Three Digital Marketing Trends for 2017

Programmatic Advertising Expansion

Programmatic advertising is a rapidly growing avenue in digital marketing. The IAB estimates that by 2018, 80% of advertisers and advertising agencies will use some form of programmatic. So, it is growing more important to understand what programmatic advertising is.

  • Simply put – it is the use of automated systems and comprehensive data collected from 3rd Party Data Management Platforms (DMPs) to make media buying decisions without human interference.

However, this does not mean that programmatic is a “set it and forget it” type of advertising. The advertiser still needs to identify and develop their target audience. Once established, programmatic leverages the created target audiences by connecting 3rd party data and triggers when a match is identified across multiple digital applications.  Content can include custom banner ads and videos. These will allow you to interact with potential customers, in turn allowing you to gauge the optimal ROI and response for your ad spend.

As most programmatic platforms use specialized tracking tags, reporting is very comprehensive. These tags are designed to track the user’s experience and behavior through their online activity. This data will help you optimize your ad content as well as simplify A/B testing to better determine what your target audience is more likely to respond to.

Out Stream Video Advertising

Out Stream video advertising is a new ad format designed to create a better user experience. This enhanced UX can lead to a better return on an ad spend.  This is how Our Stream differs from current video ad formats:

  • Out Stream Video Ads allows publishers to show video ads outside of the actual video players on websites. For example, the ad may appear in between content paragraphs or sections in text line breaks or in a corner or part of the website where the content is not being directly viewed by the user.

The main reason that 77% of digital advertising agencies report that Out Stream video will be an integral part of their marketing mix is a decreased invasiveness of the ad delivery. By not blocking a user’s desired content, they are not forced to read or view the ad prior to entering their desired site, creating a more positive experience for the user.  Out Stream video also gives the ad a more pleasing aesthetic within the website it is placed in.

Additionally, this new format can also save advertisers money on their ad spend.  This is because the content won’t begin to play until it is in the view of the user. Once more than 50% of the video is no longer visible to the user, the video discontinues. Programmatic platforms charge by the amount of time a video is watched, so having video playback stop once the user has scrolled passed the ad can greatly reduce cost.

Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation is an approach that improves personalization of content marketing with its audience. By combining CRM Data (Customer Relationship Management) with marketing channels, this approach creates behavior email marketing campaigns and personal ad content.

The following are examples of marketing automation:

  • User visits a specific page on a website or completes an action on a website. Subsequently, the user receives a message via Email, ChatBot, Text Message, etc. that relates to that page or sends the requested information to that user. The content in that message is specific and focused because it already identified user intent based on the page visit or information collected in the form submission. When the user gets this follow up content it speaks to them directly and is more personal which greatly increases the chances that the user will ultimately complete the desired conversion (whether that be signing up for regular communications, making a purchase, requesting estimates/quotes, or scheduling a service).
  • User information is collected in a CRM by form submission on websites or voluntary submission via offline channels, apps, and other advertising methods. That data is then used to create an Email Marketing Campaign to distribute specialized content to those users that can be identified. They can be categorized into specific focus groups that are interested in one specific product/service, or that data can be used to launch an overall announcement to all users collected in the customers CRM system. The latter is often used when introducing brand new services, products, divisions, or major changes to a business.
  • Individual contact information is collected as a response for more information about an event (online or offline) that a business is holding at a later date. During that time a marketing automation campaign can be initiated via email, social media, and other communication devices (apps and text) to send out reminders about the event, updates to that event, and even start to promote future events that those users may be interested in based on CRM Data collected. This helps ensure users remember and attend the function while creating buzz for any future events in preparation that the user enjoyed their experience and will sign up or attend the next meeting.

To implement marketing automation, an agency specialist would work with various departments to create the content marketing piece. That content would then be built into the automation platform and assigned to designated users in the CRM system. Ideally, the automation platform also stores the CRM data for linear connectivity and better transference of data. The content would then be scheduled for distribution based on either a timeline or a one-time ‘blast’ to the target audience.

As agencies continue to leverage personalized and engaging contents to reinforce their brands, content marketing and marketing automation should continue to grow in popularity among advertisers.


These digital marketing trends appear poised to continue well beyond 2017. As agencies look to maximize their advertising ROI while decreasing their cost per acquisition, finding the right digital marketing avenue can be very important.  While advertisers, publishers, and platforms continue to enhance the user experience, it is becoming easier for agencies to leverage unique content to specific target audiences. This content, along with specified targeting, makes digital marketing an effective way to engage countless prospective customers. Just remember, although many of the marketing trends lean toward automation, your agency account managers are still an integral part of your marketing mix in the development of the strategy that will be implemented online.

James Van Horn specializes in paid ad placement strategy for a wide range of clients, including B2B & B2C businesses. He manages all aspects of digital marketing for the agency including advertising mediums such as Google, Bing, Social Media Platforms, Programmatic, Video, Display, & E-commerce Advertising Platforms.

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