With the rise of the digital age, our world has gotten even smaller, fueling a global economy that theoretically knows no boundaries or borders, especially when it comes to reaching consumers online.
As we enter a new decade, and the programmatic era continues to shape the future of the advertising industry, we’ve pulled together some data to highlight the global impact of digital media. These stats showcase where the trends are leaning and why marketers in charge of ad budgets need to be thinking internationally.
An analysis done by eMarketer shows that digital ad spend is rising globally year over year with an increasing share in total media spend.
Breaking down the main geographical regions of the world, we see where digital advertising has the most influence in terms of budget. Not taken into account with these numbers, though, is the size of economies in those regions and how that number compares to the total advertising budget.
The number of people online continues to surge, including those in developing regions. The total population of the world in 2019 was estimated at 7.7 billion, with 58% of people having internet access.
In what’s considered the “developing world,” internet usage increased from 21% of the population in 2010 to over 41% of the population in 2017. That’s more than a 20% increase and certainly an indirect factor in the rise of digital advertising worldwide.
Since the dawn of the smartphone, the methods by which digital advertising can be delivered has risen, including via in-app ads or mobile web display and, of course, mobile video.
Though experiencing a slowdown in growth, the numbers forecast for the next few years show that mobile digital advertising continues on an upward trajectory.
Further, about 53% of businesses advertise on social media; and globally, social media ad spending increased 32% in 2018. These numbers are expected to keep rising, especially as the most social media–savvy generation in history, Gen Z, continues to enter adulthood and gain more buying power.
Research by UK-based media and entertainment group Global found that on average, more than 40% of advertising campaigns included digital audio.
It only takes one look at Spotify’s Musical Map of the World to see the extensive reach of digital audio platforms. Leveraging services like Spotify or Pandora for advertising has global implications.
Podcasts are another highly popular digital audio medium crossing borders with their influence. Buzzsprout reports that the top growing countries for podcasting are Chile, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, and China, and the country that listens to podcasts the most is South Korea, at 58% of the population (compared to 50% in the U.S.).
The rollout of regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, followed by the recently enacted California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has influenced marketers worldwide to rethink the ways in which they reach audiences across borders and deliver better ad experiences.
Many businesses have started to move away from cookie-based audiences and are instead turning to contextual advertising. Contextual advertising is the act of serving ads based on the content displayed, which is made possible by understanding the context of the content.
The important differentiator for contextual advertising is that it uses page-level data instead of cookie-based or audience data. Cookie data tracks devices based on browsing history, and audience data is developed through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party sources. However, contextual advertising focuses solely on the information available on the page.
The rise of streaming services, smart TVs, and digital video all contribute to the growing trend of cord-cutting and expanding the popularity of what is referred to as over-the-top (OTT). OTT is an exciting medium for advertisers, as it provides more transparency and accuracy for reaching and measuring audiences than traditional television advertising, referred to as linear.
While this trend has seen more of a focus in the U.S. market, Digital TV Research reported that in 2018, global OTT revenue rose 38% in 2018 to $68B.
(Source: Digital TV Research)
To anticipate and prepare for the inevitable impact of IVT, brands and agencies should adjust the way they plan and measure their campaigns. No matter if the objective is brand awareness or sales lift, the first step is making sure you’re reaching real users. Whether malicious or not, undetected IVT can devalue performance metrics, or worse, deplete budgets.
Brand safety is a top-of-mind concern for brands engaging in digital advertising, as the reputation of a business and the trust it builds with consumers is paramount. Therefore, advertising appearing in a safe environment and in an appropriate context is vital.
One of the trickier aspects of creating a brand safety strategy is that what’s considered safe is highly subjective. And going global adds even more nuance to the brand safety equation as cultural norms and differences come into play.
In her article “How Brands Can Avoid Culturally Flammable Ideas,” Dr. Martina Olbertova says, “To communicate meaningfully and tell stories that are both brand and culturally relevant, we need to properly understand where our audiences are coming from, what representations of reality they carry in their minds and what meanings they might be sensitive to.”
This underscores the complexities of global advertising and how it will require more than just flipping on a standard brand safety solution. Instead, brands need to put conscientious thought and care into building their global campaigns and setting their brand safety strategies.
While the digital sphere may seem vast and endless, it’s actually what makes our world smaller, connecting humans and brands across the entire globe in a matter of seconds.
With more people “logging on” than ever before—including in areas of the world previously hard to reach—and taking their devices with them across borders, this creates a serious opportunity for advertisers and agencies who can bridge the gaps from their local regions to broader geographic platforms. Brands can make a worldwide impact easier than ever before.
Social media, OTT, and digital audio are all mediums for reaching audiences that while once considered “trends,” are solidifying their place in the market with no signs of a drop-off in usage. As long as advertisers are localizing the platforms they invest in and taking into account cultural sensitivities, there’s no reason to limit their reach.
The global opportunities may seem overwhelming, but the key is to know your audience and where to find them. Once you understand who you’re trying to reach, do not set any boundaries. It’s time to go global.