2012 advertising trends : Data-Based Media Buying, More Contextual Ads and Better Use of Mobile Advertising

New
York: Online advertising took significant leaps forward in 2011, and,
riding a wave of technological advancements and savvy companies looking
at not just click-through rates but actual visitor engagement, should
continue to generate positive brand awareness in 2012, according to
global food advertising network Gourmet Ads.

“For the past four
years, I’ve looked to the future trying to predict what the advertising
landscape has in store for us. While some of my predictions have been
wrong, looking back I think for the most part my advertising trends
predictions have been on the money,” says Benjamin Christie, Gourmet
Ads’ founder and managing director. “This is what I see coming in 2012,
based on our own company’s experience.”

Media Buying with Data:

In
2011, the buzz term by Q2 was DMP (data management platform). “Our
prediction is that digital media buying using some sort of data will
grow significantly in 2012. I think it’s the sole motivation for
advertisers contemplating a move to real-time bidding platforms, i.e.
the fact they can pair up the media buy with data and then buy the
impressions they actually want at scale. Once advertisers have developed
a clear use of their own 1st Party Data sets and can begin to only buy
the impressions they want, we will see continued growth in data.”

Mobile Advertising to Grow:

“During
Q3 in 2011 we started seeing questions on both the advertiser and
publisher sides regarding mobile advertising,” says Christie. “We had
advertisers asking about inventory and publishers asking about demand
(which is always great). When publishers in the food space are asking
our publisher team about mobile advertising because they’re building an
app or dedicated mobile site, then it’s clear 2012 will be all about
mobile.”

Christie expects to see better-quality mobile
advertising in 2012, that goes well above the text ads that are still
the main type of creative used on mobile devices.

Real-Time Bidding Budgets to Increase:

“Real-time
bidding budgets was something I predicted last year and again it’s
among my advertising trend predictions for 2012. Gourmet Ads launched
our private ad exchange in late 2011 and have seen an amazing response
to real-time bidding. As the year came to a close, we spoke to all our
major media buying partners and not one of them said that budgets were
going backwards. Nearly all of them said they will have many more
advertising clients in 2012.”

Branded Recipes:

“During
2011 we saw a major uptick in food manufacturers and some supermarkets
producing branded recipes. I would say nearly every RFP we received
requested some sort of recipe integration as part of the media plan. We
believe this is only the beginning for branded recipes. When people
search for a recipe such as “fondant recipe,” brands with fondant
recipes will be displayed alongside other recipe sites, where consumers
can then click through to the brand’s website for the ingredients,
cooking method and presentation.”

Video Advertising:

If
you don’t think video advertising for the digital advertising industry
was huge in 2011, you haven’t been paying attention. “I recall sitting
in a conference in the fall watching a presentation on the ‘State of the
Industry on Digital Video’ and being amazed by nearly every statistic
that appeared on the screen. This is why I’m adding it as an Advertising
Trend in 2012,” says Christie.

Why the huge recent growth in
video advertising? For one thing, it’s very similar to buying
television, and advertisers and their agencies understand how to buy TV
media. Also, engagement rates are consistently solid (notice I didn’t
mention click-through rates). Creative is rather standard now. Most
video advertisers are using a 15 or 30 second pre-roll video together
with a 300×250 Companion Ad using either VAST or VPAID formats. We’ve
also seen in 2011 more non linear advertising solutions come to market.

“For
Gourmet Ads, video advertising was the fastest growing section of our
business in 2011. We’ve seen huge demand from advertisers and we don’t
think this will subside anytime soon. That said, there are still lots of
challenges for video. Lack of quality video inventory is one. We’ve
worked hard to build a large collection of cooking videos on
Tastydays.com. Secondly is the technical requirements needed to set up a
publisher to accept video pre-roll ads. We have made some great
progress with our own video hosting platform for publishers, but more
education is required.”

The 300×600 Ad Size:

There’s
something to be said for big things, and the 300×600 is one the largest
display ad sizes available, with many calling it the “half page ad
unit.” “Not only is there lots of space to get the message across from a
creative standpoint, but in our testing we’ve seen engagement rates
three to 10 times better than regular display sizes.

“Over the
past six months we’ve slowly started to see more advertisers ask for the
300×600 size and given the great performance of the unit, we believe
that 2012 will see more advertisers using this size.

Vertical Ad Networks will Continue to Grow:

“There
was plenty of consolidation across the digital advertising ecosystem
last year. We saw video companies acquire other video advertising
companies, we saw ad networks acquire other ad networks and major web
portals continue making investments that made sense for them. What we
didn’t see was any acquisitions of vertical ad networks in 2011.

“Many
in the digital press predicted that vertical ad networks will die a
slow death, which really surprises me. From our perspective, they are
very much alive and kicking. We’ve seen amazing growth again this year
and are expecting continued growth in 2012. In talking to my peers at
other vertical ad networks, all report solid growth and revenues.
Gourmet Ads in 2011 strengthened our inventory by investing in
RecipeBridge.com, and I know other networks have been quietly acquiring
more web properties and inventory which they can call their own. So I’m
predicting vertical networks will continue to grow in 2012.”

CPG Brands to Increase Budgets:

“We
saw a number of new advertisers in the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods)
space in 2011 and we’re already seeing new brands at major CPGs
advertising for the first time. That said, we’re hopeful all CPGs start
using online. In 2011 we started to see CPGs run longer campaigns,
compared to previous years where they were just concentrating on Q4,
then going dark for the rest of the year.

“We predict that in
2012 we’re going to see smaller to mid-sized companies move to online,
where they can easily compete with large FMCG (fast-moving consumer
goods)/CPG companies, possibly more so on a localized/geo-targeted
basis.”

Contextual Advertising for Food Advertisers :

“Another
advertising trend we’ve seen from food advertisers in 2011 is the
desire to advertise on pages where recipe content is closely related or
contextually relevant,” Christie says. “We’re predicting this will
continue into 2012 as some advertisers want to only reach the exact
target each and every time.

“An example of contextual advertising
would be a seafood company running a campaign for salmon and only
advertising on pages where salmon was being featured, say in recipes for
smoked or grilled salmon. It’s relatively easy for a single site to
provide this type of targeting, but we’re working on being able to
target contextually against videos with pre-roll video advertising. The
challenge has always been one of lack of contextually targeted inventory
available.

“Ringing in 2012, we predict that companies will
use contextual advertising for part of their media plan in two ways.
First, they will allocate 10-20 percent of the media plan’s budget to
contextual advertising to ensure the plan remains relevant, then use
retargeting and then general run of food. And secondly, they will book
a six- or 12-month media plan to “own” the term, i.e. they will own
“salmon recipes” much like a sponsorship-type investment, changing the
ad creative when required.”

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