The Outlook for Display Advertising in 2016

Display advertising is one of the most popular forms of online advertising right now and it shows no sign of losing ground anytime soon.

It is estimated that in 2015 around $150bn was spend on online advertising globally. If we take the US as an example, around half of the total amount spent on digital advertising was for display advertising. The big question is whether 2016 will see further growth and any significant changes.

The Viewability of Ads

2015 saw the Media Rating Council produce new viewability guidelines. These state that the standard display ad impression is at least 50% of pixels for a minimum of a second. For a digital video ad this is at least 50% of pixels for a minimum of 2 seconds in a row.

However, not everyone is in agreement with these guidelines. Indeed, Google and Facebook have already said that they want 100% viewable pixels and that ads that can’t be fully viewed shouldn’t be paid for.

Ultimately, 2016 should show us that companies are simply interested in getting results from their advertising campaigns. If they are getting great results then they are unlikely to be too concerned about the strictness of viewability guidelines.  If they aren’t getting results then this is likely to be one of their main concerns.

The Ad Blocking Issue

One of the biggest issues for online advertisers is the effect that ad blocking technology can have on their business. This is nothing new but 2015 marked an important change in this sector when Apple allowed ad blocking apps to appear in their App Store for the first time.

In addition to this shift in policy, there was also the worrying report from Adobe and PageFair that showed how Ad blocking software had grown by 41% between 2014 and 2015. If this trend continues in 2016 then it could have a serious impact on the revenues of the companies that rely upon this type of advertising. In fact, the report mentioned a possible $41.8bn revenue drop in 2016 due to this.

On the other hand, the number of people blocking ads on mobile devices is still very low at around 2%. The latest advertising technology also has ways to get round blocking technology, meaning that the possible consequences probably shouldn’t be as drastic as feared.

Ad Placement Concerns

Another issue that got a lot of coverage in 2015 was around the placement of ads on the screen. The potential problem here is that they might not always end up in the ideal location or site when using programmatic buying.

It is likely that 2016 is the year in which more transparency is available in display advertising, as companies look for assurances that their brand will only appear in places that they approve of. This could be done in the form of blacklists of sites that shouldn’t be used or else by using a database of desirable ad sellers, such as the one created by Pixalate.

Overall, it looks as though 2016 is going to be a big year for display advertising and could see a number of interesting and useful changes that help the long term sustainability and effectiveness of this industry.