Ray Gerber, Chief Solutions Officer, Thunderhead

"Businesses will stop paying lip service to the idea of customer centricity and begin making the commitments and organisational changes necessary to place the customer at the centre of their enterprises. This means accepting that, in the digital economy, every business is a service business; accepting accountability for the end-to-end customer experience, with the customer journey as the key frame of reference; adopting a true outside-in perspective spanning all organisational silos and touchpoints; and focusing on long-term customer engagement and value.

"Businesses will realise that the real value of AI technologies – such as machine learning and natural language processing – lies in how it can transform their ability to understand and serve their customers better. Companies will work with customers to meet their wants and needs, building long-term customer engagement, rather than using this smart technology to try and manipulate their customers’ behaviour, particularly through digital marketing and advertising."

Joanna O’Connell, CMO, MediaMath

"Programmatic is moving into new territories—TV, audio, print, native.  The true "programmatic future" is taking all forms of media and making them addressable and connected at a consumer level. User data is what powers the marketing that allows brands to reach and engage with consumers on a one-to-one level across channels, formats and devices throughout the customer lifecycle. But there’s need for technical convergence and message coherence across channels as viewed from a consumer perspective.

"Consumers, after all, don’t care what channel they’re in; they just notice when offers are off, mis-targeted or annoying due to over-frequency of delivery. And then they block ads. To combat this disengagement with advertising, marketers should commit to improving audience management and better aligning how they execute media across channels. This is how you start having a single view of customers that allows you to communicate more seamlessly and, thus, deliver more customer-centric marketing."

Andrew Buckman, MD EMEA, OpenX

Header bidding was a major buzzword of 2016, as marketers increasingly sought to implement the technology as a staple component of any programmatic toolkit. The technology plays a crucial role in both content monetisation and ad buying strategy, and over the coming year header bidding’s capabilities will continue to evolve.

Solutions such as header bidding containers will continue to develop, reducing complexity by condensing multiple tags into one manageable tag on the page.  The next step to further reduce weight on the publisher’s page is to transfer activity from the browser-side to the server-side. This enhancement not only improves ad call speed, and provides full transparency to the publisher and demand side; it also enhances the user experience – a key benefit for publishers.

In the ever-changing world of ad tech it’s no surprise that header bidding has gone through several iterations since it first emerged. So as we reflect on header bidding’s ascent, it is vital to take the core lessons forward to ensure the industry is ready to make the most of the next stage in its evolution.

Alex Rahaman, VP Programmatic, StrikeAd by Sizmek


Next year, uptake of HTML5 VPAID among publishers will increase rapidly. As Chrome continues to tighten the screws, the demise of Flash video will become inevitable.

I predict publishers will first roll HTML5 VPAID rapidly out on their desktop inventory, but will soon extend this support to mobile and tablet. And as coders increase their experience with HTML5, and authoring tools become richer and more powerful – especially on mobile and tablet devices – we’ll see more impactful and engaging creative executions emerge.

I also expect to see the decline of vertical video. Formats that support responsive video – whether vertical or horizontal – are a more effective communication tool, thanks to their ability to engage users.

Jamie Evans-Parker, Founder & CEO, wayve

Ensuring ads are viewable doesn’t guarantee user engagement; it just means they have the chance to create an impact. So after a successful mission to make 100% viewability a standard metric in 2015, this year the industry started to call for a more tangible measure of audience attention: time spent.

Spurred on by innovators such as The Economist and The Financial Times — both of which now charge advertisers on a cost-per-hour basis — other publishers have followed suit, most notably The Guardian and Medium. In 2017 this move to time-based attribution is set to continue apace with independent media companies responding to demand for greater accountability. Yet there will be difficulties.

Used to quantifying ad performance in terms of clicks and served impressions, this will be a considerable shift for the wider advertising industry. To drive adoption and establish a better system of measurement, there will be an onus on publishers to educate advertising clients about the benefits and the need for change.

Paul Neto, Senior Research Director, YuMe


In 2017 competition across the digital marketing space will grow fiercer, and brands will begin to look deeper into the human psyche to determine how video ad campaigns are impacting on consumers across different screens, devices and times of day. This quest for enlightenment will increasingly steer the industry focus towards neuroscience as marketers seek to deliver ad campaigns that have the greatest resonance with audiences.

While neuroscience offers fundamental insights into the subconscious influence of video advertising on emotional engagement, it should be noted that this technology is still in its infancy, and technological limitations currently exist that prevent advertisers from achieving ultimate understanding. However, it is certainly plausible that within the next five years, neuroscience will become a better predictor of consumer opinion and behaviour than traditional ad measurements.