2017 was an eventful year for digital marketing. The industry continues to evolve with new breakthroughs, fresh technology, and strategies. As 2018 approaches, we decided to dive deep into the excitement, look back at the most important digital marketing trends of the previous year and decide, which of them will influence the industry for the next 12 months.

The blockchain opportunity

2017 definitely became the year of the blockchain, bringing the focus to its opportunities. We have witnessed the evolution of the technology, the total number of initial coin offerings has grown dramatically, leading to an ICO boom (more information about the ICO you can get here). During 2017 the bitcoin price has risen more than 10 times. When it comes to the ad tech industry, blockchain technology provides all the means to solve many of the pressing industry issues: reduce transaction costs, improve viewability tracking, and, most importantly, eliminate fraud. The blockchain creates a system, where every transaction is tracked and recorded, making sure that there are no hidden fees. The technology ensures complete transparency, allowing to exclude the influence of the third parties.

2017 has brought the blockchain idea to digital marketing. IAB has started a working group to create education guidelines to implement blockchain technology in ad tech. The SmartyAds team has joined the group. Currently, we are working on setting the priorities, technology standards, and best practices. SmartyAds has utilized blockchain-based solutions and deployed them into the ad stack. The blockchain-based white label ad exchange is already available to experiment with for SmartyAds partners. Contact us at wls@smartyads.com to get more information!

Transparency enhancements

Transparency has always been a complicated issue for the ad tech industry. On the one hand, there is a programmatic ecosystem, where every player has their own role and business specifics. Yet, as of now, there is no way to determine the exact fees and how much of the ad spending is consumed by the intermediaries. In 2017 Google enforced the IAB tech lab’s ads.txt initiative. The goal of the project is to increase transparency in the ecosystem. From now publishers and advertisers have to declare which companies they authorize to sell their inventory. Therefore, Ads.txt supports transparent programmatic transactions and removes the financial incentive from selling misrepresented media. As with robots.txt, the ads.txt file can be posted only by a publisher’s webmaster, ensuring that it is valid and authentic. SmartyAds supports the ads.txt initiative, arguing the clients to join in.

Multi screening reign

The audience is no longer locked on a single device, consuming information from desktops, smartphones, and tablets. The industry has to adjust to hybrid consumption, and there are already steps being made to reach that goal.

For instance, in June 2017 IAB released a new ad portfolio with flexible ad sizes. It includes ads that adjust to different screen sizes and resolutions. Moreover, the new guidelines also such new digital content experiences as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mobile video, social media, emoji ad messaging, and even 360-degree video ads. The ad portfolio is based on HTML5.

SmartyAds supports the principles, outlined in IAB Standard Ad Unit Portfolio, and will implement a step-by-step transition to these new guidelines. We believe that next year we will see the evolvement of cross-screen consumption, leading to more companies shifting to flexibility and transparency.

We will see further development of these trends in 2018. The industry continues to evolve, bringing new technology and new solutions to the pressing challenges. It’s an exciting time to do business in digital advertising, so don’t miss the opportunity to join in.

Written by
Iryna Sieliutina, Head of Content Strategy of SmartyAds
February 2018