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Display ad spending's potential disruptors: What's worth the buzz?

Digital display is a huge advertising category encompassing static images, rich media (e.g., interactive banners, video, digital audio), sponsorships, and native placements like promoted content and in-feed units on social networks and news sites.

With a category as broad as display advertising, any emerging trend is bound to have ad spending implications. A handful of hot topics will have varied levels of influence on display ad spending this year.

Minimal implications in the next year

The 5G revolution: The mainstreaming of 5G promises radical changes in the mobile landscape with higher-quality multimedia content delivered to more devices at faster speeds, allowing for more interactive, immersive, and personalized advertising. It’s possible faster wireless connections will encourage more video viewing, causing in-stream and pre-roll advertising to surge.

5G augmented reality (AR) is likely where the first and most noticeable changes will occur. It already plays a noteworthy role on social networks with filters and lenses. As 5G penetration increases, AR capabilities will expand. AR ad formats will eventually become more cost effective and, thus, more common—but not in the next year.

The metaverse: As a concept, the metaverse holds immense potential as far as new display formats go. The possibilities are seemingly endless, from avatars bedecked in branded virtual apparel to virtual billboards to sensory entertainment experiences. If it achieves its full potential, the metaverse will almost certainly disrupt ad spending trends in a big way down the road.

Those disruptions aren’t likely to materialize any time soon, however, given the tech is still in its infancy. For now, advertisers are dipping their toes in the virtual reality realm more in preparation for the future than to take advantage of an already-ripe opportunity.

But gaming activations also have short-term benefits for advertisers. Brands and musicians that have taken the leap by partnering with immersive video game behemoths Roblox and Fortnite have generated memorable consumer touchpoints, garnering significant PR buzz along the way.