Aden Forshaw helped found Coull back in 2008 but this year has been his big leap, being appointed CEO and taking the reins. Aden has been integral in bringing some exciting developments to fruition, including the launch of our proprietary ad format OverStream and placing a big focus on eradicating invalid traffic from the marketplace, starting with the Coull Platform.
Aden made his predictions about the ad tech industry at the end of 2015 and unsurprisingly to us, proved the spirit of Yoda really does thrive within him.
In this post Aden, CEO and Yoda of Coull - gives his predictions for what the programmatic ad industry is going to look like in 2017.
1.The adtech bloodbath
The tools now exist to highlight any middlemen representing poor inventory or adding no value. As a result of the adoption of these tools, there will be a bloodbath of inadequate adtech middlemen. Ad networks will continue going out of business in 2017 as the demand side goes around them with programmatic direct. This is good news for quality publishers, who will see their CPMs rise, and for adtech players creating real value to cut through the noise.
2. Sweating the asset
Brands are paying top dollar for the right spot, within the right inventory, and are also paying the mass of vendors to validate the quality of the spot they’re buying. 2017 will see brands demand more ROI from their investment and more from their agencies. As for the ad units itself, real-time creative backed by deep-learning AI will take us back to a time when advertising was fun and engaging.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Look forward to buzzword bingo at every conference with a lot of people not understanding what AI means. We’re referring to the deep-learning variant, the same that Google has been using so successfully with Quickdraw. This will create real magic and new ways of interacting with an audience, and finding niche audiences that once relied on manual targeting.
4. Measuring the garden - accountability for all the big players
Measurement standards will finally be applied inside walled gardens. YouTube is already moving that way, as is Facebook with its continued ‘mea-culpas’ - buyers are demanding more. This will be the draw of more TV money into online, but it’ll mainly go to Facebook rather than the open web.
5. Civilising Mobile Video
2016 was the year that all the verification vendors to help clean up desktop video, 2017 will be mobile. Sophisticated vendors like White Ops are already raising large amounts to dedicate themselves to the task but it’s time to apply them to mobile. It’s still a wild west of VAST inventory, but app makers are finally coalescing around a small number of Ad SDKs, meaning mobile VPAID will soon be the norm.
6. Another acronym joins the team - hello H-2-H - goodbye B-2-C
2016 saw the direct to consumer revolution take hold, led by players like Dollarshave club. Big Brands have taken note, and are following suit. This will see them try new creative approaches to reaching an audience, with heavy experimentation on Chatbots and personalised Video campaigns. It’s about human to human communications, brand stories, and ideas.
7. Widening cracks in the looking glass
Viewability has become a widespread proxy for ad-quality during 2016 but the cracks have already been clear to see with ample evidence of its fallibility and potential for gaming. Industry experts and savvy advertisers are already calling for an exercise in caution within our peer group when putting viewability on a pedestal. Underlying fraud and the drudging pursuit of unattainable standardisation in viewability measurement, will become more of a theme as 2017 progresses. Expect publishers and advertisers to put their support behind ad formats that are more viewable by design, engage audiences in more tangible ways and offer a safer bet for ROI than a flawed measure of viewability.
Some of the other changes we expect to take hold:
The EU General Data Protection Regulation won’t hit until 2018, but by the end of 2017 we’ll see it shake out for implementation. It is a seismic shift in how data is handled not just for Advertising, but all PII and metadata about users.
Expect more Hacks
In technology terms some adtech platforms have been around for eons. There are legacy security models, and antiquated tech stacks, especially those built by third parties and not maintained. With adtech providing easy way to touch so many people expect a few big hacks in 2017.
Google’s open source video player
It’s long been doing the rounds of the rumor mill but this year could very well see the launch of Google’s open source video player. Once launched the player, will inevitably compete with VideoJS, and take market share from established players like JWPlayer, and potentially Brightcove. Of course it will plug into Google’s adtech stack, straight out of the box.
Commoditisation means old display adtech will take a beating
Header bidding has commoditised what was once locked in relationships. Expect to see the old guard struggle, especially those that haven’t successfully added Video and Mobile to their offering. The shelves stacked with out of date ad units will collect dust as new creative, engaging and data driven formats fly off, attracting the attention of agencies and trading desks.
We are hoping to see big changes in 2017, with the momentum toward cleaning up programmatic swinging in the right direction already, its transition across platforms will be a game changer. The adoption of AI and more targetable ad tech will become normal as quality, trusted inventory with highly engaging ad formats takes centre stage, finally allowing digital publishers to earn their keep.
The final word:
2016 delivered transparency, in 2017 we’ll see action emerge from insight.