Ad:Tech Report: Predictions on the Future of Online Advertising

While Ad:Tech was a lively show this year – it was not quite as mobbed as it had been the last few years. You can make your own assumptions about the cause, but for me it is evidence that the marketing budgets of advertising services companies are tightening.

But what is not totally clear is, why. Are recession fears driving reduced revenue expectations for these advertising services companies? Or has the ridiculous number of conferences, seminars, and events finally reached an inflection point? My guess is both. But I am not-so-secretly hoping that we have reached a point where the industry cannot support this many events. My family is openly cheering for it.

Aside from a decline in sponsorship and attendance, here are a few trends we saw last week and predictions for next year:

  1. There is a BIG focus on tools to build ad networks and help publishers manage inventory more effectively. That won’t change in the coming months as this is an on-going issue. More and more user-generated, niche content means more inventory and a greater need to monetize.
  2. Directly related to the point above, next year we are going to see more vertical ad networks at Ad:Tech. It is now cheap and easy to aggregate audience and sell it for a premium. Horizontal ad networks beware.
  3. Social networks weren’t a big part of this year’s show, but there is a huge economy around helping social media properties and their related widgets and applications make money. That will continue.

As for what the future holds in terms of budgets, that remains to be seen. Rising gas prices, the ongoing mortgage mess and a Presidential election will all have influences – both positive and negative – on corporate spending.

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