Digital advertising has emerged as a large-scale business and revenue generated through digital advertising is expected to exceed $150bn in the year 2016.
And even though an exact amount that accounts for the cost of display ads globally is hard to calculate, it is around 50% of the money spent on digital advertising.
With such grand costs, display advertising poses its fine share of issues and problems to advertisers.
Apprehension about how ads are delivered, where they go, and how ad views are priced makes marketers hesitant to continue investing as heavily as the campaign requires in order to reach a maximum.
To help such marketers reach a decision, I have summed up three of the main issues digital display advertising had to face in 2015 – and what you might have to tackle within 2016 whether for clients as advertising agency or an individual.
- Ad blocking
The issue in 2015
Ad blocking technology has been met with raised eyebrows for as long as it has been available in the market. After only a couple of years of its release, in 2010, Exonsultancy was shamming ad blocking for killing site Ars Technology in their blogs and article. (Ars Technology surprisingly survived!)
The issue resurfaced in 2015 when Apple enabled ad blockers to work their way into the App Store.
Suddenly, advertisers feared that this threat to an entire niche of digital advertising would run rampant among other sites and companies as well.
The PageFair and Adobe report furthered this concern by showing that ad blocking software usage increased a good 41% year-on-years from Q2 2014 to Q2 2015.
This meant that presently the number of people using an ad block was 198m, bringing about a loss of $41.8bn loss in online ad revenue by 2016, as shown in the report.
What to watch for in 2016
According to a report from Harvard University Neiman Journalism Lab, considerably fewer people employed an ad block on mobile.
Publishers kept from giving exact figures, but Nieman Lab claimed that according to most responses of tests and surveys conducted the share of mobile ads being blocked was about ‘1 or 2 percent’.
Not even close to the ‘admageddon’ feared by advertisers.
Neiman Lab did call desktop ad blocking a prevalent issue, with 77m Europeans and 45m Americans using ad blocking software, according to the PageFair report.
But, new technologies which give publishers the option to hide content from users which have ad blocks on have come to being.
If publishers continue to use this technology, hopefully the issue will find a way on its own and digital ads revenue wouldn’t have to experience a loss as big as $41.8bn this year.
- Ad Viewability
The issue in 2015
In August, the Media Rating Council posted its latest viewability guidelines:
The current industry standard for a viewable display ad impression is a minimum of 50% of pixels in view for at least one second, and for a viewable digital video ad impression, a minimum of 50% of pixels must be in view for at least two continuous seconds.
The IAB is contended with this definition of standard. In an interview in September, the IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg said, “Debate side [of viewability] is over now and that it’s up to the publishers to implement the standards.”
These standards meant marketers will have to buy ads with new dimensions, because of a ‘viewable CPM’ (vCPM) which leaves advertisers with only the option to buy ads which can be viewed.
vCPMs are already available for purchase on Google Display network.
What to watch out for in 2016
Not all were pleased by MRC/IAB definition. A survey of senior digital execs by ClickZ in September showed that hardly one third of respondents find the MRC standard to suffice their particular need.
Also, Google declared its support for vCPMs by claiming to aim for 100% viewable pixels and advising advertisers to not invest in unviewable ads at all. Google went as far in its support as changing all the CPM campaigns to vCPM ones.
Facebook too followed suit and signaled advertisers that it would charge for only 100% viewable ads. Facebook will involve a third party, Moat’s verification services, for video ads.
But Econsultancy’s Patricio Robles highlights a point to ponder in a recent article on this topic, “Advertisers should ultimately be basing their investment decisions on whether or not the media they’re buying is moving the needle or not.”
This statement suggests that segmenting your audiences and measuring properly on the back end leaves advertisers unharmed by viewability in many respects.
However, if your ads are not being displayed on a platform, its only understandable to draw back funding from that platform.
- Inappropriate Ad Placement
The issue in 2015
An inappropriate placement was the third major issue that appeared in 2015.
When the purchase of display ads is based entirely on programs, they may be placed at unfavorable positions because of placing by interest or keyword.
This problem is also faced by brands with advertisers indulged in unethical activities. This Singtel is showing up on a site which offers illegal streaming of sporting events.
This can pose an issue of considerable magnitude to brands and businesses.
In a recent AppNexus survey in APAC, programmatic buying was met with hesitance owing to the ‘the fear of adverts appearing on undesirable sites’ and other significant issues such as the ‘lack of transparency on where advertisements end up’.
What to watch out for in 2016
Pixalate is a data platform created for the sole purpose of introducing transparency to programmatic ad buying. It built a ranking index for the display ad sellers depending on the quality of the ad they produced.
That offered some help to big ad buyers in having some idea of the sites their ad would be displayed on. However, still the safest way to be sure that your ads don’t appear in the wrong place is manually blacklisting the sites you want to keep distance with.
As Singtel told Mumbrella, “As new sites are constantly introduced, we regularly update our exclusion list to ensure that we only run advertising on relevant and appropriate websites.
We are reviewing the process to ensure that advertising only appears on suitable sites.
Beside these issues…
Display advertising is a great means of creating product awareness and will continue to be so in 2016.
The problems this market has seen; ad blocking, viewability, and even publisher quality are being addressed to some extent.
These issues can have varying impacts on different brands for as long as they prevail. But even in 2016, nothing can outdo high-quality back-end analytics in figuring out return on ad spend.
Professional Guest post by Junaid Ali Qureshi