Programmatic predictions for 2021

With 2020 drawing to a close, it’s been a tough year for all and especially for advertisers who have had to be agile and shift priorities throughout the year to deal with the changing landscape. However, although it may seem like Groundhog Day, the digital industry has not been put to a standstill with many innovations developing, we look forward to the key trends we expect to dominate in 2021 for Programmatic advertising. 

The Cookie Crumbles

When Google announced they would be removing third party cookies on Chrome, this sent many marketers and brands into a spin. What does this mean? How will it affect my campaigns? Will I be able to target audiences? How will measurement work?

After the initial furore, like many who have come to terms with endless Zoom calls in 2020, the industry started to discuss and bring about alternatives to the cookie and improving privacy across the web. 

There are now various initiatives in motion from industry experts to build a new standard for identity and measurement in digital. From Google’s own privacy sandbox to Unified ID 2.0, and as we move into 2021 we will have a clearer picture of how the removal of cookies will affect digital advertising. 

cookie monster eating GIF by Sesame Street

The Return of Contextual Targeting

Without cookies and a clear alternative thus far, we expect a return to contextual targeting for many advertisers. Shunned in the past as an old way of reaching your audience, contextual targeting can provide relevant messaging at the right time and place to your audience. 

This will also see a shift towards more private deals and packages set up by publishers. We have seen some publishers move away from the Open exchange in a bid to make their inventory more premium and sought after, and applying other signals to their inventory such as sentiment analysis and brand mentions to the deals. The downside is that CPMs will become more expensive for brands if they wish to capture their audience on these channels. 

animation winning GIF by Disney Pixar

The Year of the Mobile (again)

It is almost a running joke in the digital industry that *this* year will be the year of mobile, although we can attribute 2020 with an increase in use of mobile and connected devices more than ever and we expect this trend to continue into 2021.

With the “story” format being a standard across many social platforms and more recently LinkedIn, brands have even more ways to connect and reach their audiences across mobile devices.

However, similar to the removal of third party cookies on Chrome, with Apple’s announcement of planned privacy updates in early 2021, mobile advertising has to start preparing and looking for ways to run effective campaigns with limited ad tracking (LAT) enabled. This is a major industry shake up, with no concrete alternative on the table yet and something to look out for in 2021. 

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Rise in Programmatic TV and Audio

Traditionally, TV ad buying has been linear in both format and process, with the rise in connected TV driving the growth in Programmatic TV advertising, it opens up a wide range of opportunities and a way to democratize the TV ad buying world.

An eMarketer forecast indicated that the number of connected TV users in the U.S. will climb to 204.1 million, 60% of the country’s population! 

With increased streaming and time at home to consume more media, connected TV presents advertisers with a new way to reach their audiences at scale. We expect innovations in being able to link TV consumption data, whether it is sentiment or viewing content and activate cross-channel campaigns whereby Programmatic platforms become truly omni-channel.

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Bring on 2021!

2021 will be a time for Programmatic to become firmly the de-factor way of buying digital advertising, whether that is on desktop, mobile, connected TV or Out-of-Home billboards. Let’s put all the negativity from 2020 behind us and look forward to creating a better 2021! 

This is the last Programmatic AI blog of 2020, so our team would like to wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. Stay Safe! 

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Get in touch with our team today to see how you can scale your brand with Programmatic advertising in 2021! 

Our AI-powered advertising solutions are different than any other. They include verified inventory, immersive ad experiences, and quality-verified audiences that scale, whether devices have IDs or not.

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