Tech Happenings in January 2018

Digital pressures will have a huge impact on publishers’ distribution and monetisation strategy this year. January was flush with panic, debate and potential for publishers and the digital ecosystem as a whole.

Publisher changes are coming!

Publishers have been panicking after the news that Facebook is to start favouring user posts over publisher posts in the news feed, with many dependant on the social network for traffic and revenue. Forward-thinking publishers have been moving towards premium content or shifting to a completely paid Facebook strategy; whilst some are also looking at new social distribution channels such as Reddit, Twitter, and Snapchat. Experimenting with new traffic sources and monetisation channels, as well as publisher use of data will be huge in 2018.

On the other side of the duopoly; Google are trying to keep publishers sweet after AdSense launched new publisher tools such as Ad Session Length and Ad Balance tool to help improve the UX; as well as style automation for native in-feed ads with Google’s machine learning able to take control of creative look & feel or those units.

Snapchat is a platform to keep close eye on for Publishers and Advertisers as it is looking to expand its reach by enabling Snapchat stories outside the app to encourage others to use the platform, but could eventually see it embedded on other platforms too which could extend ads shown on Snap. Snap are also considering a 3-second ad view standard to offer advertisers better engagement.

Data-driven TV targeting


Whilst data-driven video ad targeting has risen through the growth of digital video itself, the shift of ad spend & viewers to digital services such as YouTube, Netflix and others has left TV asking how it can get involved. With smart TVs on the rise there’s certainly growing potential for Data-driven TV targeting which is likely to grow linear TV wants to improve ad serving and digital wants to extend the value of data.

There’s been some recent examples of such data-driven TV ad capabilities with the likes of SteelHouse recently adding ConnectedTV to its ad capabilities; and Lotame joining forces with Inscape to deliver targeted ads to 8m+ smart TV owners in the US. Meanwhile; Channel 4 launched a digital ad sales service allowing advertisers/publishers to buy inventory during live broadcasts.

CES 2018 — Google vs Amazon for Voice supremacy

There were a number of key trends at CES 2018 including 5G and the speed it will bring; Artificial Intelligence becoming even more integrated into smart devices to drive contextual conversions; and the rise of VR/AR. However, the dominating topic was Voice becoming the 4th sales channel after stores, desktop and mobile. Brands will have to consider whether they start developing their brands to have a presence in the voice realm and what that brand identity might sound like across the different channels i.e. Google vs Amazon vs Apple vs the others.


As such; Apple have finally come to the Voice device party with the imminent launch of The Homepod in February. Top voice habits such as ordering food, electronics and clothing make it easy to see how search intent data in voice will drive voice purchasing, but challenges around tone, marketing strategy, and UX in general will be key. According to Warc, by 2021 approx 2bn will use voice for internet access with 25% of voice queries already having purchase intent.

Record Ad growth driven by Mobile

The global ad market will grow at its fastest rate since 2011 this year with an estimated 4.7% growth to $572bn, according to Warc. Emerging markets and mobile are thought to be key drivers of this growth with the latter to grow 32% this year to $149bn as the second largest ad channel.

Programmatic has quickly become a critical part of digital ad spend too but concerns remain around measurement, transparency, and fraud that need to be resolved sooner rather than later. Despite those concerns research suggests Global programmatic platform market CAGR growth of 33.3% between 2017–2025 propelled by mobile, mobile video and North America.

Other things to be aware of

  • Amazon is trialling 3rd party ads across channels including search, video and Alexa further en forcing their ambitions in advertising. Meanwhile in a bid to win over publishers Amazon launched header bidding into Europe.
  • Email marketing innovation may be ahead in 2018 as data-driven personalisation, interactivity (e.g. ordering within the email), chatbots, AI and visuals all play a bigger role.
  • UK & France to join forces on AI as well as data, cybersecurity, digital government and skills.