Article by Paul Fisher. First published in AdNews, October 8 2010

I saw and heard three key themes emerge at the 2010 MIXX Conference in New York last week.
One pleasantly surprising to me and many others is the surge of interest in and positive outlook for the future of online display advertising. Google's campaign to launch its display offering – "Watch this space" - kicked off at what is traditionally the beginning of advertising week here in New York.

Google made some bold predictions, seven in fact. Most significantly, that the global online display advertising market, currently $US 20 billion, will reach $50 billion in the next five years. That's aggressive - two and half times growth in just five years! Google also predicts that 50 per cent of all online display advertising will be bought as cost per view. It is relating this mostly to online video advertising, but the prediction signals challenges for content producing publishers as well as opportunities for advertisers, agencies and publishers and networks.

Real time bidding – RTB – is one of the latest 'crazes' and this will enable advertisers to serve different, tailored creative executions in real time based on what the user/audience is doing at that time. For example, if a person is on a travel site and they are in Sydney, they can be served with a Sydney-based flight offer. If the weather that day in Sydney happens to be rainy or sunny, ads can be served that highlight the weather in that place at that time. Dynamic display ads, served to meet audience profiles and pre-determined environmental factors, can be tailored and served dynamically to individuals.

Mobile was a repeated forecast by many presenters this week including Google. Google believes it will be the first screen for advertising - that is, the first time users interact with advertising in their day will be on a mobile device. With predictions of 10 billion mobile subscribers by 2020 – up from 4.6 billion now – they may be onto something!

Google also forecasts that at least five metrics - some new, some current - would emerge to measure advertising effectiveness beyond the click. Finally! Engagement/interaction metrics, views, conversions and even sentiment analysis will all complement or supersede the click.

The company also predicts that 75 per cent of all online display advertising will be 'socially enabled'. Display ads will be shared and commented on, providing advertisers with feedback about the ads. Social tools to enable this interaction and commentary will become an integral part of every display ad campaign.
Rich media, currently a paltry six per cent of all online display advertising globally, will grow to 50 per cent of all display ads by 2015. Users will be able to tweet live within display ad spaces and you will be able to view the tweet stream about an ad within the same space. True! We even saw a demo.

Google's predictions are great for the industry and when Google turns its attention to a market it believes will grow from $20 billion to $50 billion in five years, you can only think that many businesses will benefit.
All that excitement aside, the second major recurring theme was that the disconnect between creative and media has held display back and has to change. The 'canvas' that online as a medium has presented creatives on which to show their magic just hasn't cut it over the past decade. There needs to be much more understanding of how creative works online, more flexibility with display shapes and placements, and a higher level of engagement between creative, media and publishers as to the possibilities for online display advertising. We heard talk of making online a "beautiful canvas" for creatives and making advertising online 'beautiful'. Bring on the beauty I say!

The third major theme I saw and heard about was multi-screen media consumption. We saw a demonstration by Microsoft of some of their new products. Touch screen technology on wide screens will be prevalent within three years, mobile will be taken to a whole new level with augmented reality and NUI – Natural User Interface – and controllerless motion control for games and other screen interactions will advance and enhance our media and entertainment experiences.

So, with the next wave of technology shaping consumer behaviour, there will be a convergence of devices on which we can have simultaneous and enhanced consumer experiences. We can look forward to more beautiful online display advertising experiences and we will be spending even more time on our mobiles!
I can't wait!

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