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Pathmatics Blog
Ad Intelligence 101 |


The Biggest 2017 Challenges for Digital Advertisers and How to Tackle Them

June 08 2017 by Jordan Kramer

The digital advertising space is constantly changing, yet some challenges remain the same. Have ad blockers presented a problem for you in the past? Well, that’s not going away anytime soon. Ad costs getting a little too high over the last few years? Don’t expect that to change.

Here’s what you can expect as a digital advertiser in 2017, and how you can tackle these problems head-on during the second half of the year.

Growing Ad Blocker Use

In 2016, ad blocker use grew by 30 percent, with roughly 11 percent of internet users relying on the technology. To make matters worse for advertisers, 74 percent of American adblockers leave sites with adblock walls.

So what’s an advertiser to do? Deliver compelling, relevant ad experiences that audiences want to engage with, not block. To find that sweet spot, it helps to not only analyze your own digital efforts, but those of your competitors.

How would I do that? It’s easy with competitive advertising intelligence. You can take a look at the ads brands are running and try out their techniques for yourself. For example, below are top ads for Apple, the top digital advertising spender in March, brought to you by Pathmatics.

PATH_Challenges-Image-1.pngAdvertisers are tracked using Pathmatics’ proprietary software to provide insights like these.


Increased Ad Costs

The cost of digital ads overall has increased by 12 percent within the last two years. Despite desktop display falling by 17 percent, the costs of mobile search, desktop search, mobile display and online video have more than made up for it. Each has risen by between 11 and 13 percent. 

What’s more, advertisers are getting less and less for each dollar spent, as they have to put more money into simply keeping their customers. And when it comes to gaining new customers, the competition is steep. 

So what’s an advertiser to do? Don’t spend your dollars before you know what the competition is up to. Find out exactly where they advertise, how much they spend on each site and where they get the most impressions.

How would I do that? Using advertising intelligence software, you can quickly identify all of this information for each competitor. Whether you want all of your data in a neat, downloadable sheet you can manipulate, or you prefer to visualize your data, you can do it all with the right software. Here are a few examples from Apple’s spend in March.




Priority of Personalization

As we’ve already discussed, people are blocking ads. Why? People don’t want to see ads. In 2017, digital advertisers will need to find a way to make people like ads, or at least dislike them less. The industry needs to focus on the customer experience in a way that most haven’t before, which is through extreme personalization. Getting the right ad to the right person at the right time is paramount. 

In a 2016 report on advertising trends, 55 percent of respondents said ad content wasn’t tailored to them or wasn’t interesting, and 46 percent described ads as too pushy. In fact, 42 percent simply don’t trust marketing messaging at all. That’s where personalization can help.

So what’s an advertiser to do? Get a feel for how your competitors are personalizing content, if at all. Are they nurturing their audience from top to bottom of the funnel? Analyze their advertisements to find out who they are targeting and how. Then, you can create your own personalization strategy based on their top-performing creatives.

How would I do that? Some competitive ad intelligence software allows you to view all of your competitor’s top ads. By studying the timing, spend and content of each ad, you can determine which ads the brand found most successful. See below for some of Apple’s March ads from Pathmatics.


For more information on how to use ad intelligence to benefit your brand, see these related reads:

Related Reads:

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About Author
Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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