December 19, 2017 Last Updated 8:30 am

What will drive the ad tech conversation in 2018

All this week TNM will feature guest columns reviewing the 2017 year in digital media or looking forward towards 2018. This contribution is from Kerry Bianchi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Visto

What will drive the ad tech conversation in 2018:

Transparency

Transparency will continue to the top issue throughout the advertising industry, with much conversation revolving around potential solutions. These include developments created by stakeholders in the industry (e.g., Ads.txt) as well as those by the tech industry (e.g., blockchain).

Artificial Intelligence 

While AI is a hot topic of conversation, it’s more an overused buzzword than a revolutionary change to the ecosystem. In 2018, I expect the conversation will mature, moving past hyperbole toward understanding. We’ll begin to see more understanding that today we’re really dealing with machine learning, not true AI. Once that foundation is set, I expect there will be an acceleration of progress.

Brand safety / Ad Fraud

Concerns about brand safety and ad fraud will remain high in 2018. In turn, this will drive higher demand for tools, technologies and partners that can provide the insight, control, transparency and analytics needed to protect media investments from bad actors or questionable content.

I do hope that we’ll see wider adoption of Ads.txt and other measures that lend transparency to the supply chain, because these measures can only live up to their promise if they are widely used.

Blockchain

I expect to see more buzz about Blockchain as a potential solution to the ad industry’s transparency problem, however it’s still at its very early stages. I suspect 2018 will be a year with a lot of talk and little action, as the industry has yet to fully understand what applications are be appropriate for digital advertising.

Fake News

Especially given the political environment leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, I expect “Fake News” will remain a common feature of the industry discussion. It would be naive to believe bad actors could be 100% eliminated. Still, their efforts can be greatly stymied by an industry working together to create processes to quickly identify and take action that, hopefully, gain more widespread adoption as they benefit all legitimate players

Customer- and Data-Centric Marketing

2018 will see a lot of discussion about delivering “customer centric” or “audience centric” marketing and an emphasis on achieving greater levels of sophistication in our ability to deliver highly-targeted and relevant messaging.

The demand for personalized experiences will, in tandem, create demand for more granular analytics about the entire supply chain path. By getting both cost transparency and pathway transparency, marketers will better understand the entire supply chain performance path to best impression.

Consolidation / Walled Gardens

Mergers and acquisitions in the sector are likely to continue at the pace set in 2017, with maturing publisher and distribution businesses seeking out additive revenue scale and exponential usage of their core products.

Consolidation may result in more walled gardens, and with those come the need for marketers to to gain cross-partner and cross-channel views of effectiveness. Again, demand will drive development, and we’ll see far more tools for systems integration and management – plus an increase the need for qualified talent who can analyze and act on insights in real time.

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Visto, Kerry Bianchi is responsible for driving strategic direction and business execution across the entire organization. Kerry is a past winner of Brand Innovators “Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing” and brings to Visto over 25 years of experience in media, advertising and consulting.

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