​There is no doubt that over the past decade there has been a phenomenal shift within the traditional marketing mix as digital advertising has become pivotal to many advertisers’ marketing strategies. In fact, it is forecasted that over 50% of the £15.7bn advertising spend in the UK this year will be allocated to digital advertising, outspending all other traditional marketing channels combined.

Of all the digital advertising channels, display advertising has stolen the show, having seen the fastest growth over the past two years.

We sat down with Net Media Planet CEO, Sri Sharma, to discuss the key drivers propelling display advertising’s rapid growth in popularity and the opportunities this presents.

Programmatic Growth through Video

“Recognised as one of the most promising digital advertising formats available online video, advertising is expected to grow more than 25% every year for the next 5 years, and programmatic video is leading the way,” states Sharma. According to eMarketer in just one year’s time, 40% of all online video spend will come from programmatic sources.

This is due in part to the increase in consumer appetite for video. In 2015 there is an expected 9% increase in video uploads and engagements.

In previous years, purchasing online video programmatically was limited due to scarce inventory availability, but the tables are turning this year as Google and Channel 4 are progressing the availability of quality programmatic video inventory to advertisers.

Google recently launched Google Preferred, a programme allowing select partners access to bid on the top 5% of YouTube video inventory. This inventory is constantly changing, and represents the most shared, viewed and commented on videos available on YouTube at that moment.

Channel 4 has recently introduced 'All 4' their free on-demand service, previously known as 4OD. This new servicewill offer advertisers the opportunity to buy first party data, and bid programmatically for advertising spots on their on-demand shows.

With this new high quality, brand safe inventory which offers transparent tracking, such as view through rates, expect to see advertisers bringing more of their branding TV budget to digital.

Facebook Steals a Charge

The next step for display advertising is extending its capabilities across multi-device and in-store interactions. Currently, the technology for tracking online marketing campaigns across devices and in-store is in its infancy, reliant upon multiple tracking technologies and complex set-ups.

This year will see a demand for improving this technology, opening up new opportunities for display advertising. Facebook’s DSP, Atlas, has taken the first steps to making this a reality. Atlas’ scaled solution allows advertisers to track and re-target across device and in-store.

But Atlas is only one part of what Facebook are doing. They are also improving advertising formats and targeting within their social media platform. These new intelligent ad formats and targeting capabilities means advertisers will see an increase in their campaigns’ performance. Stronger performance will lead to an increase in spend on Facebook.

All of these improvements and products have helped to make Facebook the fastest growing ad platform with a growth of 15.6% versus Google’s 1.8%. We can expect to see a lot more from them in the upcoming year.

Richness of Creative

It is time for advertisers to update their creative because the future is all about rich new formats. Rich creative formats such as dynamic ads; expandable mobile ads; and native advertising, will drive online display advertising engagement.

“We can speak all day about programmatic and its ability to find the right audience however; users will often become disengaged with creative they see over and over again,” states Sharma. “There is an importance in trying to find new creative formats that will drive user engagement.”

Dynamic creative is a relatively new technology, bringing together the best in personalisation and audience segmentation. Not only does dynamic creative allow advertisers to quickly change messaging which saves time and money, but they are also incredibly effective in turning window shoppers into purchasers. This creative format will alleviate much of the hassle that getting banners designed can cause, and will offer advertisers an easier way to manage retargeting campaigns, causing it to be an extremely valuable asset in the upcoming year.

Expandable creative is the answer to all advertisers’ mobile frustrations. This creative format drives mobile engagements, and fits the smaller screen sizes in a far more effective way.

While native advertising has been around for years, expect to see it more within the programmatic space. It is a format that pushes content into high relevance and will bring programmatic advertising to the next level.

Expect standard banner ads to get superseded by these new rich creatives, and programmatic native advertising will open up whole new growth within online display advertising.

Wearables Meet Display

Over the past year we have seen an incredible number of wearables released onto the market including, Google Glass, Fitbit Flex, Pebble Steel, Motorola Moto 360, Samsung Gear Live, LG G Watch R, and most significantly the Apple Watch. According to Samsung, within the UK last Christmas alone, over 1 million wearable devices were sold with a forecasted spend of £104.7 million, and with Apple Watch’s recent release there was an estimated 957,000 pre-ordered on the first day it was available.

We have seen the first advertiser using wearable technology to engage consumers. Kenneth Cole incorporated a Google Glass application into its marketing approach. The app promotes their new cologne and encourages men to be more ‘gentlemanly’. Users are prompted to take photos of themselves completing good deeds every day for 21 days.

In 2015 wearable technology will become more mainstream in large part due to the Apple Watch, and with that advertising opportunities will emerge leveraging new and unique data signals. Fitads is one of the first ad networks that is dedicated to the wearable health space. The platform is a mix of programmatic advertising and direct seller channels for health apps. It takes advantage of the milestone and achievement functions within most health apps. We can expect to see much more of this in 2015.

As online display advertising spend increases, technology solutions will become available at an ever increasing rate. This growth is pushing innovation in the industry and things that we never thought were possible two years ago are becoming a part of our everyday digital marketing campaigns.