Five Trends To Watch For In 2017


After a tumultuous 2016 where “transparency” and “media kickbacks” made headlines, marketers can expect a more understated and conservative approach from multinational media agencies. In saying that, the traditional media model is set to experience a real shake-up; so much so that it may never be quite the same again.

Let’s take a look at the top five trends expected to hit the Australian media landscape in 2017:

1. A rise in self-serve

Adobe’s acquisition of Tubemogul last December is evidence of the ambition of MarTech companies in providing full-service end-to-end solutions to their clients (i.e. consolidating media execution with data services). Adobe is the first of its kind to bundle in execution, and we now expect rivals like Oracle and Salesforce to follow suit. Either way, the deal is predicted to raise the profile of self-serve on the marketing director’s agenda, which in turn, has the potential to agitate the traditional agency sector.

2. Growth of ‘offline’ programmatic

While the launch of programmatic TV is still a year away in Australia, programmatic audio will begin to gain traction in the coming months. It’s been a long time coming; Triton Digital and Southern Cross Austereo launched a programmatic exchange in 2015, and just recently in December last year, Commercial Radio Australia appointed AudioNET as the industry partner responsible for automating the radio buying process. AudioNET is currently testing their newly created software that allows agencies to interface with radio stations’ traffic management systems. Assuming all goes well, the system is expected to be in full operation by Q3.

AudioNET’s next step will be to explore the ability of the system to achieve data segmentation, with the view to introduce programmatic trading down the track. Essentially, while there are already media vendor specific programmatic offerings well positioned to take off in 2017, an industry-wide approach won’t be in full swing until late 2018 at best.

3. The great battle for programmatic dollars

Amazon, Facebook and Google this year are set to go head to head in a battle for programmatic ad dollars, giving marketers and publishers more options.

It’s worth noting these three tech titans share a combined market cap of $1.21 trillion globally, but only Google is firmly entrenched among marketers’ and publishers’ automated ad deals via its DoubleClick empire. Of course, the spectacular rise of an ad-tech tactic called “header bidding” has Amazon and Facebook smelling opportunity.

Each platform is looking to appeal to advertisers and publishers differently with brand new offerings. Google will move to levels of transparency that until now, have only ever existed in marketers’ dreams. Amazon will offer publishers a trove of data about their users, and Facebook will continue to build its Facebook Audience Network to reach users outside of the platform. One thing is for sure; more competition amongst the web’s greatest powers can only mean good things are to come.

4. The digital reality check

There is no denying we live in a content cluttered era. An ever-increasing amount of content is being created by more and more sources; all of it is fighting for our attention. Ultimately, our “spend” of attention and engagement needs to be measurable with a consistent and transparent methodology suitable to multiple platforms. In 2017, we’ll see significant investment in digital metrics and accountability.

Facebook and Google have set a precedence for reporting metrics. Other players, like Snapchat with its youthful audience and authentic content already offers several benefits to marketers, but the launch of its new API ad platform is where the biggest opportunity lies. Recently, the Financial Times introduced an advertising buying model based on an attention metric (that is, the length of time an ad appears in front of targeted audiences). Moves like these represent an important sea change, where media buying and KPIs are intrinsically linked.

5. Big change to agency dynamics

2016 saw many media agencies called out on unethical practices that led to distrust between agencies and brands the world over. Disruption to the agency landscape is expected to further escalate in 2017.

Big brands are rallying for change to agency dynamics by actively moving away from traditional models and instead, enlisting support from niche agencies (like Alchemy One) that guarantee smarter and more innovative work. Traditional media agencies must adapt to the changing needs of clients and the way in which they are spending their media dollars, or risk losing it all.

In a new frontier for client-agency relationships, McDonald’s recently appointed Omnicom in North America signaling two ‘firsts’ by way of structure and remuneration. First, the deal enables McDonald’s to call on a range of specialist agencies from within the larger holding company. Second, Omnicom is paid based on performance.

Told you we’re in for a shake-up! The media landscape is fast evolving with significant changes already underway and ready to take full effect in 2017. Nimble marketers and agency models that are able to transition in line with new developments will flourish, so don’t get left behind.