Lookback at 2018 Programmatic Media Buying Trend Predictions – Did They Come True?

At the start of 2018, our Digilant marketing team spent time researching and compiling what we believed would be the top 10 important programmatic media buying trends of 2018. As hard as it is to believe, 2018 has come to a close. We’ve decided to look back on this list and determine  which predictions were right on point and which fell short of expectations.

1.About 86% of brand marketers are thinking about in-housing some portion of their programmatic journey.
Half way through the year, a.list released new data regarding programmatic in-housing. They found that “18 percent of brands have fully in-housed their programmatic media placement, and another 47 percent have at least partially done so. Only 13 percent of brands have started the process and decided against it, and 22 percent have not in-housed and do not plan to.” IAB stated that the trend to in-house programmatic was overestimated and that a shift toward complete in-housing will not happen anytime soon. Companies have discovered that  they can’t completely untether themselves from the expertise that third-party agencies hold in the market.

2. 80% of programmatic advertisers are accelerating or prioritizing programmatic ads with top benefits being better audience targeting, ability to build audience reach, and real-time optimization. (ANA “The State of Programmatic Media Buying”)

eMarketer stated that “more than 82 percent of U.S. display ad spend will be purchased using programmatic technologies by 2020.” Although advertisers new to programmatic still question the transparency and how to measure the results of campaigns through programmatic, they are very drawn to the ability to directly target consumers. As work continues to be done to eliminate ad fraud, advertisers will not pass up the ability to reach their target audience in real-time.

3. Billions of dollars will be gained by publishers as programmatic platforms adopt and enforce Ads.txt in a uniform way.

Although the exact number of dollars gained through Ads.txt has not been released, it has definitely been quickly adapted by publishers and advertisers throughout the year. “51% of websites worldwide have adopted ads.txt.” Because of the ability to eliminate counterfeit inventory, publishers and advertisers are seeing the benefits of ads.txt and will continue to utilize it going into 2019.  

4. In 2018, significantly more OTT and CTV inventory will be bought and monetized programmatically for the more than 56 Million consumers who have cut the cord on cable. (eMarketer)

In July of this year, techcrunch released a report that stated the number of people cutting the cord was growing even faster than emarketer initially projected. “[eMarketer] is now projecting the number of those ditching their subscriptions to cable and satellite TV will climb 32.8 percent this year to reach 33 million people.” The number of people switching to streaming and online platforms is reaffirming the increase in OTT and CTV inventory that was and continues to be purchased during 2018. Mediapost reported that Magna projects that OTT ad spending will jump 40%, reaching over $2 billion this year. With this growing digital ad channel, advertisers need to continue to educate themselves on the differences and benefits as compared to linear TV.

5. Video display ads are expected to be the second leading highest ad spend platform in 2018 and in 2019. (eMarketer)

The power of video display ads continues to dominate the market. In October, Marketing Land released statistics that affirm  the power of video, especially on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. On these platforms, video revenue share in 2018 made up 55%, 28.9% and 60%, respectively, of all ad revenue. Brands love using video advertising. It resonates with the consumer, driving ROI. It is clear that social media combined with the popularity of OTT and CTV will continue to drive the domination of video display ads.

6. In 2018 Programmatic investment on mobile will reach $30 Billion +, over 3X the amount spent on desktop. (eMarketer)

This prediction still reigns true. eMarketer updated this projection stating that by 2020 two thirds of programmatic media spending will go towards mobile. This increase will continue to grow due to the popularity of Google and Facebook and their increasing penetration  of programmatic inventory. However, as CTV and OTT continue to grow, they will also take a share of programmatic marketing dollars, ensuring that mobile doesn’t completely dominate.

7. This year alone display ad spending is expected to reach $37.20 billion and in 2018, it’s expected to reach $41.87 billion. (eMarketer)

This prediction has reached our expectations and then some. eMarketer more recently released a report stating that display ad spending will reach $48 billion by the end of the year.

8. Instagram stories blows past Snapchat with 200 Million Daily Active Users as Generation Z becomes more valuable to most organizations than millennials. (Statista)

Our team underestimated this projection as the power of Gen Z has continued to grow through the year. In June, CNBC reported that Instagram had blown past Snapchat’s daily active users with 400 million and 191 million respectively.  Instagram continues to make improvements to their app that resonates with both generation, whereas Snapchat has failed to listen to their users requirements, costing them marketing dollars and social media power.

9. Google owned 75.8% of the search market in 2016 and it’s aiming to reach 80% of the search market in 2018. (eMarketer)

Not long after our predictions were released, Business Insider revealed that Google owns 90.8% of the search market. This greatly exceeded their hope of 80%, proving their dominance in the search market.

10. Increased demand for more “native” experiences will drive programmatic native spend, reaching $24 billion+ by years end compared to $13.24 billion in 2016. (eMarketer)

Native ads are viewed 53% more than banner ads, as reported by Zypmedia, which clearly shows why the demand for this ad format is growing. By the end of 2018, native ad spend is projected to surpass $21 billion, a little less than originally projected at the beginning of the year, but it is still a very profitable and desired advertising format.
Overall, our team’s predictions for the year reigned true. We stated that there would a lot of noise around the topics of in-housing, ads.txt, OTT, DOOH, native, transparency, attribution and how digital media buying will be going fully programmatic in the next couple of years, and these proved to be hot topics throughout the year. As we saw these trends evolve throughout the year, it is important for digital advertisers to stay ahead of the trends.  Keep tuning into our blog as we start discussing trends for 2019 – or reach out to us now to talk about your programmatic media buying needs.

