Even though online display has been around since pretty much the beginning of the Internet, overall it is still an industry pretty much in its infancy. Compared to technological innovations from the 21st century like television and aeronautics, online advertising has been around for a short time when you consider that the Internet came into existence in the early 1990's. With such a young technology, advertisers should look at online marketing as a fantastic opportunity that is only beginning to be used to maximum effect. The future brings many interesting possibilities.
Still a Varied Landscape
Internet development has seen many transitions. Search marketing has been consolidated within the industry due to Google page rank becoming the most popular way of measuring relevance of a website. On the other hand, display advertising has not gained this same level of consolidation yet. Today it is still a fractured landscape that includes many types of service providers: ad networks, DSP's, DMP's, CRM, and resellers. This means that there are still opportunities for new companies to make it big.
No Longer Just for Early Adopters
Traditional advertisers must make use of this new technology to stay competitive. They must enter the digital game. Almost 50 percent of budgets set aside for advertising today are targeted for online marketing. With technology changing rapidly, advertisers should keep up with current trends and use them productively.
A huge trend today is towards mobile device usage. Smart phones are on the rise. People are no longer content to sit on a personal computer or a laptop. The newest trends are towards tablets and smart phones. So far there has been much pooh-poohing of the effectiveness of mobile advertising. But in the end, ads must move to where eyeballs can be found. Advertisers must always be aware of new trends and adapt within them to stay viable.
Marketers are also demanding access to better data processing. This will end the need to group data into segments, creating a challenge for DMP's to stay relevant. Less structure creates more transparency of data.
Ad-Technology Arms Race
With such a fractured industry landscape, service providers are each trying to hold onto their market-share. But not all of them are making the necessary updates to their technology. Those that do stay updated will probably come out on top. In addition, those that maintain a clear focus, such as Simpli.fi's niche with search retargeting or Vantage Local's focus on local display advertising, will be able to keep and grow their place in the industry. My prediction for 2013 is that there will be big advances made in the creative tools available to ad agencies, and that the data provided for audience targeting will become more reliable and more immediately actionable. Who will come out with the best new advances will be an interesting race to watch.