Though the advert tech trade wasn’t hit the toughest by the pandemic, it nonetheless felt ripples of the disaster from different companies. Promoting development was stalled: Predicted media advert spend for 2021 dropped from $758B to $738B in consequence.

Aside from the worldwide recession that benefited some applied sciences and disrupted others, advert tech went by way of native disruptions that prompted trade leaders to suppose outdoors the field. The death of cookies and IDFA, new privateness rules, advert format recognition shifts, and the arrival of latest applied sciences all contributed to a way of uncertainty.

To shed some gentle on what we are able to anticipate in advert tech for 2021, we spoke to eight innovators of advert tech from Google, LiveRamp, Epom, and others.

Which 2020 occasions affected advert tech probably the most, and the way can we take care of the implications?

Michael Sweeney, head of promoting at Clearcode

From my viewpoint, the bulletins by Google and Apple about their respective privateness adjustments had been the largest occasions of 2020 within the advert tech trade.


Though these occasions did have an effect after they pressured corporations to evaluate their present scenario and begin planning for these adjustments, the actual impression can be felt when these adjustments come into impact in 2021 (Apple’s adjustments to IDFA) and 2022 (Google Chrome’s adjustments to third-party cookies).

Abhinav Choudhri, advert ops director at AdPushup

Quickly after the pandemic was declared, the world was shut right down to an extent that promoting budgets took a nosedive. Whereas the scenario remains to be being stabilized as a number of nations are opening up—therefore, the promoting budgets are going up—it was an unpredictable yr.


It looks as if both the advertisers must discover and develop applied sciences to entry consumer knowledge whereas respecting their privateness to indicate them focused adverts, or they will need to kiss all of it goodbye quickly.

How will advert tech take care of the privateness points that arose?

Jörg Vogelsang, head of writer development at Liveramp and proprietor at 101con

Promoting as a sort of industrial communication between manufacturers and customers can solely work whether it is constructed on trust. Finally, this belief is a prerequisite to permitting any industrial exercise within the digital house; it’s the prerequisite for effectiveness in digital promoting.

Total, I’d anticipate three principal issues to occur in 2021. First, there are nonetheless many corporations that might want to implement a CMP. Second, knowledge safety officers in several European nations will proceed to scrutinize current CMP implementations. And third, promoting know-how identifiers will get nearer to CMPs, and even these two tech items will turn out to be absolutely built-in.

Abhinav Choudhri, advert ops director at AdPushup

Whereas Google has issued a dying warrant for cookies by 2022, it additionally pitched Privateness Sandbox in its place. The mission remains to be in its infancy, and no code is out but for entrepreneurs to research. It’s clear that the enormous is planning to maintain its stronghold in promoting utilizing anonymized alerts (not cookies) from inside its browser.

Michael Sweeney, head of promoting at Clearcode

Regardless of the challenges round knowledge assortment and identification, I consider that knowledge will play a much bigger position in programmatic promoting sooner or later than it has prior to now, however privateness would be the key aspect. There are lots of corporations which might be bringing in the way forward for privacy-friendly knowledge administration. Examples embrace Permutive and InfoSum, which each raised funding in 2020.

What advert tech tendencies do you anticipate to flourish and emerge in 2021?

Jörg Vogelsang, head of writer development at Liveramp and proprietor at 101con

In nations like Germany, trade organizations are predicting a development in programmatic promoting of greater than 8% for 2021. This may even be powered by extra codecs changing into accessible. Omnichannel promoting is changing into increasingly more of a actuality. What had been restricted to desktop and cell will turn out to be accessible for the (related) TV, audio, gaming, and on excessive avenue with digital out of house.

Jakub Vachal, Sr. app specialist at Google

Using machine-learning and automation in consumer acquisition is barely prone to speed up in adoption. Many digital networks are introducing extra merchandise counting on machine-learning to finest optimize corporations’ user-acquisition exercise.

This allows companies to release sources and be way more strategic about their advertising and marketing actions and deal with the massive image and its alternatives: a continued rise of at-home on-line actions and improve in display screen time, accelerating the shift to mobile-first conduct, and growing buyer expectations for merchandise to ship superb consumer experiences.

Stéphane Printz, managing director at Comcast and Sr. regional director at FreeWheel

In 2021, we predict that the CTV part can be a elementary aspect of the media planning of many advertisers with an method that we name “complete video” promoting that many entrepreneurs are already embracing.

Between September and October 2020 we carried out a examine along with CoLab, an impartial analysis firm, by submitting a questionnaire to advertising and marketing professionals from the primary European nations (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, UK), the place 68% of German entrepreneurs are forecasting a rise of their investments in CTV gadgets in 2021.

Abhinav Choudhri, advert ops director at AdPushup

The invention of 5G is taking the bottom to a brand new degree: The viewers and consumption of content material on-line are going to extend as the rise in web speeds worldwide offers extra alternative to digital publishers and advertisers to seize extra of an viewers.

