It’s that time of year again where at equimedia we take a look into our crystal ball to predict what exciting developments we think will take place around digital display advertising in 2014. Here are our predictions…

1) Video will become its own medium

2014 is set to be an exciting year for video. Online video advertising grew an impressive 86% year on year to £135.2 million in 2013 and with time spent on digital media set to soon surpass time spent on TV we are tipping video to explode in 2014 as advertisers look to extend their reach online.

Gone are the days where brands are simply posting their TV ads on YouTube. Thanks to changing media viewing habits and the rise in social media, video is now transforming into a hyper-targeted channel that allows advertisers to engage with consumers throughout their online journey. In 2014 we will start to see online video moving more into the social space with brands using paid social video content to drive earned media. Facebook alone has over 1 billion users with one in four already sharing a video – this is a huge stat!

In terms of creative we are already starting to see interactive elements being combined with video to increase overall impact and to deliver a more engaged user. This includes elements such as interactive social buttons, ad selection (where users can pick between three videos) and embedded calls to action. Advertisers can also create a situation where the viewer is actively involved with the brand i.e. letting them take control of a video. This Designed to Play video from Phillips is an excellent example of how interactive videos can be used:

Phillips designed to play video

Interactivity is a key advantage when drawing comparisons to TV, and video is a fantastic opportunity for brands to engage users for an extended period of time providing a balance of product detail and entertainment.

For video, measurability will still be a hot topic in 2014 and hopefully we will see a standardised solution come into play, whether this is aligning video measurement with TV or moving away from CTRs to look at viewability, dwell time and view-through rates. What we are starting to see is cost per engagement and cost per view becoming the main purchasing models with CPM fading into the background. This is in recognition of the fact that it is the quality of the view that counts.

2) The multi-screen revolution

According to Google, we are a nation of multi-screeners. Consumers are increasingly using different devices and platforms for different things at different times. For example, desktops and laptops are used during work hours, smart phones or even smart watches and Google Glass for sharing and sourcing information and tablets for checking up on emails, reading the news and accessing other forms of entertainment. The device that we choose to use is driven by context in terms of where we are, what we want to achieve and the amount of time we have.

90% of people are said to move between devices to accomplish a different goal. A good example of this was during the NFL Super Bowl where people were watching televisions, checking work emails via their laptop, tweeting from their tablets and sending text messages from their mobiles. This is what Google refer to as ‘sequential screening’ where we move between devices and ‘simultaneous screening’ where we use multiple devices at the same time.

Media spend attributed to multi-screen ad campaigns is expected to grow from 20% of budgets today to 50% in the next three years, according to Nielsen. Delivering fully integrated campaigns and experiences across multiple screens and platforms is important for advertisers to effectively deliver marketing messages. Consumers don’t think of screens separately and advertisers will need to innovate across all screens, but at the same time recognise the different role that each plays and adapt strategies in line with usage. For example, we wouldn’t recommend a 30 second video ad across all devices due to the variation we see in dwell time across device. Smart phones have shorter dwell times so an ideal video ad length would be no longer than 5 seconds (think Vine videos), whereas tablets can afford longer-form content in the region of 15 seconds.

Here is a great example of a Vine ad for Doritos that we love.

3) Paid-social is on the up

A recent survey by Nielsen showed that 65% of marketers increased their paid social media ad budgets in 2013 and this is set to rise in 2014 as organisations look to keep pace with consumer behaviour and stay in front of their target audience.

For these reasons it is becoming increasingly necessary for advertisers to pay for social media advertising alongside existing organic activity. Brands are beginning to understand that paid social ads in the form of Facebook promoted posts, Twitter promoted tweets and LinkedIn ads can help explode their content in front of a larger audience. We used Facebook page post ads to promote content for one of our clients, which resulted in nearly 7,000 actions, including a massive increase in page Likes.

Emerging platforms like Pinterest and Instagram will also help contribute to the growth in paid-social, allowing advertisers to connect pins and photos to other marketing efforts. For platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram imagery is key; it will be about fitting in and enhancing the customer experience ensuring that there is a natural correlation.

