As we are approaching 2014, here are my adtech predictions for upcoming year:
1. Year of content marketing and native advertising in terms of adoption: I think content marketing and native advertising are two sides of the same coin. Native advertising was hotly debated topic in 2013. As someone who runs an adtech company in the said domain I may be biased but I strongly believe 2014 will be year of content marketing and native advertising.
2. Twitter will launch it's own ad exchange: Twitter had a whirlwind year and a very successful IPO. They also made one of their largest acquisitions (to date) by buying MoPub. It was reported in May that Twitter was working on it's own ad exchange. I predict they will formally announce TWX (just like Facebook Exchange FBX) in 2014.
3. Instagram native ad offerings to become roaring success: Instagram introduced sponsored photos and videos this year. Instagram has run some initial ad campaigns and results look promising. Instagram represents a gorgeous visual medium and a community of users who cares about beautiful photos and videos. Glossy print magazines contain visually stunning ads. In fact, lot of people buy fashion magazines just for the sake of ads. Print ads used to be one of the most powerful medium to get brand message to it's intended audiences and Instagram now offers the said platform at scale in digital world (not to mention accompanying targeting abilities and features like click attribution).
4. Pinterest's promoted pins will be a roaring success too: Like Instagram, Pinterest offers an excellent visual medium to marketers to engage with their fans/customers. They have started experimenting with promoted pins and everything I said in 3rd prediction for Instagram holds true for Pinterest.
5. More IPOs in adtech: 2013 was a year of IPOs in adtech. We will see the same trend in 2014. In fact, more adtech companies will go public in 2014 than a year before.
6. Facebook video ads: Facebook has been testing it's video autoplay feature in newsfeed. I personally hated the idea when I read about it. However, I changed my mind when I saw one of the video in an autoplay mode on my newsfeed. I liked it. One of the motivations of this feature was to show autoplay video ads. Like app install ads in 2013, I think Facebook will heavily bet on autoplay app install ads in 2014.
7. Programmatic buying for display to shrink: Everyone has been talking about rise of programmatic ad buying and RTB. I think it's an essential technology that is going to dominate adtech for foreseeable future. I'm not saying programmatic buying/RTB is going to slow down in terms of overall trend. Programmatic is here to stay and social media ad exchanges (like FBX) will be even bigger in 2014. However, I don't think we will see any growth in programmatic buying of display ad inventory. Banner ads are on a downward spiral and 2014 will be no better for display ads even though we will see exponential growth of programmatic buying in coming years.
8. AdsNative will be rising star: I started it so I can't help it. AdsNative will become the dominant force in content marketing and native advertising. And we will have lot of fun in doing so.
Happy new year, everyone!