Advertising Digital Publishing
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IAS Industry Pulse Report 2021: What publishers need to know

Integral Ad Science (IAS), a global leader in digital ad verification, has just released its 2021 Industry Pulse Report. IAS surveyed 200+ industry professionals to find the trends, technologies, opportunities, and challenges in digital advertising in 2021.

Based on the 2021 Industry Pulse Report, these are the key priorities for publishers to consider for the year ahead, from the digital ads perspective.

Key takeaways

  • Data privacy concerns – 49% say third-party cookies remain the top challenge in 2021, as we enter into the final year before Google’s removal by 2022. 
  • Lack of social metrics – 59% will adjust social media ad spend due to insufficient metrics.
  • Social media transparency – only 17% believe that social platforms provide adequate transparency. 
  • Programmatic brand risk – 56% said programmatic advertising is the most vulnerable environment to brand risk. 
  • Mobile apps innovation – 66% said that AI and Machine Learning will make mobile advertising contextual.

Eyes on social platforms

While there’s no denying the power of social platforms, it’s clear that marketers have serious questions about transparency issues and this could impact social budgets next year.

A mere 17% of industry experts said they believe social platforms provide enough transparency around brand risk and viewability. What’s more, 59% of Industry Pulse respondents reported that they are likely to adjust social media ad spending in 2021 due to insufficient media quality metrics.

Programmatic booms, but focus on media quality intensifies

Programmatic continues to gain and shows unprecedented growth opportunities heading into 2021, but marketers still see a potential for risk and the need for more verification.

56% of survey respondents said programmatic is most likely to experience brand risk incidents.

With the advent of new technology and enhanced industry partnerships, IAS expects to see even greater improvements in transparency for programmatic next year.

Mobile gets contextual

While 5G’s impacts on mobile gaming and advertising is top of mind for 58% of those surveyed, a whopping 66% believe that sophisticated tools for assessing content within apps will be what drives innovation, specifically in mobile contextual advertising.

Poised to crumble, cookies still pose challenges

As the effects of increasing data privacy rules have taken hold and media experts have adapted to ensure compliance, third-party cookie deprecation remains a top challenge for nearly half of the industry (49%).

While last year the industry’s focus was on legislation, now advertising experts are weighing the effects of these changes on accurate measurement.  

“Looking to 2021, as the UK maps out its future from Brexit, the industry will be focused on regaining strength,” said Nick Morley, Managing Director, EMEA, IAS.

“Transparency and brand risk continues to remain a focus in social media and programmatic. This need will be particularly prevalent in Europe, where GDPR, privacy concerns and the phase-out from third-party cookies continues to limit the data available for audience targeting.

“As part of that, AI and Machine Learning will play a crucial role in developing sophisticated technology that is up to near-human comprehension when it comes to contextual and sentiment analysis and detecting fraud. This move towards contextual targeting next year will improve transparency and media quality metrics, which will boost ad spend and maximise ROI for marketers.”

“2020 has proven to be a year of accelerated change in the digital ad industry,” said Tony Marlow, CMO, IAS, “with major shifts that typically evolve over years having transformed the entire ecosystem in just a matter of months.” 

The IAS Industry Pulse Report provides insight into the emerging trends, technologies, opportunities, and priorities that will drive change in digital advertising in 2021.

Download your copy here: 2021 Industry Pulse Report