Advertisers and marketers are familiar with disruption. But in 2020, the disruption was not dictated by a new medium. Instead, marketers and advertisers had to make massive adjustments to existing efforts to reflect a new reality.
In 2021, privacy and regulation will continue to shape ad technology, the presence of ad fraud will continue to drain ad budgets, and marketers will continue to deal with the seemingly increasing pace of change in these areas as they prepare for a post-pandemic reality. Advertising and marketing executives should consider the following:
New privacy efforts will disrupt advertising technology
A year ago, privacy predictions were largely related to regulation. This year, however, tech giants are taking the lead on privacy by limiting cross-site tracking – Apple through strengthen ITP and Google with the promised extinction of third party cookies.
These changes will cause significant disruption in measurement and attribution. Companies that rely on tracking mechanisms to provide services and data to advertisers such as retargeting companies, data miners, and demand-side platforms will not be able to function. This change will lead to a strong demand for better measurement tools and better partners as marketers try to find new ways to define success.
What this means: Advertising will have to work harder when it is not so targeted. Marketers need to test these new tools and metrics while still being able to track and attribute conversions to verify their effectiveness.
Invalid traffic will compromise more ad spend
A recent report by HP has identified ad fraud as one of the most lucrative and easiest forms of cybercrime to commit, and Covid-19 has made it easier. Many companies new to digital advertising have poured their money into campaigns to keep their business going this year, unaware that up to 30% of their spend is wasted on incorrect traffic. In addition, the extreme changes in consumer behavior have made it even more difficult for sophisticated digital marketers to know if and to what extent fraudulent traffic affects their performance.
What this means: The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated invalid trafficking. The noise of so many changes has made it even more difficult for businesses to determine if traffic fraud is really present. When online advertising gains in importance but decreases in budget, it is essential that marketers understand how to maximize advertising effectiveness.
Apple slices a bigger piece of the research pie
TrafficGuard recently observed a sharp increase in the activity of bots deployed by Apple. This indicates that the company is raising bids on web indexing to compete with Google and Bing. Building its own search engine may be Apple’s preventative strategy in the face of an antitrust lawsuit that calls into question the legality of this exchange. It makes sense for Apple to build its index for use with other products, as technology is playing an increasing role in our homes and lives.
What this means: Watch this place! Apple will likely continue to make Google the default search engine for its devices until it is found to be anti-competitive, if at all. I doubt it will be in 2021.
A New Year usually requires new thinking on the part of marketers and advertisers, but this year the rapidly changing landscape requires a much bigger change in strategy. There are a lot of moving elements in the advertising landscape that could change reality overnight – teams can’t afford to be caught off guard in 2021.