Last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced the shortlist for the 10th annual IAB MIXX Awards. Encompassing 120 campaigns that represent “innovation, imagination, and real-world results,” the entries span such categories as branded content, interactive video, and data-inspired creative. “These nominees exemplify a new breed of digital advertising that embraces artistry, interaction, and rich storytelling with style and scale,” said David Doty, executive vice president and chief marketing officer (CMO) of the IAB.
We’re more than halfway through 2014, a year that was predicted to bring a glut of digital marketing trends. Content curation and online video along with multiscreen, mobile, and data-driven marketing were all expected to explode. The diversity of the IAB’s MIXX Award entries speaks to the future of marketing strategy: meet your customers wherever they are, delight them with technology and storytelling, and encourage them to participate with your brand.
In other words, the experts were right. Native is huge, with digital sponsorships expected to grow by 22 percent this year. Mobile is seeing “triple-digit advertising revenue growth,” while video ad revenue has hit $2.8 billion. But there are a few categories not included in most 2014 trend lists that are experiencing growth as well. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up next.
Programmatic Media Buying
According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of marketers plan to double their programmatic ad spend over the next year, with a quarter of them expecting to invest 80 percent of their budget on automated media buys. Programmatic’s large-scale automation allows marketers to use customer data to better create, optimize, and target cross-channel ads. Companies like Mondelez International in the U.K. – which markets snack brands like Trident, Tang, and Oreo – are already using programmatic to place all video ads, in this case with the help of video ad software company TubeMogul.
Oreo’s epic real-time Super Bowl tweet was only the beginning. Real-time marketing ranges from mobile advertising that uses GPS and beacon technology to deliver location-based ads to customizing campaigns based on what’s trending for a brand’s audience. “Operating in real-time is the biggest trend, and the biggest challenge,” says Adam Kapel, senior vice president of marketing and insights with real-time advertising company Taykey. “It requires marketing organizations to evolve and accelerate editorial and message approval practices. The pay-off is great, though.”
Earlier this year, Taykey launched the Real-Time Advertising Academy, a program designed to help agencies and brands learn about real-time advertising best practices in a classroom setting. “Response to the program has been fantastic,” Kapel says. “We are connected with representatives from most of the major advertising agencies, as well as with select brands that are eager to advance their marketing teams’ skills.”
Branded Interactive Features
Think of these as the Snow Fall of native ads. These advertorials have more in common with editorial content than with advertising, but they’re sponsored all the same. Consider Netflix’s advertising feature, which appeared on Wired.com in May. The ad is interesting, informative, and above all, it encourages reader participation.
Publishers from The Huffington Post to BuzzFeed are making their native ads more interactive. As editorial content continues to be developed specifically for the online environment, so too will sponsored digital content become more engaging. Native ads are already competing with editorial pieces for eyeballs online, and interactivity will be the great equalizer that puts the two on more common ground.
As we head into the tail end of 2014, keep an eye on these marketing strategies along with all the rest. Odds are good we’ll see them make next year’s “trends to watch” lists.
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