US advertisers will spend nearly $48 billion on digital display ads in 2018, eMarketer estimates. As the new year begins, many of the effects felt in 2017 from concerns over ad quality and transparency will continue to shape buyer-seller relationships and the flow of dollars between the two.
Concerns over brand safety, fake news and lack of transparency reached a boiling point in 2017. In 2018, buyers will continue to move dollars to more controlled, direct agreements. This means a move out of the open markets and, in some cases, a move toward more contextual vs. audience-targeted ad buys.
Buyers may punish the open markets for their presumed sins, but they are clearly willing to look past such offenses when it comes to the big boys—Facebook and Google. Brand safety and fake news faux pas won’t stop buyers from pushing even more ad dollars toward these two platforms in 2018.
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Beyond the duopoly, the sellers likely to benefit from this migration toward direct deals include premium publishers and social networks. Video buyers will be particularly drawn to these platforms. However, the same will not be true for publishers and app developers that have been adding video ads without careful thought about how the format fits in with their content and the overall user experience.