The Drum reports that programmatic advertising is set to increase 31 percent in 2017. Does that mean we can already crown programmatic as the advertising king of next year?

No matter what the next digital marketing bomb is, those programmatic advertising trends in the next year are real matter to marketers. Read about them today to prepare for them tomorrow. Here are trends that will conquer digital world in 2017.

Going Mobile

As marketers, we should all understand and be well aware of the importance of mobile marketing strategies in the digital age (i.e. the great connector). And yet, traditional models of mobile advertising have consistently lagged behind consumer’s frequency of use. This has resulted in a significant gap between consumer expectations, and what marketers are actually providing. The one-size-fits-all mantra of yesteryear does little to serve today’s Millennial consumers.

It is important to remember that, just a few years ago, the idea of “going mobile” with programmatic advertising was out of reach. As Advertising Age noted in 2013, the notion of tracking consumer media behavior across multiple devices was beyond basic cookie compatibility at that point in time. It was difficult for most marketing gurus (though not all) to visualize a programmatic future with such technological uncertainty in 2013. Yet, in today’s digital age, new solutions are arriving almost weekly. From client/device generated identifies, to statistical IDs, to universal login trafficking, alternative methods of consumer monitoring have emerged as commonplace in 2016.

Early adopters and innovations are in a prime position to reap the substantial rewards of programmatic mobile advertising in 2017.

While recent studies do in fact predict spending on programmatic mobile advertising to exponentially increase in 2017, there currently exists a substantial disconnect between its application / use, and its potential. The Interactive Advertising Bureau notes in its recent study (Marketer Perceptions of Mobile Advertising) that while over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed consider programmatic mobile advertising to be very important (with 50% considering it somewhat important), only 27% of marketers surveyed had purchased mobile advertising programmatically. This means that 2017 is sure to be a tipping point, as mobile ad spend is due to surpass desktop for the first time in history.

Understanding this, let’s review some of the main areas of focus for programmatic mobile advertising in 2017.

Mobile Retargeting

Mobile targeting
Remarketing gives marketers the ability to provide relevant and personal messages to users that are already familiar with their products and servives

Marketers and consumers alike are intimately familiar with the digital age marketing technique of retargeting. As a staple of successful desktop marketing, retargeting gives marketers the ability to provide relevant and personal messages to users that are already familiar (at least vaguely) with their products and services.

We all know how it works:

It’s December 23, 2015. The holiday season is breathing down your neck, and you have yet to purchase all of the gifts you need. You have run product searches on both Amazon and Ebay, ranging from camping gear to Samsung TVs, but you have yet to fully commit to making a purchase. The next day you sign on to continue the shopping struggle, and as if a Christmas miracle occurred, you see a tiny ad informing you that the customers who bought the camping tent and TV that you were looking at, also happened to buy a portable lamp and touchscreen remote control… BOOM purchases complete.

Retargeted advertising essentially functions in this way. It helps marketers develop and nurture a purchasing relationship by providing consumers with a personalized, and value driven purchase experience.

How does this relate to mobile?

Well, with 34% of today’s retail shoppers saying that their mobile device will soon become their main purchase tool, retargeting has taken on a heightened mobile importance. A recent study by AdRoll found that 87% of the 1000 marketers surveyed are likely to have invested in mobile programmatic remarketing this year, with 82% of marketers currently retargeting on mobile (up from 54% in 2014!). With 2017 just around the corner, the time is now to prepare your business for mobile retargeting via the use of mobile identifiers.

Mobile identifiers are tools used by both buyers and sellers to build audience profiles, and to help marketers get ideal messages to ideal clients, and at ideal times.

Already mentioned above, these identifiers are only accessible through mobile applications (not the mobile web), and they make retargeting possible within a programmatic mobile context. Let’s imagine for a moment that a potential consumer has begun their purchase process via a mobile device, but has not yet completed their purchase. Mobile retargeting allows brands to remind the potential consumer of the value they left in their mobile shopping cart. Location identifiers also allow for enhanced mobile retargeting in the digital age. For example, if you know that a potential consumer frequently attends sporting events for a particular team, this location specific information can help create context for future retargeting with which the consumer will engage.

Potential areas of focus for 2017 include:

  • A move from location signals to proximity signals
  • Combination behavioral and geolocation signals for new audience searches
  • Retargeting via cross-device marketing (i.e. omni channel integration)

Dynamic Creative Optimization

Programmatic Advertising Trends in 2017
Dynamic creative optimization is going to change the game of programmatic mobile advertising in 2017

A second area focus for programmatic mobile advertising, and one that is going to change the game in 2017, is known as dynamic creative optimization.

This is a form of programmatic advertising that refers to display ad technology that automatically optimizes ad creativity based on mulitvariate testing. Again, to put it in plain English, this essentially means having the ability to automate A/B testing, while at the same time, using algorithms to interpret and understand how to serve ads that perform better. A recent industry survey conducted by Celtra found that, while 92% of marketers believe creative messaging to be more important than ever, 58% say they have insufficient operational resources. To translate, this means there is a clear market need that is not being fulfilled.

While approaches to the method of optimization are likely to vary from strategy to strategy, most DCO processes consist of:

  • Creative development
  • Identification of test variables
  • Definition of the optimization objective
  • Method of optimization

Creative development is achieved through the implementation of creative tools, and could potentially include animation, video, and interactive components. “Test variables” refers to A/B multivariate testing, and the method of optimization could range from an initial user engagement, to a post-install metric. DCO ad units receive multiple feeds of data, as well as sets of rules, in order to develop unique creatives on the go. As ad campaigns continue to run, each variant is tested and analyzed, and the ad units will automatically begin to show more of those elements that are achieving high performance, and less of the elements that underperform.

Why should dynamic creative optimization be on your mobile agenda in 2017?

Simply put, it is automation at its best… not only for its ability to create efficient, reliable, and automatic testing processes, but for its ability automate optimization. It allows marketers to focus their valuable time and effort on other viable disciplines of digital marketing, while resting assured that their advertising is continuously being optimized. Beyond mobile, DCO can apply to banner ads, links sponsored on social media, as well as rich media and videos.

Look to employ DCO in 2017 when:

  • Operating a direct response campaign for multiple products with a large number of impressions in your budget
  • Your campaign size is large to the point that even small gains in performance affect your bottom line
  • You possess well-organized and value driven data feeds 

In Conclusion…

There is no better time than now to get the jump on 2017 with a strategic, creative, and efficient programmatic advertising campaign. Mobile is the future, and the future is now. Good luck, and happy marketing.

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