The future of advertising technology

This study, for Ofcom, assessed the future of advertising technology over the next 10 years.

The advertising market is undergoing rapid technology-driven change, impacting on the communications sectors that Ofcom regulates. This change has been led by digitisation of content and innovation in advertising technologies and applications on the internet (behavioural targeting, personalisation, new ad formats). Time spent by consumers on the internet has increased and advertising budget has followed. This has meant that:

  • Media have become more fragmented, making it more difficult for advertisers to achieve reach. There is an opportunity for better aggregation across media owners and platforms.
  • Measurement on all platforms is imperfect and audience fragmentation is making it more so. This leads to inefficiency in the way that advertising is placed in media.
  • Advertising formats developed for new platforms (e.g. mobile, games) are nascent. There may be an opportunity to improve on them.

These issues could potentially be addressed by technology changes, but the degree of change will be affected by consumer, commercial and regulatory factors. To assess the implications for the industry, Plum undertook a technology review, conducted interviews with 44 industry participants, carried out original consumer research, and held an industry round-table with the Internet Advertising Bureau.