The Channel That Won’t Stop – Four Predictions For Programmatic Display In 2019

Matthew Mather

Junior Biddable Analyst

2018 was a challenging year for advertisers to say the least. The combined impact of the GDPR and uncertainty around Brexit was felt by many businesses. Yet programmatic advertising made it through the year stronger than ever, accounting for 85% of all digital ad spend in the UK.

This figure is expected to grow further in 2019, with investment predicted to pass the £5 billion mark before the year is out. Great news for the industry, but this is just the tip of the iceberg in what is set to be a huge year for programmatic.

Here’s just a few things we can expect to see in 2019…

1. Omnichannel evolution

Omnichannel marketing, like programmatic, is nothing new – neither is the marriage of the two. However, the range of opportunities we now have at our disposal is unlike anything we’ve seen before. A couple of years ago, we thought of omnichannel in terms of traditional banners, native and possibly video – all working in sync for maximum brand exposure.

Now, marketers are looking beyond this, as we experiment with different ways to combine the aforementioned channels with the new kids on the block: Connected TV, programmatic audio and digital out-of-home (DOOH). Questions and case studies around how DOOH can reinforce traditional display messaging are already circulating around iCrossing UK HQ, and more of the same is expected during the next 12 months.

The fact that demand-side platforms like Google’s DV360 are pushing these new channels to the forefront of their 2019 agendas is a sign of the (multi-channel) direction programmatic is heading in.

2. More lower funnel activity

Gone are the days of thinking about display activity as purely awareness-focussed. As programmatic continues to expand, so too does its potential as a lower funnel channel.

Without wanting to overstate the importance of omnichannel, a synergy between multiple programmatic channels allows us to view the traditional customer journey in a new light.  And as AI technology continues to improve in this space – through dynamic creative optimisations, personalisation and increasingly sophisticated feeds – more brands are pushing banner ads further down the funnel. This is a trend that’s set to pick up speed in 2019.

Meanwhile, complementing traditional awareness formats are the likes of YouTube, DOOH and user-generated content promoted on social.

3. Faster and smarter mobile targeting

The rise of 5G internet is going to significantly change how we consume information. Although 5G will probably remain in its relative infancy during 2019 (only 5 million users worldwide are expected to jump onboard before the end of the year) quicker internet speeds (up to x3 faster) mean advertisers will be able to target consumers with video and rich-media ads like never before. Although this is something we should definitely keep an eye on in the coming years, there are other mobile trends worth noting in the more-immediate future.

One of which is in-app advertising. Brands who start shifting their programmatic spend towards this platform can benefit from the targeting advantages it offers. For example, gaining access to the enhanced location data apps have means we can more accurately (and more granularly) target our audience, based on where they are or where they shop.    

4. A meaningful clampdown on ad fraud

Throughout its short life, programmatic has been plagued by ad fraud. It’s the largest industry-wide threat we’ve seen, growing year on year despite several efforts to curb it. But now for the first time, there’s a real, combined effort between publishers and tech vendors to tackle the issue once and for all.

Ads.txt, for example, is breaking new ground in ad fraud prevention. The initiative, which essentially allows advertisers to buy solely authorised inventory, has been around for a while. But it wasn’t until last summer that Google got on board with it, through its DV360 platform.

Since then, advertisers have raced to adopt ads.txt in a bid to ensure ad spend isn’t going to waste and that trust and transparency really is at the heart of what they offer.


Want to find out how your business can benefit from the latest developments in programmatic? Get in touch with our display team today.

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