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Digital’s top priorities for 2020


Market Overview
Market Overview

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Integral Ad Science lifts the lid on its Industry Pulse Report 2020 to explore the opportunities, priorities and challenges in the year ahead


At the beginning of each new year Integral Ad Science (IAS) survey the digital advertising industry to see what the key trends, technologies, and challenges media professionals expect to drive change across the industry that coming year. 

For our latest piece of research, the Industry Pulse Report 2020, we surveyed digital media professionals to find out their key priorities, most troubling challenges and the trends set to top the digital advertising agenda in 2020.

The feedback we get in the survey is key to how we innovate, so for me, it’s one of the most important pieces of research we do each year.


The year of Mobile. Again

The report reveals mobile will be the dominant media force in 2020, cited by 87% of respondents as their number one priority for 2020. Closely followed by digital video at 86%, this shift highlights industry efforts to align with changing consumer habits and the growing appetite for on-the-go, short-form content.

Study findings, however, show an awareness that increased spending could also trigger a rise in ad fraud. With two-fifths (40%) of media professionals considering mobile in-app display and video formats among the most vulnerable to fraudulent activity, effectively optimising mobile campaigns against malicious attacks will be equally important in the year ahead.


Addressing challenges in 2020

With data privacy named as the primary media challenge of 2020 by over two-fifths (44%) of respondents, it’s not surprising that an overwhelming majority also foresee greater use of contextual advertising. More than eight in 10 (82%) predict context-centric ads will be the biggest media trend of 2020.

Similarly, strong concern around the difficulties of assessing campaign return on investment (ROI) is reflected in a determination to leverage tactics and solutions that directly address the need for precise insight into advertising performance: 61% plan to implement campaign ROI evaluation tools, while 59% intend to apply viewability measurement.


Programmatic priorities begin to shift

When it comes to programmatic technology, emphasis is moving from media quality assurance to advertising effectiveness. Over half (52%) of respondents cite targeting the right audience as their top programmatic advertising challenge, with inability to reach desired performance goals coming in second (45%). Previously a top concern for automated advertising, anxiety around viewability and brand safety has reduced with the report showing those factors are now listed as challenges by only one-third (34% and 32% respectively) of our respondents.


Social media retains an irresistible draw

Despite continued conversations around transparency, social media remains a vital element of digital campaigns. While just under three-quarters (73%) feel platforms could provide greater clarity around brand risk levels and almost two-thirds (63%) want more openness into viewability measurement, this anxiety hasn’t reduced desire to invest in social media. In fact, concern has significantly fallen over the last year, with only 35% of UK-specific respondents stating that a lack of transparency will negatively affect 2020 social media spend, in contrast to 70% in the 2019 IAS Industry Pulse Report. 


The on-going fraud evolution

Results point to positive progress in the fight against online ad fraud. In comparison to the average global fraud rate for desktop display (11.7%), more than half (55%) of respondents believe their ad campaigns experience lower levels of fraud exposure. Further analysis broken down in the full report, however, suggests this enthusiasm may be partly due to limited understanding. Although knowledge of common types of ad fraud such as bots, falsely represented sites, and malware is high, with over 70% of respondents claiming familiarity, the wider ad fraud toolkit is less well recognised.

By Katie Grosvenor, Head of Sales, Buy Side

Integral Ad Science

Integral Ad Science (IAS) is the global leader in digital ad verification, offering technologies that drive high-quality advertising media. IAS equips advertisers and publishers with both the insight and technology to protect their advertising investments from fraud and unsafe environments as well as to capture consumer attention, and drive business outcomes. Founded in 2009, IAS is headquartered in New York with global operations in 18 offices across 13 countries. IAS is part of the Vista Equity Partners portfolio of software companies. For more on how IAS is powering great impressions for top publishers and advertisers around the world, visit

Posted on: Friday 28 February 2020