7 Digital Advertising Trends that Could Change Your Approach

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Krista Neher

Nov 22 2022

Digital Advertising Trends You Can’t Ignore

Digital advertising is still an evolving aspect of digital marketing. While it isn’t new anymore, industry norms, guidelines, and best practices are always emerging. And smart marketers always pay attention to digital advertising trends.

The IAB (iab.com) is the industry standard for digital advertising and they set guidelines for advertisers and publishers to create more harmony in the digital advertising trends and industry.


Programmatic advertising refers to the automation of digital advertising. Programmatic advertising ad suppliers or publishers who have advertising inventory are automatically matched with advertisers, or buyers of ads instantly.

Before the rise of programmatic advertising, most ads were purchased based on negotiations for a set price. For example, a baby brand may choose to advertise on BabyCenter.com for a set price.

With programmatic, the process is automated, which allows advertisers to maximize the impact that they generate from their ad budget. For example, an advertiser wanting to target baby content can now automatically run ads on thousands of baby sites for the best price possible.

Facebook and Google ads are purchased programmatically, as are ads purchased through most online ad platforms.

Ad Fraud and Viewability

Ad fraud and viewability are popular topics in digital advertising circles, and they highlight some of the challenges that advertisers have with digital.

Ad Fraud is primarily an issue in display advertising, as ads appear all over the Internet on different platforms without a lot of control. Essentially it happens when publishers create false impressions to generate revenue from advertisers. So, advertisers are paying for ads that people didn’t see.

Over the years, much ad fraud has been detected and advertising platforms have more controls in place to minimize this. That being said, there are still issues where millions of ad dollars are spent on false impressions.

Ad Viewability is when advertisers want to make sure that their ad was in view by a human for a reasonable amount of time (usually a few seconds). This issue has plagued digital advertising since the beginning.

The challenge is that just because an ad load on a page doesn’t mean that the requirements have been met. Ad platforms have started to crack down on this more and more, offering only viewable impressions as inventory, but with so many different sites and placements, it is difficult to monitor.

These issues are mostly limited to display ads since search, social, and video ads happen on more controlled platforms. Most advertisers with small spending (in the tens of thousands or less) won’t need to focus on these issues. Bigger advertisers who invest heavily in display often use software and third-party tools to monitor and mitigate ad fraud and viewability issues.

Brand Safety

Brand safety has emerged as an issue as businesses want to understand what content their ad appears around. In television, we often hear about advertisers “pulling” their ads from offensive shows.

Online advertisers want the same amount of control about where their ads show up. With many advertising channels like Facebook and YouTube relying on user-generated content, it is difficult for businesses to control where their ads are displayed.

Advertisers have been horrified to find that their ads are displayed on a video promoting white supremacy for example.

This tends to be an issue more relevant for big brands, and ad platforms have adopted technologies and controls to minimize this risk. Advertisers can have more control over where their content displays if they are concerned about this.

Down-Funnel Ad Objectives

Digital advertising platforms are evolving and one of the things that we are seeing is that there’s more focus on tracking and optimizing for on-site behavior and conversions.

Meaning, that instead of running ads where you pay for and optimize for clicks, you can now run ads where you pay for and optimize for on-site sales or email signups. Advertising platforms are using algorithms and on-site tracking to find the people who are most likely to convert and are targeting ads at them.

Personalization and Customization

Personalization and customization are emerging as opportunities for marketers to run more effective ads. The idea is to create ads that are customized or personalized to the specific person seeing them.

For example, a business selling custom cakes could create one ad targeting women who are planning a wedding and another targeting moms who are planning birthday parties. Even though the product is the same, the ads can be targeted differently for different audiences.

In the example below, you can see how a restaurant can choose different targeting based on their objectives.

Mobile Surpasses Desktop

While this argument isn’t new or a trend, many businesses have not yet adapted their strategy to one mobile-first. Mobile is over twice the size of the desktop and is projected to continue to grow quickly.

This should not be surprising as time spent on mobile devices is growing dramatically. This means you need to focus on every aspect of your digital advertising strategy. From the ads to your website experience, make sure it is made for mobile first.

The Emergence of Big Players

When it comes to digital ads, Facebook and Google are by far the biggest players in the space. Google accounts for about 40% of digital ad revenue and Facebook accounts for around 20%.

While Google represents significantly more market share vs. Facebook, the Google ads are run on three distinct platforms. Example: YouTube, Display, and Search.

With these players making up so much of digital ad spending, businesses focus their efforts on them and replicate on others as appropriate. To give you an idea, Google Search ads can be uploaded into Bing Search Ads to automatically replicate the strategy.

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