A better digital advertising? It ain’t easy

emarketer on programmatic marketingThe economy of attention has led us to a saturated advertising arena, where background noise distracts the audience and tools are evolving to address the challenge. We are at an important edge point where technological advances pose new challenges: AI processing big data, new forms and means of conveying online ads, the arrival of 5G and the proliferation of voice assistants and location-based services, can’t be ignored.

According to the latest data available, the digital advertising industry is booming with an increase in revenue estimated at over one hundred and fifty billion dollars over the next four years: from 330.5 in 2019 to 487.9 of 2023 for a double-digit annual increase of over 11%. An estimate that benefits from the pull of the Chinese market which records double-digit growth rates, although lagging behind in terms of volumes compared to the United States, despite the well-known overtaking in terms of transactions / e-commerce turnover.

Major trends that drive this dynamic can be summarized below:

  • Native advertising will be increasingly crucial: the ability to merge promotional content with the native website can limit the distraction and the disturbing effect generated by classic advertising, perhaps succeeding in becoming a true heir to the product placement that records so much success in our favorite TV series. Two important examples: Outbrain and Taboola who have specialized with excellent results in this field

Outbrain, one of the giants of native advertising

  • Programmatic advertising is already an established reality among the most performing e-commerce retailers and marketplaces. It automates the digital advertising process managing to guarantee better performance also in terms of correct harmonization between the contents of the promotional message and the marketing personas that I want to go to hit. The scheme makes the process understand well enough.
  • taboola gif

    Taboola is an example of native advertising

    Search engines are always a bastion of online advertising campaigns. Although their use as a “source of inspiration” for purchases varies from country to country (55% of the English use them in this sense against a very low share of 33% of Chinese shoppers), in fact the rate of clicks it generates a keyword campaign is 5 to 8 times higher than advertising banners. Considering also the growing share of users who use adblockers and similar devices to limit the intrusiveness of banners.

  • The new frontier is the monetization of messaging apps potential. As WhatsApp business revealed, and as you well know from the parts of Menlo Park (Facebook HQ), the possibility of using the still underused marketing levers of the customer base of users in messaging apps is the challenge of the coming years. These apps are turning more and more into real social networks, where people share content, stories, photos, videos and much more in which it might be useful to follow in the footsteps of WeChat that has long since monetized these features. Certainly the Chinese social network is much more than a messaging app in China, but the marketing model could be a good track to follow.


whatsapp business

WhatsApp business


  • Artificial intelligence will be increasingly crucial. And certainly not required investments in supersonic R&D, it is sufficient to develop a wise strategy for your brand with players like The Trade Desk which invoices nearly half a billion dollars every year and offers tools for native marketing and programmatic advertising based on intelligence artificial. Their AI model is called KOA and recommends actions in real time based on the ability to process consumer data in real time together with over six hundred billion queries that each day leads to make a real scan of what happens online to improve campaign performance.

Photo by Thomas Despeyroux on Unsplash

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