Overcoming Obstacles to Ride New Ad Tech Trends

We live in exciting times in the world of advertising technology. With the increase in mobile use, the rise in Connected TV ad opportunities, and marketers finally getting a handle on cross-device marketing, the future (and present) looks bright.

But with all the ad tech trends we’re seeing, there will be hurdles to overcome. Marketers have to undo the thinking they relied on in the past and be willing to embrace the inevitable changes that are already here.

Let’s look at a few of the issues that are likely to arise with the hottest ad tech trends.

  1. Artificial Intelligence Can’t Replace Humans…Yet

AI is having its moment in the advertising realm right now. Rather than rely on human media buyers, the technology exists to monitor the best time to present a particular ad via mobile devices. Using machines in the process removes human bias, which can sometimes skew results.

And yet what you do with a lead who clicks your ad on a tablet or phone is completely a human task. No amount of sophisticated technology can replace the fact that we need human brains to strategize the best way to pull that lead down the funnel to close a sale.

The challenge is in finding a balance. Yes, using AI can give marketers a leg up, but right now we’re still learning how to both use AI and our own human brains for the greater good of marketing goals.

  1. The Number of Consumer Signals is Overwhelming

Recently, our COO, Dave Zinman, shared his insight about the rising importance of data to marketers on Forbes. Absolutely, the data is there to better understand consumers and make smarter decisions in marketing to them.

The issue is the sheer amount of data available. Consumers have more touch points than ever before, and they’re putting out a mind-boggling number of signals.The challenge marketers will have to overcome is to filter through all of these consumer signals to get to the meat of what tells the real story of marketing results.

  1. The Battle of Ads Vs. Ad Blockers Rages On

As ad technology improves daily, so do the tools to block online ads.There are two ways advertisers are working to combat ad blockers: one is to create better, more appealing ads that consumers want to engage with (think: sponsored content), and the other is to develop technology that battles ad blockers.

Instead, we need to see the bigger picture. How can we change the perception of advertising from one that’s annoying and unwanted by consumers to another way to get information about and engage with brands they like?

  1. Connected TV Providers Will Have to Loosen the Reins

The cable industry is one that has been notoriously slow to adopt better advertising strategies. Just consider the scatter-shot approach with commercials we’ve seen for decades. Change will be slow, though it has already started. We’re in the development phase now, where content providers must determine how they will work with advertisers and ad networks to profit. Everyone from Netflix and Hulu to your local cable-turned-OTT provider will need to come up with a cohesive ad tech strategy that will attract the right advertisers.

  1. Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned: Finding the Right Balance

With so many different ways to reach consumers — from targeted blog content to CTV ads — marketers are spoiled for choice. The problem is: what’s the right mix of paid, earned, shared, and owned media? The answer might not be immediately apparent, which will require marketers to test out different proportions to find the perfect balance.

  1. New Ad Tech Might Not Make it Into This Year’s Budget

Whenever there are new marketing tools on the horizon, larger corporations are notoriously slow about incorporating them into the annual marketing budget. Remember when social media was born? It was years before brands really latched on and started setting aside serious spend for this channel.

Expect the same for newer ad tech, like those Connected TV ads. Marketers will have to work overtime to prove to the check-signers that these strategies are not only successful, but that they also offer a competitive edge to anyone smart enough to sign on early.

  1. Some of Ad Spend is Still Going to Fraud

Advertisers haven’t yet found a way to circumvent ad fraud — where competitors and spammers use bots to click on pay-per-click ads in an effort to drive up costs — but the fact is: it’s costing us. Experts estimate that about 10-20% of all ad traffic is generated by these bots and spiders, which ups our costs and our cost per acquisition.

One way to mitigate this risk with ad tech is to invest in Cost-Per-Action rather than Cost-Per-Click. There’s less fraud with the CPA model than CPC, and you’ll only pay when a lead actually takes a step toward making a purchase, subscribing to your newsletter, et cetera. If you use affiliate marketing, avoid any “short-sighted payment incentives” that are easy targets for hackers or bots.

Ad tech offers so many ways to really connect with and engage our audiences, but like anything, it will take time to adapt to new technologies and processes. The key is being flexible and ready to go where the winds of change take us.