David J. Moore, Chairman & CEO, 24/7 Media, Inc.
From the vantage point of summer 2012, the year 2020 sounds impossibly far away. A year plucked from science fiction or a far reaching economist’s long term predictions. But in eight short years all of us will be there and I believe Advertising will look quite different then. The industry will continue to attract creative men and women — who I’m sure will always be cooler and more fashionable than the rest of us — but the transactions, executions, insights and analytics of advertising buys in 2020 will be all about one four letter word: Math!
The proficiency of the quant experts that Wall Street has utilized for many years, will transform the buying and selling of media by the year 2020. Sophisticated algorithms and forecast modeling will be widely used on both the demand and the supply sides of media. This will bring the cost of advertising down and results will be quickly measurable. Gut feelings will give way to data provided in real time. Forecasting that is based on proven mathematical models is the way of the future in digital media and far superior to the ad-hoc sampling that is most prevalent in 2012.
So what do we need to do now for this future?
Data! Data is to media, what location is to Real Estate. Simply put, it is the key right now to setting up a future that will embrace the amazing capabilities of algorithms to forecast and measure the value of every transaction in advertising. Media owners and advertisers must take steps right now to own all the data associated with their consumers. They need a safe, secure place to house that data, as well as the capabilities to derive insights and value from all facets and attributes associated with their business: audience profiles, device preferences and habits, environments, creative executions and performance.
The fragmentation across multiple devices that we are seeing in 2012 will increase in years ahead. As our industry grapples with the challenge of monetizing mobile and targeting consumers on multiple devices in meaningful and measureable ways, data and analytics become vital. The powerful combination of math and data, algorithms and analysis, are key to the three phases of advertising: pre campaign forecasting and predicting; real time analysis of campaign effectiveness; and post campaign recommendations and insights. As the number of attributes associated with a marketing campaign continues to rise, and the measures of success on various devices diverge, the most advanced algorithms and analysis will be required to define success.
The only constant in Advertising, as in life itself, is change. By making math and measurement — and data and analytics — central to their business today, I believe publishers and advertisers will be set up for success in 2020. No companies will do all of this alone, so I urge publishers and advertisers to choose their partners wisely. Who can they trust to keep their data and their brand safe? Many things will be different in 2020, but consumer trust in a brand will always be paramount.