Top Predictions For Digital Ad Landscape In 2021: Rise Of Streaming Accelerates.


The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the change in how Americans work and do business.


In the digital advertising space, an upheaval is underway that has major implications for everything from data collection and streaming services to the retail sector, gaming and esports, among other markets, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.


Most people’s lives are entirely online now, IAB CEO David Cohen said in an opinion piece for Ad Age.


“This impacts everything: entertainment and communication, news and information, workspaces and personal spaces, retail and consumer experiences,” Cohen wrote.


This move to a fully digital existence has pushed the rise of direct-to-consumer brands, Cohen noted, fundamentally changing the way businesses are created, how they succeed or how they fold.


“How people discover brands, how loyalty is built, where and how advertising happens and where and how people buy are all changing,” he said.


IAB is out with a list of its top 10 predictions on changes in the digital advertising space in 2021 published by Ad Age. Among them are:


Streaming accelerates


Streaming has quickly become a dominant force among the major media players as they continue to ramp up investment in top-notch content. Streaming will continue to support the digital ad sector, IAB predicts. “This will not slow in 2021. It will accelerate,” Cohen projected. But there are limits as consumers grapple with which services to buy and how many they can afford.


First-party data


Gone are the days of cookies and third-party identifiers. The shift to first-party data collection directly from the consumer is well underway, IAB said. Publishers, agencies and brands are racing to build first-party data capabilities, according to IAB, and if they don’t, they may not make it to 2022.


Takeover of the virtual marketplace


As the rise of online retailers continues to replace brick and mortars, Cohen predicts media and advertising will spend more time participating in live virtual shopping events and that companies will partner up to host these gatherings. Live shopping will also be part of the experience, he projects.


D & I more important than ever


Diversity and inclusion, “leveraging everyone’s talent and creativity,” will be critical for success, according to IAB. Research has shown D & I, or “multiple viewpoints,” at all levels of a business increase the odds for improved financial growth and team performance. It’s vital for building a business and more important than ever in the year ahead, Cohen said.


Fickle consumers


If a company wants to keep its audience, engaging and creative advertising is “critical,” IAB said. Consumers have so many choices that the best way to keep them, is to understand that and give them the “ideal consumer experience,” which will also differentiate one business from the next, Cohen predicted.


Gaming and esports


“Audiences love sports,” Cohen said. He predicted the gaming industry expansion will continue in 2021, offering advertising opportunities for businesses and creating an area for financial growth “in a big way.”


Nobody could have anticipated or even predicted what has happened in 2020 and it’s not over yet. IAB’s Cohen made a final prediction in his Ad Age opinion piece: “We’ll look back on 2021 as a year when we set the stage for the future.”

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