The year ahead: a view from the World Federation of Advertisers

WFA logoIn this posting from the World Federation of Advertisers, the global body gazes into the crystal ball and predicts what 2017 may hold for marketers and public affairs in Asia and across the globe.

Rethinking digital investment: What percentage of my ads are being seen? How many are actually human beings? Where are my ads ending up? Am I really getting the ROI I’m told I’m getting?

These are just a few of the factors which will lead big brands to review their digital investment in 2017. We are already seeing indications that brand owners are diverting some of their spend towards what they perceive to be more transparent channels. 2017 could well see more of this.

Programmatic 2.0: With marketers doubling down on programmatic mobile video content, we’ve witnessed the rapid evolution of programmatic models. But with around nine in 10 marketers reviewing these arrangements, we can anticipate that recent changes are just the tip of the iceberg.

A continued trend towards the strengthening of arrangements with partners or adoption of ‘hybrid’ models will define 2017.

Decoupling martech: As clients seek greater transparency from programmatic, we expect to see more and more brands look to set up direct deals to improve control and visibility.

Ownership of data, for example, is a strategically important consideration for many media teams and we expect to see more marketing procurement involvement in setting up direct contracts with tech vendors.

Progressive partnerships and brand mash-ups: Legacy models continue to crumble and incubators, hackathons and other entrepreneurial start-up partnerships have become increasingly de rigueur.

Brand owners looking for progressive partnerships in the pursuit of marketing excellence and innovation will move beyond Brand-Media collaborations towards Brand-to-Brand partnerships. Brands will pool resources, cross-reference data and increasingly co-create – all just to prove that two brains are better than one.

Step up to the plate: We can’t outsource all our most intractable challenges. At the end of the day, the future is in our hands. Declining consumer trust, a lack of sufficiently integrated and creative solutions, ad fraud, media transparency… it’s ultimately incumbent on marketers to take the lead in rectifying these challenges.

The next 12 months will see an increased focus on internal capabilities. Budget holders must acquire and develop the necessary leadership and expertise in order to attain greater understanding, visibility and, ultimately, control over their brands’ destiny.

And for public affairs…….

Taking back control: We reckon 2017 will be the year consumers start to take back control online. New privacy rules coming out of Brussels will require companies to give consumers more information about how they use their data.

The days of blindly ticking boxes will soon be over. Consumers will need to make deliberate decisions about informed consent, meaning brand marketers will need to work hard and find new ways to articulate the value of personalised, targeted advertising.

A new dawn for online ads? All the data show how ad-blocking continues to rise. The online ad experience is far from consumer-friendly. But has the penny finally dropped within industry? WFA is a founding member of the global Coalition for Better Ads.

In 2017, on the basis of online consumer understanding, we’ll put in place standards that we hope might just improve the online experience. We won’t claw back consumers from using ad-blockers overnight but we hope 2017 will be the year when online advertising turns the corner.

AVMS, a Pandora’s box for more ad controls? As part of the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy, European regulators are reviewing the pan-European broadcasting rules contained in the Audio-visual Media Services Directive (AVMS). The aim? To make the rules more flexible and future-proof in light of technological changes.

The danger? NGOs and activist regulators are pushing for stricter controls on food and alcohol marketing as well as marketing to children. 2017 will witness a battle between the those with a predominantly liberalising versus consumer protectionist ambition for the Directive.

Food fight: No one has been under greater pressure in recent years than Big Food. Chile has adopted food marketing restrictions so severe that food manufacturers have had to pull out of the market.

Others are even being sued by the Chilean government for using on-pack characters of appeal to children. France, Peru, UK, Ireland, Norway, Taiwan, South Korea and others have followed suit. Expect more of the same in 2017 with Canadian and Israeli regulators mulling restrictions.

No kidding! The food marketing debate and the relentless uptake by kids of new technologies have led to increased regulatory scrutiny around marketing to children. The way brands connect with children online, particularly on their mobile phones, is sparking a backlash led by WHO amongst others.

France just adopted a ban on advertising around children’s programmes. The AVMSD harbours the potential for further controls. As parents become increasingly anxious about their kids’ online habits, regulators globally will look for statutory solutions.



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