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Three Founders Weigh In On Digital Advertising In 2017

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The three StackAdapt founders Ildar Shar, Yang Han, and Vitaly Pecherskiy weigh in on what's to come in the next year of digital advertising, and speak to the shift in zeitgeist that will further push its adoption. More specifically, the growing acceptance of programmatic, or technology-powered, advertising.

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Ildar: "Next year people will embrace the fact that programmatic is just automation."

The term "programmatic" tends to produce a strong reaction. Many Digital Marketers sit on opposing sides of the fence: either they feel that the scale of a "programmatic budget" will solve all of their problems, or they are distrustful of new technology. But if you simply replace the word "programmatic" with "automated", the function's true nature is brought to light.

You see, the automated world is simply the manual world on steroids. An email is an automated letter; a car is an automated carriage; social media is a conveniently located community centre. Once we shift away from considering programmatic (aka automatic) advertising an efficient way to buy and sell digital media, to being the only way we buy and sell digital media, reversing this mindset will be as difficult as trading in a car for a horse and buggy.

On the other hand, automated advertising will not sell a bad product or service. Exposing a terrible product or service to hundreds of thousands of people, even if that group is laser targeted, simply means there are more people to abhor it.

There is no magic in programmatic: advertising is nothing without value behind it. In 2017, we'll see marketers on both sides of the fence embrace this simple fact.

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Yang: "There will be more targeting through 1st party or close 3rd party data, or at the very least, transparency in how users are generated."

Though marketers are privy to overwhelming amounts of data, the quality of that data has been an ongoing challenge. The importance of data transparency has become apparent in the steady shift to in-house technologies that keep user information close to the vest. According to CMO.com, "The rise of in-house [Data Management Platforms] has made it easier for brands to collect, manage, analyze, and activate data, resulting in more relevant and engaging consumer-centric campaigns." Of course, 1st party data is king because it is your data. The challenge arises when you consider that the majority of ad buying is still done against 3rd party data, leading to concerns around transparency, recency, and how it was actually built.

In 2017, brands and agencies will start demanding 3rd party data transparency so their insights come closer to what they know about their 1st party data. This "cleaner" data will make it easier to connect the dots of user interest and experience, and increase the efficiency of ad spends.

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Vitaly: "More brands are going to figure out how to build mind-blowing user experiences."

Now that brands and agencies are cleaning up their data (and keeping ad budgets in check), it's time to take that data and generate incredible user experiences. This means true mobile-first practices, along with interesting and relevant content.

Creating awesome content is hard, but many organizations (even with the budget to do so) don't even try. No wonder it is so easy for new brands to disrupt to market: Dollar Shave Club, AirBnB, RedBull and more. All of these brands understand that a mobile-first experience is not about repurposing your web page, it's about valuable, unique, and most importantly, customer focused content. Chances are, if you're bored by your latest campaign, so is your audience. As Swedish House Mafia says, "Goosebumps never lie."

In 2017 we'll see more brands following in the footsteps of SnapChat and building true mobile-first, innovative experiences. We'll likely see the type of raw, handheld-like branded videos that were successful on SnapChat spill over into other digital channels.