Social Times

5 Predictions: Online Advertising in 2011

NEW YORK, December 17, 2010 —(Social Times)— 'Tis the season for calling the future. We're looking back on a turbulent year. In 2010, the global economy slowly extracted itself from the direct aftermath of the global financial crisis, and the social media space was positively buzzing. Twitter made many bold moves, often at the expense of its ecosystem, and Facebook became greater (in population) to some of the largest countries on the planet. Print continued its slide, and the future of broadcast was, once again, called into question.

With plenty of change around us, it's natural to ask a simple question: what comes next?

Doug Stevenson, the co-founder and CEO of Vibrant Media, has come out with his annual list of five predictions for the coming year. Vibrant delivers in-text advertising to publishers like MSNBC and Gannett for brands that include Microsoft, GM and Unilever... so his thoughts on what to watch in the online advertising space are definitely worth a look.

  1. Context is king: yeah, you read that right – context, not content. In the online ad space, Stevenson believes that "[n]ew contextual capabilities for display advertising will enhance the power and popularity of banner ads, rich media, and video." Further, he sees marketers pushing for "hyper-relevant" dynamic advertising alternatives that will be customized and based on content.
  2. Ads become content: look for the convergence of content and advertising to continue in 2011, with "branded utilities such as listings, live sports scores, weather, search results, Twitter, etc." And, expect your target market to consume longer-form branded video entertainment.
  3. DON'T follow me: remember the "do not call list"? Well, expect an online equivalent to gain popular support. As privacy becomes increasingly important, Stevenson notes, "Government intervention or increased self-regulation will lead marketers to new, safe alternatives with broader public acceptance." He adds, "Brands will engage consumers through clear, opt-in group-purchasing technologies leveraged for direct marketing."
  4. Fewer online ad networks: mergers and acquisitions are likely on the agenda for 2011, and this consolidation will make it easier for buying and selling to occur. Stevenson explains, "The industry needs to simplify and become more coherent for marketers. Wall Street will take a vigorous interest in ad technology companies as the industry matures."
  5. Advertising will become more social: Stevenson believes that you'll find "like" buttons "in everything from advertising to content." Device applications (e.g., for the iPad) will "drive new platforms for interactions" among consumers, publishers and advertisers – the entire advertising supply chain. And, we'll share more: Stevenson says, "New approaches are also seeing the integration of social-sharing and social recommendation functionality, adding value to content through utilities such as toolbars, which are beginning to take off for publishers."

So, what's at stake in all this? According to eMarketer, online ad spending is expected to grow 10.5 percent a year in 2011, followed by double-digit growth on an annual basis through 2014, at which point the sector will reach $40.5 billion. So, there are some pretty good reasons to make sure advertisers and publishers get this right!

About Vibrant
Vibrant is a world leader in contextual technology aligning billions of words across the internet with relevant video, information, tools, and advertising. With over 4,500 premium publishers, reaching more than 200 million unique users per month (comScore, September 2010), Vibrant gives top brand marketers the opportunity to deliver highly targeted advertisements within premium Web content and offers publishers premium editorial tools to re-circulate users throughout their websites. Vibrant works with top brand advertisers such as Microsoft, General Motors, Unilever, Sainsbury’s and Hewlett Packard. The company was founded in 2000 and has offices in London, New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, Hamburg, Munich and Dusseldorf. Vibrant's rapid growth has been recognised by the Inc. 500 and Deloitte Fast 50 lists, and in the UK: Media Momentum 2006, 2007 and 2008 and Sunday Times Tech Track in 2004 and 2005. For more information, visit:,,,