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Predictions 2019: The year ahead for ad tech, by Ayman Haydar

MMP’s Ayman Haydar asks if 2019 could finally be the year programmatic and associated technologies finally come into their own

By Ayman Haydar, CEO of MMP Worldwide

With the rise of digital presence in businesses, we are prone to seeing strategies sculptured around two factors: control and transparency. These two factors ignite the need to dig deeper into the world of adtech and martech. Technology has revolutionised how businesses operate and hunger for understanding how tech works is rising. 2018 was a year of big changes in media, advertising and technology, where we have seen mergers, acquisitions and controversies.

To summarise 2018:

1. Transparency was enforced, with ads.txt becoming the catalyst for any spend decision.

2. Data protection laws affected strategies and business, with GDPR becoming the headlines of the arena.

3. Video expenditure has exponentially grown, with budgets being removed from walled gardens (Google, Facebook and Amazon).

4. Creativity and programmatic are getting along perfectly well.

5. The IAB GCC was finally formed after long years of hard work.

I don’t like to always compare the MENA region with other markets; each operates differently and has different approaches to the industry. But one thing is for sure: all markets operate similarly in adopting the latest trends and metrics that we use daily in our activities. Global technologies, with their presence in almost every market, have played a significant role in unifying trends.

Markets within the MENA region have massively improved and worked on their digital infrastructure in the last two years, which has facilitated transactions and meant spends have exponentially increased.

In 2019, the economy will play the lead role in speeding up the ad tech transformation and evolution. There are a lot of plans and I am positive that things will start shaping up in the coming year. I believe the following will be the highlights of the industry:

1. More transactions through private market places (PMPs) – PMPs have proved to be
the only reliable mode of buying to ensure
brand safety, transparency and accurate measurement.

2. Putting audience data into use – Audience targeting was being spoken about but few companies were building their audiences. It is time to put this into real use and show its efficiency. Few buyers pay for the data used when most should make it a must. Audience data has proven to enhance performance and increase the value of each dollar spent.

3. Publishers under the spotlight – With measurement tools and metrics being a condition for campaigns to run, publishers cannot but follow the guidelines that will mark them ready and safe to host brands’ content and advertisements. Those tools will analyse their source of traffic, ad placements, viewability, invalid traffic, etc. 2019 will
be the year publishers will have more understanding about how the ecosystem works and its advantages.

4. Talent – The MENA region will attract more talent to put the puzzle together, as we are low on digital expertise.

5. More in-depth education – We will go beyond the 101 courses into the more complex methods of how the digital transaction cycle should be. Knowledge of how this ecosystem works beyond just buying and selling will show the real power and potential of ad tech. The digital market cannot sustain itself without uplifting its knowledge. In this industry the devil is in the details as it keeps evolving on a daily basis. The IAB GCC and similar projects will be great at taking this further. 

Why don’t we embrace and just push this evolution, as at the end of the day we all want to achieve our goals. In the advertising world, ad tech will save you money (through transparency and measurement) and make
you money (through performance, efficiency and data).