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STAMFORD, Conn, July 27, 2020

Gartner Identifies Five Technologies to Drive More Agile and Scalable Advertising Capabilities for Marketers

Inaugural Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 Provides Insights on Prioritizing Digital Advertising Technology Investments

Gartner Inc.’s inaugural Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report reveals five technologies that will have the greatest impact on marketers ability to respond and adapt to emerging trends.

Among the 19 technologies represented in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report (see Figure 1), marketers should keep an eye on advanced supply-side bidding, ad blocking, identity resolution, brand safety, and ad verification and viewability in particular.

“Significant changes to the marketplace, such as cookie obsolescence and dominance by Facebook and Google, combined with a rising level of consumer mistrust in ‘big tech’ have created a tipping point for digital advertising,” said Colin Reid, senior director analyst at Gartner for Marketers. “These changes in the ad tech market will cause some existing digital advertising sectors and established supply chains to wither and vanish.” 

Increased regulatory scrutiny, continued media supply chain disruption and volatile consumer spending are three emerging trends that will have the greatest impact on marketers’ ability to implement effective and scalable advertising capabilities.

Figure 1. Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising, 2020 

Source: Gartner (July 2020)

Advanced Supply-Side Bidding (ASSB)

Demand for ASSB – techniques that allow publishers to solicit bids from multiple sources to fill an available ad spot – is a clear signal that removing barriers to open competition in media markets can yield major economic benefits for buyers and sellers. Marketers should expect continued innovation and pressure to be directed at similar attempts to level the playing field by addressing impediments to a less concentrated market.

However, the impact of regulatory developments on ASSB remains unpredictable, especially in regard to curtailing of trade in targeting data for advertising. As programmatic ad markets take the brunt of a pandemic-induced recession’s impact on media budgets, it will likely take ASSB at least three more years to reach the Plateau of Productivity.

Ad Blocking

Over the last few years, ad blocking – the use of software to remove or filter the delivery of content identified as advertising from material published on the internet – has gained significant traction. However, attention and hysteria surrounding ad blocking have been recently eclipsed by concerns about the demise of third-party cookies and the chilling impact of COVID-19 on the digital ad market. 

Underlying issues with ad blocking are still very much unresolved and unlikely to stabilize within the next two years. In the meantime, marketers must look to better balance customer choice and engagement with increasing demands for transparency.

Identity Resolution (IDR)

IDR holds great promise for marketers as they shift their sights to customer retention goals, do more with a stagnant or cut budget and apply first-party data to marketing programs. However, the technology is among the most active battlegrounds in a volatile power struggle between business interests, privacy regulators, and the largest digital platform providers – with consumers caught somewhere in the middle. Privacy obstacles put tremendous pressure on IDR practices, leading to its position on this year’s Hype Cycle – the Trough of Disillusionment.

The future of IDR depends heavily on standardization – or supporting a universal user token compliant with consent requirements – which has been a rocky road. Marketers that altogether abandon efforts at using IDR to understand and communicate with customers, and those that rely on weak enforcement or sketchy privacy workarounds to obtain personal data, all risk negative impact.

Brand Safety

Brand safety has a renewed focus as of late, as marketers pay more attention to the context in which their ads appear. Previously included in the profile for ad verification, brand safety has been separated based on its unique requirements and trajectory, as it is measured and managed separately from fraud and viewability.

As publishers evolve their ability to filter content, marketers will have a more reliable and direct way to manage their ad buys. However, as influencer marketing gains more investments, marketers will need to more closely scrutinize the process of influencer selection and look to technology to provide an efficient and reliable way to manage campaigns. 

Ad Verification and Viewability

Ad verification and viewability – a fraud-prevention technology that verifies humans, not bots are the source of impressions and clicks – has emerged from the Trough of Disillusionment into the Slope of Enlightenment due to the recent trend of provider acquisitions by strategic buyers.

Marketers investing in digital advertising have a great deal to lose from ad fraud and viewability violations. Verification will be a necessary part of the settlement systems of buyers and sellers as the category moves toward maturity. Marketers will need to institute an approach to ad verification and viewability to ensure they can take full advantage of it and have confidence in the investment. 

The full report is available to Gartner for Marketers clients here: Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising, 2020. This research collection helps organizations identify opportunities that enable the creation of new business and operating models.


About Gartner for Marketers

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