Writing on the International News Media Association’s Advertising Initiative Blog, Mark Challinor says the way advertisers buy media has changed. Challinor, INMA’s advertising initiative lead, acknowledges that, post COVID, advertising predictions are really difficult to make. However, he sees five major advertising trends that need to be addressed if publishers are to succeed in digital ad sales.
Challinor says that, ideally, customers should not be ‘bothered’ by ads. Advertising that is ‘too pushy’ creates a bad customer experience. However, the only way to get attention is through some form of disruption. For Challinor, balancing customer experience and acceptable disruption comes down to relevance and context, with algorithms and data optimizing against specific targets.
Time and time again, various industry surveys have shown us that relevance and context are the most important reasons for positive reactions to ads.
According to Challinor, analysis of the CTRs vs the pricing of Facebook ads has shown that optimal advertising performance on the platform was reached back in 2016. From then on, Facebook advertising has become more expensive and less frequently clicked on.
He explains that this is because social media engagement has spread to other platforms and it is no longer possible to reach all target groups through one channel. Brand safety issues exacerbated by the rise of misinformation have also weakened Facebook’s advertising proposition.
Increasingly, brands are taking a clear stance on ethical issues. For example, those exhibiting a commitment to sustainability and environmentalism are no longer the exception. Challinor says this will continue to develop strongly in the future as brands come to see these progressive themes as part of their success DNA.
Brands can no longer avoid topics such as diversity and inclusion. According to eMarketer, inclusion is now a main factor for determining their brand loyalty for 61% of customers.
In the print era, advertisers booked specific verticals to reach their target audiences. Marketers focused on women could reach their target audience through celebrity or fashion magazines. Those targeting men concentrated on car and sports publications. Challinor says:
That’s how stupidly simple and clichéd advertising worked.
With digital, the use of first-party data is making traditional media booking extinct. Automated/programmatic ad booking makes it possible to target audiences all across the Internet, with relevance to the user now the key.
Challinor says digital media is now organized in feeds. From social media platforms that rely on feeds to deliver advertising and editorial content, to the open web where they have become more or less standard. And he expects more formats to appear within these feeds.
Challinor says many users no longer reach article pages via the homepage but directly via social or search. The implication of this for publishers is that covering a wide range of topics is key to monetization, improving discovery and giving consumers more choice to increase dwell time on site.
Challinor explains that the point with the advertising trends listed is to be aware of them.
How we deal with our media buyers and are able to understand their world is critical to our future relationships with them —and ultimately how and who they buy their media from.