The online display market will be a $50 billion business. Half of online ads will feature video, and 75 percent will contain some sort of social element. And the majority of banner ads will be delivered to mobile devices over PCs. Those were just some of the seven bold predictions about display advertising for the year 2015 made by Google executives during the final keynote session of the 2010 IAB Mixx conference on Tuesday in New York, part of Advertising Week. Neal Mohan (left), Google's vp of product management, and Barry Salzman (right), the company's managing director for media and platforms, took attendees through a future where banners—to use their words—will be both smart and sexy. "The static ad banner will become a thing of the past," said Salzman. "The golden age of display is right before us."
To prove their point, the pair demonstrated some of the capabilities of banner ads that Google will soon make available to advertisers. For example, at one point, the pair showcased an oversized banner ad that featured live footage of their address on a 10-second delay. Another futuristic display unit showed a live Twitter stream from the event. Such rich media ads—which essentially can house the same amount of content and visual imagery as the average Web site—will make up half the display ads in 2015, up from just 6 percent today, the two executives said.
Similarly, half of such ads will feature video that advertisers will pay for on a cost-per-view basis, they said—which should help attract more brand advertisers to the medium. Google has already been offering advertisers the ability to pay only for ads that users actually view (rather than skip) on YouTube. The company is looking to take that concept a step further with the rollout of two new YouTube ad placements under the moniker True View. One such placement is strikingly similar to the Ad Selector ad unit that was popularized by Hulu and later identified by Starcom USA's The Pool research project as the preferred unit for monetizing long-form video. Via the new unit, users can select from among four different video ads to watch prior to streaming content (this new unit raises questions about whether YouTube is still planning to participate in The Pool project). In addition, YouTube is introducing a True View In Stream ad, through which Google serves a video ad based on a user's previous activities on the site. If a user skips the ad—which is allowable after about five seconds—the advertiser does not pay. According to Google executives, this will result in fewer ads being delivered, but a higher ad premium. Outside of YouTube, Mohan and Salzman were more bullish on display ads that feature video, since that's where the majority of inventory exists at the moment. And naturally, the two execs believe buyers will buy much of that video/display inventory via exchanges. According to Mohan, in 2010, the number of transactions on Google exchange has tripled over last year. Based on that momentum, by 2015, the executives predicted that half of online display ads will be purchased on an audience basis in real time. Beyond predicting a revitalization of the much-maligned display ad space, Google used Tuesday's session to wow the crowd with several applications of the Google Goggles product, which works with cameras built into smartphones (such as the Droid, which uses Google's Android software). During one demonstration, which officials emphasized was still experimental, a phone was used to snap a picture of a print ad for a Ford Mustang. Nearly instantly, the Mustang featured in the ad appeared on the smartphone as a 3D image that a user could manipulate to explore.