What’s the UK’s biggest issue in digital for 2017?

04/11 By IAS Team

In December 2016, we surveyed over 130 digital advertising professionals, from agencies, brands, ad tech companies, to publishers about 2016 trends and where they see digital advertising heading in 2017. We asked questions such as: what was their  biggest challenge in digital for 2017, and what are the most anticipated tech advances and more. The results from the survey provide us with valuable  insight into the successes of 2016, and forecasted the trends for 2017.

Back in December 2016, ad blocking was deemed to be biggest issue for 2017 with 20% of respondents from agencies listing this as their number one concern, alongside attribution, which came in second with 18%. It’s no surprise that ad blocking tops the list as it was the hot topic at the end of last year and raised numerous hypotheses as to why people chose to block ads. Much of the discussion ended last year however, with the realisation that the advertising industry as a whole needs to work together to deliver engaging, relevant content in their advertising, that’s main aim was not to hit a viewability number, so the ad was not intrusive to the reader. All would help in turn to reduce the number of people installing ad blockers

Interestingly, respondents from brands and networks voted programmatic TV as the channel that offers the biggest opportunity to digital advertising in 2017, whilst publishers voted for channels and formats where they saw their audiences engaging more, on mobile and native.

Overall, most respondents voted viewability as the crucial aspect of media quality, gaining 38% of votes, followed by ad fraud at 33%, and brand safety coming in third place with 24%. After the intense media scrutiny in the first quarter of 2017 of the latest concerns around brand safety online,  if this survey was taken today we would likely see these results reversed.

Looking to the most anticipated tech advance of 2017, brands, agencies, publishers and DSPs all voted that cross-device targeting offered the greatest area for advancement giving you some insight as to what businesses will be focusing on this year.

Another hot topic for 2016 was viewability, specifically the move towards transacting on viewability and advertisers demanding greater viewability thresholds for their campaigns. 61% of publishers that we surveyed thought that transacting on viewability should be common practice, yet only 25% said that they were looking at different ways of transacting on viewability and over a third, 37.5%, said they would not be looking to transact on viewability in 2017. It will be interesting to see whether UK publishers do make moves this year towards transacting due to increased pressure from advertisers and agency holding groups, however our survey results would suggest that publishers are still wary of taking the first step.

The results of our year-end survey provide valuable insight into what agencies, publishers, brands and technology companies will be focusing on throughout 2017. It is particularly interesting to see that brand safety was ranked after viewability and ad fraud as the most important aspect of media quality. Fast forward to April 2017 and brand safety is the hot topic for everyone in the industry. This shift in opinion highlights the ever changing nature and complexities that lie within the digital advertising industry.