4) Mobile advertising

Now this wouldn’t be a blog post about the year ahead if it didn’t include mobile in some shape or form. In 2014 mobile will be part of every brand’s advertising strategy. This may be a bold statement to make but as increasing numbers take to mobile devices, brands will need to adjust their budgets with more money being allocated to mobile, likely at the expense of print display and even TV advertising.

Mobile now accounts for 20.4% of total digital display advertising and this growth will be further fuelled by the adoption of 4G and the opportunities that this will bring to display advertisers, as well as new mobile products in the pipeline (Google Glass is due for release at the end of the year) and improvements in connection speeds.

Mobile video advertising too has the potential to be incredibly successful as a result of increased data limits and again connection speeds.

For publishers, mobile is a huge opportunity and most will become more receptive to the emergence ensuring that their websites are fully optimised in order to take advantage and monetise opportunities, leading to an increased volume of available mobile inventory.

Google Glass due for release late 2014

5) Real-Time-Bidding & Programmatic advertising is here to stay

The digital advertising market is rapidly becoming more automated, more data-driven and interconnected, with programmatic buying fast becoming the staple way of buying and selling display media. The Real-Time-Bidding (RTB) display ad industry has calculated that it could grow to $20.8bn by 2017 on the back of 49% annual growth.

It is clear that programmatic buying is more than just a passing fad and that it has dramatically changed the way display is bought and sold, as well as the shape of a typical media plan, but what does 2014 hold?

We broke this down into 4 key development areas in an earlier blog post entitled What's Next For Programmatic Media Buying.

6) Going native to drive engagement

Can native advertising help brands overcome banner blindness? We think so.

Native advertising appears to be the buzz term at the moment and is set to continue into 2014. It is all about integration where advertisers attempt to build trust and engagement by providing content in the context of the user’s experience. This could be in the form of sponsored content offered by the likes of Taboola and Outbrain, in-stream display ads, promoted social posts or even interstitial ads on mobile devices.

Native advertising is seen as bridging the gap between brand publishing and banner advertising. It is about fluid integration with editorial and how brands work with online publications to reach people and satisfy an audience need. In a way it is very similar in concept to the traditional advertorial whereby a paid for media placement is attempting to look like an article. The main objective should be to make the paid advertising feel less intrusive and as a result aim to drive greater levels of engagement.

It isn’t necessarily a new concept as in some ways native advertising can be used to describe PPC where ads are appearing alongside search results native to the search experience or even Twitter and its promoted Tweets, but in the new world of content it is becoming increasingly important and as research from IPG Media Lab suggests it seems to be working. They found that native ads are viewed for the same amount of time as editorial content and are much more likely to be shared than a banner ad (32% versus 19% of respondents said they would do so).

 Native advertising alongside editorial content

7) Creative formats – an enriched user experience

As advertisers look to avoid banner blindness and to gain cut through we are predicting that the advertising industry will start to see standard MPU and Banner ads give way to much more creative, innovative rich media formats which will operate outside of the standard IAB models. These formats will be far more visually appealing to the user and therefore far more engaging and effective.

Successful formats should be entertaining, easy to engage with and targeted to relevant audiences through the right environments. Content and context of an ad is just as important if not more so than the presence of an ad on a website. Engaging with consumers is crucial to the conversion process and paramount to this is that creative is refreshed regularly and tailored to the device that it is appearing on.

With the multi-screen revolution and the changing nature of the consumption of digital media, responsive ads are tipped to take hold next year. These are ads that allow brands to move away from fixed ad dimensions that are unable to adapt to the screens of smart phone or tablet devices. Responsive ads can change in layout, size and orientation depending on the size of the screen they are being viewed on. One ad creative can work ubiquitously across all screens deployed using a standard third party ad tag.

Responsive ad creative deployed across multiple devices

So there you have it, these are the trends we think will be making waves in 2014. For further information on any of these digital display advertising tips or to find out how we could work together please contact us on 01793 715440.

About Charlotte

Charlotte is the Media Planning Group Head at equimedia, responsible for planning and buying effective cross-media campaigns on behalf of clients. In her spare time she loves to travel and plays netball most weekends, she is also an avid Gloucester rugby fan!