine when consumers show the most interest in a particular topic.

  • Help campaign managers alter bidding strategies to prioritize days of the week.

  • Envision how events and market factors influence online engagement throughout the year for better insights into consumer mindsets.

  • Use content trends to assess the volatility and unpredictability of online content during an event or throughout a 12-month period.

  • Understand different interpretations of a page to uncover new targeting opportunities with similar audiences and contexts.

6. Expect a further strategic convergence of adtech and martech.

According to Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience EVP Rob Tarkoff, the way brands and consumers connect with one another has already begun to merge as a growing share of marketing targets personalized, data-driven, hyper-contextual experiences. Given what’s next for universal identifiers and the move to 1st party resources, an opportunity for real innovation arises to prevent fragmentation across martech and adtech.

“It’s now time for the front office to go the way of the back office, which means we have to automate more of the adtech and martech selling and servicing workflow.” — Rob Tarkoff, EVP, Oracle Advertising and Customer Experience, AdExchanger Talks podcast

Leaving 2020

Look forward to the year ahead with a better understanding of consumer trends, advertising, and the pivotal technology driving it. Expect versatility in consumer attention and devices, along with an emerging reliance on tools that reach beyond universal identifiers. As always, where advertisers spend, money frauds follow, so staying abreast of the latest measurement best practices can help you provide the best consumer experience while protecting your investments.

Mollie Spilman

Chief Revenue Officer, Oracle Advertising and CX – Advertising and Marketing

Mollie Spilman is a 20-plus-year media veteran whose prior gigs include roles at Criteo, Advertising.com, and Yahoo!. Passionate about inclusion and diversifying the ranks of business, she has extensive experience developing, scaling, and leading direct sales teams to over 1200+ employees and a proven ability to manage complex deals, increase revenue, and grow existing business while building a culture of innovation through people development that empowers employees. In her spare time, Mollie loves sport fishing, playing golf, running, listening to country or classic rock and enjoying a glass of her favorite California chardonnay.

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