Gartner Finds 5 Technologies Driving Digital Advertising
July 27, 2020
inaugural Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report reveals five
technologies that will have the greatest impact on marketers ability to
respond and adapt to emerging trends.
Among the 19 technologies represented in the Gartner Hype Cycle for
Digital Advertising 2020 report (see Figure 1), marketers should keep an
eye on advanced supply-side bidding, ad blocking, identity resolution,
brand safety, and ad verification and viewability in particular.
“Significant changes to the marketplace, such as cookie obsolescence and
dominance by Facebook and Google, combined with a rising level of
consumer mistrust in ‘big tech’ have created a tipping point for digital
advertising,” said Colin Reid, senior director analyst at Gartner for
Marketers. “These changes in the ad tech market will cause some existing
digital advertising sectors and established supply chains to wither and
Increased regulatory scrutiny, continued media supply chain disruption
and volatile consumer spending are three emerging trends that will have
the greatest impact on marketers’ ability to implement effective and
scalable advertising capabilities.
Figure 1. Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising, 2020
Advanced Supply-Side Bidding (ASSB)
Demand for ASSB – techniques that allow publishers to solicit bids from
multiple sources to fill an available ad spot – is a clear signal that
removing barriers to open competition in media markets can yield major
economic benefits for buyers and sellers. Marketers should expect
continued innovation and pressure to be directed at similar attempts to
level the playing field by addressing impediments to a less concentrated
However, the impact of regulatory developments on ASSB remains
unpredictable, especially in regard to curtailing of trade in targeting
data for advertising. As programmatic ad markets take the brunt of a
pandemic-induced recession’s impact on media budgets, it will likely
take ASSB at least three more years to reach the Plateau of
Over the last few years, ad blocking – the use of software to remove or
filter the delivery of content identified as advertising from material
published on the internet – has gained significant traction. However,
attention and hysteria surrounding ad blocking have been recently
eclipsed by concerns about the demise of third-party cookies and the
chilling impact of COVID-19 on the digital ad market.
Underlying issues with ad blocking are still very much unresolved and
unlikely to stabilize within the next two years. In the meantime,
marketers must look to better balance customer choice and engagement
with increasing demands for transparency.
Identity Resolution (IDR)
IDR holds great promise for marketers as they shift their sights to
customer retention goals, do more with a stagnant or cut budget and
apply first-party data to marketing programs. However, the technology is
among the most active battlegrounds in a volatile power struggle between
business interests, privacy regulators, and the largest digital platform
providers – with consumers caught somewhere in the middle. Privacy
obstacles put tremendous pressure on IDR practices, leading to its
position on this year’s Hype Cycle – the Trough of Disillusionment.
The future of IDR depends heavily on standardization – or supporting a
universal user token compliant with consent requirements – which has
been a rocky road. Marketers that altogether abandon efforts at using
IDR to understand and communicate with customers, and those that rely on
weak enforcement or sketchy privacy workarounds to obtain personal data,
all risk negative impact.
safety has a renewed focus as of late, as marketers pay more attention
to the context in which their ads appear. Previously included in the
profile for ad verification, brand safety has been separated based on
its unique requirements and trajectory, as it is measured and managed
separately from fraud and viewability.
As publishers evolve their ability to filter content, marketers will
have a more reliable and direct way to manage their ad buys. However, as
influencer marketing gains more investments, marketers will need to more
closely scrutinize the process of influencer selection and look to
technology to provide an efficient and reliable way to manage campaigns.
Ad Verification and Viewability
Ad verification and viewability – a fraud-prevention technology that
verifies humans, not bots are the source of impressions and clicks – has
emerged from the Trough of Disillusionment into the Slope of
Enlightenment due to the recent trend of provider acquisitions by
Marketers investing in digital advertising have a great deal to lose
from ad fraud and viewability violations. Verification will be a
necessary part of the settlement systems of buyers and sellers as the
category moves toward maturity. Marketers will need to institute an
approach to ad verification and viewability to ensure they can take full
advantage of it and have confidence in the investment.