Ad Tech Predictions 2021

By Imad Sarrouf, Head of Publishers, DMS
2min read

Businesses across the world were served a major blow when faced with the crippling impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the setbacks, technological breakthroughs progressed unhindered, especially across the marketing space. Brands were quick to understand that new means were now available, and they were here for the long haul. Remote and work-from-home situations are the new “normal” and brands are leaving no stone unturned to reach out to their target audiences, despite them being locked up at home. With a new year, ripe with promises of new opportunities in the AdTech space, digital transformation in 2021 becomes the thread which binds brands to survival and brings them closer to their consumers.

 Ad Tech Predictions to Watch Out For in 2021:

1. AR, VR and XR

The world of augmented reality, virtual reality and extended reality will soon see a culmination in the ad world. Customers will be empowered to experience how a product or service feels in real-time. IDTechX has predicted that virtual reality technology will grow over US$8 billion by 2030. More and more e-commerce and retail apps will witness the incorporation of AR and XR or XR and VR into their product sponsorships.

2. Martech consolidation

Inhouse is where digital marketing is headed, as it has been for some time now. The shift from agency to inhouse has far exceeded the trend phase and moved well into becoming the new standard for digital marketing. The reasons behind this trend are increased transparency, 1st party data activation, brand ownership, improved agency relationships, agility and reduced costs.

3. 5G

Blazing connection speeds will improve Ad experiences, with huge potential for improving ad quality and delivery on mobile devices, therefore, improving the user experience (UX). Mobile ads suffer from lag times and latency that have long impacted the few milliseconds load of both a page’s contents and the intended ads. Nowadays, where users are constantly scrolling, slower load times deprive advertisers of the opportunity to connect with the right consumer at the right time. A simple factor such as loading a webpage, or an ad on-time can improve the UX and make them less annoyed with ads and consequently minimize the usage of ad blockers.

4. EU taking back control 

The coronavirus pandemic may have bolstered the digital giants (GAFA), but it has also strengthened calls to regulate these corporations which continue to expand their footprint through hundreds of acquisitions. Until recently, the benefits they provided, especially in terms of innovation and services, were considered to outweigh their wrongdoings. For the EU, that has changed, and now the GAFA stand accused of not paying enough taxes, unfair competition, stealing media content and spreading fake news. The EU has unveiled an elaborate set of new rules to clip their wings. These range from imposing constraints to their power over the market, to hitting down on hate speech and requirements for transparency over algorithms. Lesson learned from disappointing procedures and small penalties considering the revenues being made, the Digital Services Act could see companies face hefty fines or even bans from the EU market for breaches.

5. Connected TV

During lockdown, the connected and OTT TV business was abundantly exploited. This convergence pattern will soon invite advertisers, as more and more people flock to the CTV space for entertainment consumption. The connected TV’s will also see a good chunk of budget allocations and would also be expected to merge all content streaming platforms into one.

6. The rise of dynamic creative.

The race towards programmatic trading has placed creative innovation in the back seat, but the AdTech industry is now rotating to make quality creative front and center with dynamic creative optimization tools. For ad campaigns to be successful, the creative message must become the focal point. Today’s dynamic creative tools, driven by machine learning enable advertisers to serve ads that feature products, messaging and creative that are noticeably customized to each user.

Dynamic creative optimization (DCO) continues to be an authoritative tool for advertisers to connect with consumers, providing the ability to layer user-level data with targeted messages for each buyer. While large-scale personalization and targeting was once excessively complex, time-consuming, and costly, today’s DCO tools have automated the process and have rendered it simple enough to deploy across almost any type of campaign.

The takeaway

2021 will be a year of innovation and breakthroughs as the Advertising world tries to grapple with businesses and transform them into sales. Digital is the way forward, and extensive innovation and culminations in the AdTech world are most anticipated.  New and hi-tech technological disruptions and modifications are sure to become the novel face of the marketing industry.

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