Professionals from the world of adtech give WARC their predictions for the year ahead.

Marlene Grimm, Head of Analytics, TVSquared

“UK TV advertising will continue to evolve, despite industry naysayers touting the traditional medium as having, “no plan for the future.” Marketers are already leveraging deterministic data insights in multifaceted ways, looking at both respondent-level and impression-based information – such as education, marital status, life-stage and site visits – to refine audience targeting and ensure TV ads are aligned with individual consumer interests. Not only does this provide advertisers with greater transparency into the “where” and “when” of placing their TV ad, but also maximises the impact of a spot.

“In 2019, expect to see more sophisticated machine-learning engines that provide recommendations for the best possible marketing outcomes. This is the first step into the world of AI. By capitalising on big data, TV advertisers will be one step closer to finding their ideal marketing model and minimising budget waste.”

Adam Singolda, CEO, Taboola

“We’ve invested the past 10 years in giving people digital access, and we’re going to make it even better and faster with 5G (when it becomes available). We’re also at a point now where there is a good amount of data that can help guess what people might truly find valuable, and need. We’re going to see many industries trying to go to the next level when it comes to creating even more personal experiences. On the commerce front, digital-first companies such as Amazon are already starting physical stores to be there where consumers might need something. On the other hand, the best performing British high street stores are those like River Island, which is investing in its digital shopping experience to improve customer engagement and see off rivals. Companies like Big White Wall and PlusGuidance are creating personal, and one to one, therapy experiences for users so they can carry their therapy on their phone and communicate 24/7 whenever there is a need, among many things - this is to help discourage depression created by people spending too much time on social networks, and in general in front of a screen.

“Direct To Consumer (DTC) is the hottest thing, and will only evolve as brands of all sizes understand that the opportunity to directly communicate to users, in a one to one channel, is a massive opportunity to create value, especially with younger audiences who will do anything for value.”

Gavin Stirrat, VP Partner Services EMEA, OpenX

“The lustre and excitement of traditional TV advertising has plateaued in recent years, but evolving consumer behaviour and the introduction of new technology and services has allowed a new darling to take centre stage: Connected TV (CTV). A rise in the number of screens and streaming services to choose from, paired with a growing number of “cord-cutters” has contributed to what looks like a bright future for CTV.

“In fact, CTV is continuing to capture more attention from brands and advertisers, due to its dynamic and customizable ad formats and its ability to command the audiences that were once thought to be locked down by broadcast and cable. The advertising industry is only beginning to realise the scale and value of the channel so understanding this new ecosystem should be a priority for advertisers in 2019 that want to reap the rewards of CTV and tap into a £825 million market.”

Chris Bennett, Managing Director EMEA, Pixability

“In 2018, headlines in the digital video industry have been dominated by brand safety. Going forward, there will be a shift away from this limiting hygiene factor towards ‘brand suitability’ as a guiding principle.

“With Google and Facebook going to great lengths to ensure video ads don’t appear alongside unsafe content, advertisers can instead focus on the quality and performance of their campaigns. There will be a greater emphasis on context-based targeting, in a bid to understand and engage with audiences across multiple platforms and devices.

“As video advertising continues to thrive and develop across YouTube, other social video channels and OTT, there will be an even greater need for data-driven insights to discover how creative content and messaging resonates with these different audiences.”

Harry Harcus, Managing Director UK and Pan-Regional, Xaxis

“Programmatic is a game-changer for marketers and has transformed the digital advertising ecosystem. The efficiency, scale, and reach it delivers has assured its growth and this is set to continue next year, reaching 85% of digital ad spend.

“But with programmatic now dominant, the term itself has become less relevant and meaningful. Instead, in 2019 marketers need to focus on the actual business outcomes their digital advertising spend drives rather than the moniker given to it.”

Piero Pavone, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, MainAd

“While 2018 was the year consumers took back control of their data, thanks to the GDPR – it also saw growing demand for more tailored content. So how do brands balance these needs? The answer is to harness machine learning (ML) technology, which can process large volumes of consumer data, creating easily digestible and engaging content that is personalised to reflect user preferences and tailored to specific devices.

“With 89% of businesses seeing personalisation as the key to success and 92% of British brands planning to implement AI, the impact that advanced ML can have across digital campaigns is undeniable, as it can monitor consumer behaviour patterns and deliver real-time insights, to help deliver more relevant programmatic ad campaigns.”