SQAD POD: 5 Game Changers Every Advertiser Should Know – January 2017

Industry news and insights podcast curated from the world of advertising and marketing trends.

2016 is in the rearview mirror and 2017 is kicking off a clean slate for everyone, including the advertising industry. With the promise of an exciting year ahead of us, and a lot of emerging technologies that look like they’re poised to flip the industry on it’s head, we’re starting the year off with a dive into advertising revenue and trends from the past year. We’ll also take a look at Instagram’s new measurable ads for its Stories feature; Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages product; a mediocre NFL viewership season; and digital metrics standards.

1. 2016 Ad Revenues: The Year at a Glance

We’re starting the year off by looking back on ad trends from 2016. New data from the Global Advertising Trends report by IHS Markit show that major events in the past year pushed global ad revenue up 7% over the previous year, capping it out at $532 billion. Although digital markets such as Facebook, Google, and Snapchat have been, and continue to be, all the hype in the advertising world, TV still took home in the largest share of advertising revenue, lifted up by quadrennial events like the Olympics, the U.S. Presidential Election, and the Euro Cup. However, it won’t be long until we start seeing online advertising revenue race up ahead of TV; in some countries, online already accounts for almost 50% of total ad revenue. Looking forward to this year, IHS Markit predicts total ad revenue to surge 11.1% to $590 billion.

2. Instagram Introduces Ads on Its Stories Feature

Instagram is stepping up its game by offering advertising in its Stories feature, which functions similar to Snapchat – the Stories, in the form of videos and photos, are added to a user’s timeline and disappear after 24 hours. Now, Instagram will be running ads between the Stories on users’ feeds. This can be seen as nothing less than a direct hit on Snapchat, which is notorious for being unaccommodating for businesses, with brands struggling for exposure on the platform and receiving minimal audience or engagement data. As a way of differentiating its product from Snapchat, Instagram is offering business account measurement tools; it already provides brands with data on reach and engagement within Stories, but will be adding data for impressions, user comments and conversations generated by the posts, and story drop-offs.

3. Publishers Aren’t Amped about Google’s AMP

Advertisers and publishers have long struggled with the issue of slow mobile downloads, which leads users to abandon content and miss out on engagement opportunities. In response, Google created Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) as a way to host web content on Google and speed up loading times on mobile web pages. While many major companies have partnered with Google to use the service, such as The New York Times and eBay, some publishers remain skeptical and are beginning to back away. Why? Even though the publisher maintains control of design and content, AMP-backed articles will appear as a google.com web address rather than the publisher’s, so you can understand from a website traffic standpoint why publishers may be a bit hesitant about using the product.

4. The NFL Season is No Touchdown

While the NFL has enjoyed relatively steady viewership compared to traditional programmed television over the last few years – inevitably, all good things must come to an end. With declining numbers, the dwindling performance of pro football could confirm the fears that traditional TV’s days are numbered. It was reported that NFL Nielsen ratings were down 8% for the 2016 season, and industry insiders have speculated the decline in viewership could be the result of many factors, including the data that shows TV is not capturing the hearts and minds of young consumers like it once did. Whatever the reason may be for the dip in viewership, it will probably prove to be problematic for networks who signed long-term sports legacy broadcast deals – cannibalizing potential programming blocks that could be used to attract more engaged viewers.

5. Ad Groups Push for Digital Standards

Advertising trade groups, namely the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), are pushing for publishers to create a standard way of tracking whether ads are viewable in their mobile apps. Currently across the industry, various viewability measurement practices have meant that data has been inconsistent at best, and sometimes wholly inaccurate; but platforms like Google and Facebook have been hesitant to join the movement to create industry standards – possibly out of fear of losing their commanding position as leaders in the marketplace. The lack of standards has forced many ad buyers and publishers to work with 3rd party vendors to tracking viewability, and those vendors may also resist industry-wide standards because their technology could become obsolete. With so many divergent interests at play, can the industry ever agree on a single standard?