David Barr: commercial director at AD2ONE
David Barr: commercial director at AD2ONE
A view from David Barr

Why 25% is just the start for digital advertising

A recent report from eMarketer and Starcom Mediavest Group estimates that digital advertising will account for almost 25% of all global ad budget spent in 2014, with around $117 billion (£72 billion) spent on digital ads worldwide in 2013, up 13% year on year.

These are very impressive figures and this growth is set to rise and rise, as long as publishers and agencies continue to embrace the digital advertising evolution.

The success of digital can be put down to various, tried and tested reasons – it is competitively priced, it provides quantifiable performance metrics and it has the ability to test new executions and new audiences.

But the speed of recent growth can be attributed to a clearer, more defined market, with both premium and programmatic offerings having improved greatly in recent times.

Premium advertising has seen high-impact creative produce brilliant campaigns for brands and publishers. The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s six "rising stars ad units" is further evidence of this sustained effort to spur greater creativity in digital advertising. These brand-friendly ad units such as Billboard and Pushdown are already being used by the likes of YouTube and help set definitive standards for the industry.

At AD2ONE, we’ve witnessed a rise in more strategic partnerships with our clients and a subsequent increase in single-publisher deals. These bespoke, tailor-made campaign solutions often mean fewer bookings from premium clients, but more income from these "big-ticket" deals.

The relatively new approach of programmatic buying has also been a great success for digital advertising, with a lot of money moving towards this format. It provides agencies with a more transparent and efficient way of selling vast amounts of digital space and greater flexibility in where, when and what price a campaign runs at. 

The improvement in the quality of sites it can be bought on has also improved the perception of digital advertising, backed up by increased audience and real time data.

A trend for 2013 has been the increase in specific mobile and tablet briefs. Whereas mobile was previously viewed as a network buy, now campaigns are often bought at a premium and increasingly booked instead of desktop.

As publishers such as BT.com, PC World and Jamie Oliver move to responsive and adaptively designed sites, so further opportunities for income will be exploited. With just 11 of the UK’s 100 highest-spending advertisers having websites optimised across PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones, there is a lot of untapped potential here!

The ability to either segment mobile and tablet campaigns, or run them across all devices, also offers agencies more choice. Coupled with the growth in innovative, geo-targeted mobile and tablet campaigns, publishers can now offer a 360° digital solution for agencies and their brand clients.

The future for digital advertising is positive. The evolvement of sequential targeting (where ads recognise what device you’re viewing it on, allowing you to be targeted with a sequential ad on the next stage of your consumer journey) will ensure multi-device campaigns come more to the fore.

And as clients get closer to digital, so agencies will form stronger partnerships, resulting in bigger value deals. A more mature buying market awaits – 25 per cent really is just the start.

David Barr is commercial director of AD2ONE