Adtech and martech are rapidly evolving sectors. One way that technology vendors in this space can raise their profiles is to use PR and content marketing to showcase their opinions about the changes that are happening. What are the important trends, innovations and challenges you’re seeing? And how will they impact marketers, publishers, agencies and audiences? This is prime material for guest comments and blogs, newsjacking, editorial interviews and social media posts.
Here are five adtech trends you/your agency should consider including in PR and content marketing activity.
1. The rise of retail media
There’s growing interest in advertising on retail media (retailers’ websites and apps). Often (but not always) the advertisers are brands who sell through those retailers. One advantage is that retail media helps them reach consumers with a high purchase intent on the sites and apps they like to purchase from. The advertisers can also benefit from using the retailers’ first-party data to connect with shoppers throughout their buying journey.
Leading the way in this sector are retail giants such as Amazon, Walmart and Target. But many other retailers are starting to join the club, seeing advertising as an additional revenue stream (in the UK Asda recently launched a new business unit tasked with building “next-generation digital media propositions”. Ad revenue from retail media was expected to reach $126b by the end of last year and is set to continue rising. The sector is still in an early phase and one of its main challenges is the lack of standardised and transparent measurement approaches. I expect marketing and advertising publications will continue to devote column inches to it.
2. CTV ads being beefed up by ad-supported streaming services
Audiences are shifting away from traditional linear TV in favour of the convenience of Connected TV (CTV). No surprise really, as people want the freedom to consume the content they want (including movies, TV shows and music on the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix) when they want it and on the devices they prefer.
CTV ads can help advertisers reach these ‘cord-cutters’ – and the opportunities are increasing. Netflix and Disney+ began offering ad-supported streaming in 2023 and Amazon started rolling out ads this January. While it’s early days for ads on streaming services, advertisers will begin to show interest as potential audiences grow. Expect many twists and turns as this sector evolves, providing ample opportunities for PR. Especially as the big streaming platforms compete for ad budgets.
3. The gaming ads opportunity
The number of people who play video game on mobiles, PCs, or consoles like Xbox or PlayStation is growing. As gaming becomes a widespread cross-generational pastime, there’s a largely untapped opportunity for advertisers to reach a wider audience. The choice of in-game ad options includes static ads that are hardcoded into games and dynamic ads which can be updated in real-time using different formats including video. There’s also the product placement opportunities for brands to directly feature their products within games.
The range of targeting options are a key advantage. You can target by the nature of the game, demographics, geolocation, device type/platform as well as behavioural factors such as players’ willingness to make in-game purchases. For gaming companies, advertising presents another way of monetizing their content. This is still a relatively new sector with revenue from in-game advertising growing at a rate of 12.62% and expected to have reached €2.86bn during 2023. Brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana are starting to include gaming in their marketing strategies.
4. How will advertising cope with the death of third-party cookies?
I know. This has been a hotly debated topic in the marketing, advertising and technology publications for years. But it’s so core to digital advertising that it’s sure to stay in the spotlight for the foreseeable future.
With Google finally phasing out third-party cookies from Chrome during 2024, ad targeting and measurement is going to get more difficult. How will this impact publishers’ ad revenues? And which alternative approaches will the industry embrace? The options range from greater reliance on first-party data (gathered from online audiences via subscriptions and feedback), ramping up on contextual advertising (placing ads based on relevant content) and throwing AI and predictive analytics at the problem. Google’s own alternative is it’s “Privacy Sandbox” which classifies web users into groups based on their interests and allowing advertisers to use this for targeting.
5. Will brands stick to their DEI advertising promises?
Not specifically to do with technology, but still likely to stay very topical – this is about whether advertisers will continue to shift more budget into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) advertising. Many brands have embraced the idea of ensuring their media spend covers a diversity of audiences (including supporting minority owned publishers) and making ads that include under-represented groups. This trend was influenced by the increase in awareness of issues related to social and racial justice (the likes of Black Lives Matter).
The significance or supporting DEI advertising was underlined by an Adobe study which found around 34% of global consumers had boycotted a brand for failing to represent their identity in advertising. And in the US more than a third of consumers feel that they are not accurately portrayed in ads. Having said that, the commitment to DEI marketing seems to be waning. Some brands such as Victoria’s Secret have reversed their earlier decisions to go down this route. But I expect it’s going to be an issue that continues to be written about.
Using Adtech trends to fuel your PR/content creation effort
Regardless of whether you’re in adtech or another technology sector, I would always recommend picking out 5-6 key trends like this to drive your PR. Interview your subject matter experts on their point of view and aim to develop a ‘house position’ on these relevant topics. You can use this material for a wide range of PR and content tactics and assets. It’s a great way of getting going at the start of the PR/content creation effort. And usually spawns lots of ideas.