Vijay Ram Kumar, founder & CEO at Automatad

Programmatic audio. We’re nonetheless scratching the floor, and several other giants wish to get into audio adverts, together with Spotify and Google. The following one can be cell commerce-enabled codecs. On the search to diversify income, publishers wish to leverage commerce, and it is working, particularly for these with first-party knowledge.

How will white-label advert tech evolve this decade?

Lina Lugova, head of promoting at Epom

Though white-label software program is kind of costly in comparison with common SaaS software program, we’re nonetheless seeing an ever-increasing demand for white-labeling. Corporations with $20,000+ advert spend are able to pay for platform possession and purchase instantly from SSPs with out markups.

Another choice for corporations is to accumulate a distinct segment tech answer to counterpoint their very own tech stack and compete with walled gardens. Advert tech offers had been on the rise earlier than the pandemic (bear in mind how Roku purchased DataXu, and Nike purchased predictive analytics startup Celect), and I feel we’ll see its restoration within the coming years.

Which consumer acquisition methods are not working and ought to be given up in 2021?

Jakub Vachal, Sr. app specialist at Google

Many instruments and methods presently depend on system IDs as the best way to establish customers and inform companies’ user-acquisition actions. Not solely the introduction of the IDFA assortment opt-in pop-up launched by Apple but in addition the general improve in customers’ consciousness of information assortment transparency and safety will push corporations to tailor their methods to the brand new actuality.

Options growing themselves in a privacy-first atmosphere and corporations adapting their methods to nonetheless be capable of successfully method and purchase prospects are going to come back out stronger than earlier than—constructing a powerful relationship with their customers whereas additionally retaining the primary advantages of efficiency advertising and marketing.

Your recommendation for manufacturers and advert networks: how ought to they promote in 2021 and which instruments ought to they deal with?

Michael Sweeney, head of promoting at Clearcode

I feel step one is to evaluate the present scenario and actually perceive what impression these privateness adjustments can have in your promoting methods. The great factor is that there are already options that may assist resolve a few of these challenges. There is not a 1-to-1 alternative for third-party cookies or the IDFA, however there are answers that may nonetheless enable you to obtain your objectives.

For tech corporations, particularly, there’s by no means been a greater time, or a extra urgent time, to put money into innovation.

Stéphane Printz, managing director at Comcast and Sr. regional director at FreeWheel

All the time citing the analysis carried out along with CoLab, we recognized the present notion by way of advantages for businesses and advertisers. The responses highlighted a transparent notion of the benefits provided by Superior TV platforms from the viewpoint of effectivity, focusing on, and attain, due to this fact throughout your entire buy funnel.

Lina Lugova, head of promoting at Epom

The widespread entice advertisers fall into is choosing all-in-one options for one supplier. Nonetheless, every supplier has its personal flagships and laggards, so such a choice will not be all the time the best.

My recommendation to manufacturers is to be extra conscious about their in-house stack and to have the ability to compile a singular puzzle from the choices accessible in the marketplace. As for advert networks, take note of the rising star codecs and put your deal with innovation earlier than everybody else.

Yaroslav Kholod, director of programmatic operations at Admixer

Whereas the development of in-housing programmatic shopping for stays one of many high priorities for manufacturers, I like to recommend taking note of a number of elements when selecting a platform to work with:

  • Privateness. Does the platform adjust to native privateness rules and practices?
  • Technical capabilities. Does the platform fulfill the model’s focusing on wants? Does it have capabilities for inventive administration and knowledge administration?
  • Stock. Does it have entry to audiences throughout completely different channels and environments?
  • Transparency. Does it disclose all particulars of the stock efficiency and provide path?

* * *

The main considerations of all of the featured specialists are knowledge and privateness points. Regardless that Google, iAB, Liveramp, and different advert tech giants are engaged on unified options that work for everybody within the trade, their growth efforts are removed from the upshot. However because the dying of the cookie is nigh, the advert tech trade is pressed for time and may anticipate a uniform answer by the tip of 2021.

The enlargement of obtainable advert format providing and daring experiments with omnichannel, wealthy media, and cross-device promoting are different stations to cease by on this new yr. CTV, DOOH, audio programmatic adverts, and interactive advert items can be accessible quickly throughout DSPs, similar to cell codecs.

2021 can be a yr of belief and real transparency. Customers anticipate not solely loud phrases but in addition robust actions from manufacturers and tech suppliers worldwide.

It might be difficult, however the “hopes and expectations” for the following 12 months sound extra like necessities now we have no alternative however to adjust to.

*Disclaimer: All of the responses featured above are the specialists’ private ideas and never the official stances of their corporations.

Extra Sources on Advert Tech 2021

Advertising to the Developer & Tech Community: A B2B Guide

Programmatic Advertising Trends: Top Tactics, Challenges, and Metrics

The Anatomy and Current State of Programmatic Advertising [Infographic]