Display 2.0: The 2010 Odyssey

"Data Driven Thinking" is a column written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today's column is written by Bill Demas, CEO of Turn Inc., a demand-side platform and ad network provider.

As the first decade of the new millennium comes to a close, the online advertising industry is at an inflection point: We are now entering the era of Display 2.0. Forget all that old school thinking about media buying, audience targeting and the traditional roles once held by agencies, media buyers and service providers in the world of display advertising. The rules of the game are changing.

The display world is going through a classic disruptive innovation precipitated by technological innovations and introductions such as real-time bidding exchanges, privacy-compliant data resellers and exchanges, and of course demand-side platforms. In 2010, we will begin to see the creation of more open platforms, increased systems integration and more powerful analytics to align with - and better tap into - the openness of ad exchanges. Classic ad networks are going to have to adapt to this new world order, beefing up their technology offerings (as some have already done) in order to compete with the exchanges and reinforce the value they bring to advertisers. It will be the end of the party for undifferentiated ad networks targeting brand marketers. Technology, scale, security and strategic expertise will be critical for success.

In another paradigm shift, audience targeting will take on a whole new scope with the continued practice of advertisers buying ‘people’ instead of ‘pages’. These advancements are creating new efficiencies and transforming the way display advertising is bought and managed. They’re also having a bubble up effect upon advertisers, who are demanding improved performance and massive reductions in wasted ad spend. Another unforeseen effect is in the way it is changing the behaviors of media buyers: As one industry luminary put it, the ability to manipulate data and hand-pick your audience is “addicting.” In the near future, having a deep understanding of a target audience will be more important than having a broad reach, and any organization that brings this kind of knowledge to the table – coupled with the ability to execute upon the information – will be the big winners.

That said, the consolidation of advertiser budgets will accelerate for the foreseeable future, and the winners of those precious dollars will be the innovative companies that add value to this ecosystem. It’s about privacy-compliant user-level data, access to inventory in real-time, deep analytics and predictive audience targeting. While managing costs and being efficient is important, true value comes from packaging strategic expertise, advanced technologies and creative ideas to make people’s jobs easier and campaigns more efficient, productive and profitable. Such factors will not only contribute to the success of each individual business, but will grow display advertising. And this will, in turn, create further innovation.

Looking forward, the future of Display 2.0 is really promising. The stars in this entire ecosystem are becoming more closely aligned, in terms of advertisers, agencies, service providers, publishers, and ad and data exchanges. The journey that the industry has taken, from its inception to where we are today, can only be described as an Odyssey. But at the current rate of disruptive innovation, we believe that in three year’s time the industry will double all of the advancements made over the prior twelve years.

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4 Comments

  1. As the first decade of the new millennium comes to a close, the online advertising industry is at an inflection point: We are now entering the era of Display 2.0. Forget all that old school thinking about media buying, audience targeting and the traditional roles once held by agencies, media buyers and service providers in the world of display advertising. The rules of the game are changing.

    Everything you just outlined above as "forgetting about" is what the industry is moving towards. Also, is it really display 2.0 or targeting 2.0? The display unit hasn't changed except for the gaudy OPAs.

    Reply
    • Darren,
      That's an interesting idea around calling these developments Targeting 2.0. User-level targeting ("targeting 2.0") by demographic and psychographic attributes is certainly an important part of the ecosystem but it is the entirety of the transformation - display 2.0 -and not any particular component that I was referring to. And yes we are moving forward but most media-buying today is still done in a traditional fashion. I expect a tipping point to be reached in the latter half of 2010 where online media buying and targeting are done to take advantage of industry innovation, with more analytic insights, platform openness and creative thinking being embraced and executed upon.

      Reply
  2. articlecritic

    Bill, I feel like you're regurgitating everything that everyone is already saying in the industry. Tell us *how* this change is going to come about and say something new, other than 'demand side platforms are really going to change things up, traditional ad networks are really in trouble'...blah blah blah.

    Reply
  3. No matter what ‘side’ of the business you’re on, it comes down to whether the decision maker (he or she who has the power to move $$$) embraces audience concentration (real people) over composition (a guess at the attainment of real people) to find people, step them through every part of the purchasing funnel, move products and services, and hopefully turn a healthy % of those people into brand ambassadors. There are still many systemic issues to solve – planning tools used by the majority of digital media decision makers aren't (yet) functionally aligned to support data and audience planning in this way, let alone the use of R/F/GRPs to align metrics with the metric archetype used across every other media for the better part of 50 years. Then there’s the more fundamental question of advertising as both art and science, or ‘gut’ and brain, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but depending on category, have varying sway in marketing decisions. Be that as it may, it’s a terrifically exciting time to be in “the business” and I suspect a year from now we’ll have uncovered possibilities not yet considered and just as potent by virtue of the ecosystem coming into full bloom.

    Eric Porres
    Chief Marketing Officer
    Lotame Solutions, Inc.

    Reply

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