PR Agencies Turning Toward Programmatic

PR agencies, traditionally, have the primary goal of gaining earned press, media or attention. As Forbe’s Robert Wynne stated, they don’t buy ads or create catchy slogans, but rather they “promote companies or individuals via editorial coverage,” otherwise known as earned media. As people use social media everyday, PR agencies rely on this platform as a means of gaining earned media. It is an easy way to organically reach thousands, if not millions of people while also maintaining brand image. Politics is an area that has seen great results from combining PR and social media. Political figures post their campaign commercials on social media, rather than paying for a TV spot and interact with voters firsthand on Twitter and Facebook. Even more effective, if a problem or scandal arises, they can take to social media to release a statement, directly reaching people. Social media platforms are a great tool for PR agencies to promote brands and people – but it is much easier for those who already have a significant following. For companies with smaller following, social platforms are becoming a tricky maneuver and pose different challenges that PR agencies are working to address.

Back in 2011, when social platforms changed their algorithm, the ability to rely on organic reach lessened. This was extremely problematic for PR agencies due to a market that is overly-flooded with media and news. PR agencies have continued to struggle to gain and maintain attention on behalf of their clients. As a solution, some agencies are looking to expand their services by including programmatic media buying as something they can offer to extend reach, especially when it comes to areas of interest like politics.

Less Focus on Awareness and More on Conversion

Marketing budgets are becoming more about ROI and attribution. Companies are less inclined to put their marketing dollars toward awareness, but focus more on conversion. They no longer just want customers to know about them, they want them to act on this awareness. Adding to this challenge, the constant influx of online content, makes it very difficult for articles and coverage to stay at the top of newsfeeds and searches. It is reported that nearly 2 million articles are posted online everyday. PR agencies are rising to this challenge and combining their standard PR strategies with programmatic media buys which include platforms like Facebook, which played a huge role in the last political elections.

PR is quickly evolving, companies like Cision are going beyond just distribution, moving data and analytics to the forefront. Reaching customers on social platforms, due to the high-paced change in newsfeed and content, is a real necessity for companies. As reported by Adexchanger, “…targeting a brand’s audience on social with a coupon or offer can drive customers back to the site, where a pixel tracks and learns more about them so they can be targeted with earned media in the future.” This tactic has two benefits. First, it drives the consumer directly to the website, putting them face-to-face with the brand and in an optimal position to make a purchase. Second, and most important to PR agencies, they are able to learn about the customer, how to better target them and what they most positively connect with. This in turn helps them determine the best content and placement of earned media to ensure its reaches the proper audience.  

The adoption of programmatic as a tool by PR agencies is still at the beginning stages. However, in the years to come, they will need to have programmatic media buying in their wheelhouse to get the reach and attention they need to maintain their clients and budgets. To stay current on Digital Media Strategies PR agencies are reaching out to programmatic buying companies and partnering with them. PR agencies understand the earned space, but savvy marketers want the best of all worlds which is the combination of paid, owned and earned media. Combining these marketing channels not only produces better ROI for companies, but more insights about customers and how to best reach them in the future.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Infographic Part 2: Social Media

As the 2018 World Cup pool play comes to an end and teams and fans gear-up for bracket play, there are some noteworthy numbers to report from the first two weeks of play. Granted, the games were intense with Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Spain, Mexico’s major upset of Germany and Argentina’s goal in the 86th minute to pass Nigeria, these aren’t even the craziest things to report. The social media trends coming in from all over the world are shockingly high and truly one of the most noteworthy statistics from the action.  

For social media, it’s no question that #fifa, #worldcup2018 and #futbol are the MVPs of Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. In just under two weeks, there are over 1.5 million Instagram posts using #worldcup2018, and over 25 million impressions on Twitter of the same hashtag. Leo Messi’s Instagram post on June 14, captioned “Listos / Ready” racked up over 5 million likes, falling short of Cristiano Ronaldo’s “Vamos familia” captioned picture racking up just short of 10 million likes.

On Facebook, the German national team’s page, Die Mannschaft, has over 6.5 million people following their action with comments, likes, views and reactions. With Germany’s impressive social following, its shocking that Brazil’s page completely wipes them out. Brazil’s National team’s page, Confederação Brasileira de Futebol, had nearly 12 million followers. Snapchats are more difficult to track, in real time, but there is no question that fans are following all the action around the world with the 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia story. The following is so large, that the filter asking people to comment on Brazilian player, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, new haircut is a trending story.

All of the different platforms allow fans to share their opinion, players to interact with fans, and teams make sure everyone is up to date on all the action. There is yet to be a clear winner on whose social pages have the highest following, most likes, shares and impressions. We will continue to track these numbers and see how our predictions hold up. But, one thing is clear – fans and spectators have countless ways of interacting with their team, the players and other fans across their country and the world. Digital marketers and media buyers have an incredible opportunity to be part of the conversation and turn users into buyers through targeted programmatic, social and search. There is a captive audience waiting to be messaged to. If you can join in and show fans that you also care, there is a great opportunity to be seen and heard.

Digilant’s FIFA 2018 Digital Advertising Infographic covers who the consumers are, social media trends, how the content is consumed and by who, and more!

Download the full infographic here and don’t forget to share #DigilantData.

Interested in learning more about how people are consuming World Cup Content? Check out Part 3 of our FIFA World Cup 2018 Infographic series here.


Like what you see? Join the 500+ clients that have partnered with Digilant.