At the end of the year, a look back at advertising reveals many trends that are only set to evolve even more. Programmatic advertising, real-time bidding, and mobile advertising are just a few fields that have exploded and come into their own this year.

Here are a few of the trends that have recently grown in popularity:


Programmatic Buying and Real-Time Bidding

All online advertising, particularly display advertising, can be a costly endeavor if you don’t purchase your ads at the right time, place, and price. But the major obstacle to knowing those three things is that they change constantly, based on a host of factors, from the target market value to the inventory quantity.

The solution is real-time bidding, a practice where both advertisers and publishers both rely on an automated system to negotiate the ad buying process. Prices are programmatically determined via real-time supply and demand. While this process used to be controlled by humans and required bulk ad purchases, algorithms have proved to be far more efficient. 

In 2014, real-time bidding systems have proven that they are a necessary part of the online advertising ecosystem. And as we continue to move further into the future, they will continue to revolutionize online advertising and eliminate any need for human-to-human negotiations.

Growth of Mobile

Mobile traffic grew 81% in 2013, and a number of studies show that mobile is the future. According to the CEO of YouTube, for instance, 50% of the site’s traffic is mobile. And with over 1 billion unique visits per month, that means that over 500 million of those visits occur on mobile devices.

By April of 2014, a quarter of all internet visits took place on mobile devices. Advertisers and marketers aren’t missing out on this opportunity. According to Business Insider, mobile advertising is outpacing all other ad mediums combined.

Consolidation Platforms

One result of the explosive growth we’re seeing in the online advertising world is the explosion of ad networks, ad exchanges, and other marketing resources. As more and more ad networks pop up every day, it is becoming more and more difficult for advertisers and publishers to keep up. This is part of the reason that real-time bidding and programmatic ad buying have grown in popularity.

Comprehensive, full-service advertising platforms, such as GrowMobile Self-Serve, offer programmatic mobile media buying, analysis, and optimization from a single dashboard. These comprehensive toolboxes aggregate a number of necessary advertising and marketing functions into a single place, which enhances the benefits of real-time bidding and programmatic media buying.

Other types of marketing toolboxes include monetization platforms, such as Perion CodeFuel’s suite of products. Like GrowMobile Self-Serve, these products aggregate vital monetization and marketing functions, from revenue solutions to promotion solutions and analytics.

In 2015 and beyond, as mobile continues to grow on a global level, we’ll likely see a growing need for these types of comprehensive service platforms.

Personalization, Targeting, and More Mobile

All marketers and advertisers recognize that personalization plays a vital role in the success of their online marketing campaigns. In 2014, as we deal with customers who are becoming more and more desensitized to advertising, we are also making clear strides towards more in-depth customer data that can give marketers an edge. The more data that marketers and advertisers collect, the more successfully they can market to consumers.

Facebook, for instance, uses everything from a person’s web browsing history to tracking software and cookies to track and retarget users. Despite on-and-off privacy concerns over user data, Facebook continues to pioneer cross-device advertising.

And, as most advertisers push towards mobile, we’ll also see marketers take advantage of the additional data that mobile devices bring to the table. While Business Insider suggests that Android beats Apple when it comes to personalization, this may not be the case for very long. New technology, such as smartphone GPS tracking, Apple’s beacon technology, and the upcoming Apple Watch, are all contributing to exceptional targeting and personalization capabilities.

In 2015 and beyond, targeting, retargeting, and personalization will become much more refined, especially as wearable technology evolves and provides data that allows advertisers to create in-depth profiles on their customers.

Advertising has come a long way in 2014. This year’s explosive growth has also seen the emergence of new trends, such as programmatic ad buying and full-service advertising platforms, that will cement themselves and become permanent fixtures in the online advertising industry.