7 Trends for 2021
Ad Tech Consolidation, Consumers & CTV


Prediction Scrutiny of the internet giants steps up a level Will they play nice? Or has the battle just begun?

The internet giants are under a microscope with respect to data collection, content moderation, consumer privacy, and, increasingly, antitrust. Their exclusive power has shaped the internet as we know it, and dictated how advertising has been bought, delivered and measured. With the post-cookie world upon us (itself the focus of new scrutiny), how will they balance societal trust with their business demands? Operating large media and advertising businesses themselves, they benefit when it is harder for brands to buy advertising on the open internet as more ad budgets flow to them.

This comes at the detriment of publishers and other ad-funded content creators and service providers, with browser restrictions often translating to less money flowing to fund the original content and services that the five billion people online enjoy without having to pay for access. Antitrust complaints and investigations appear poised to be a key battleground in the fight for the free and open internet as lawmakers and regulators increasingly explore the intricate web of seemingly disparate services and more fully appreciate the potentially preferential interplay between them.


Trends Consumer-first identity solutions will win Trusted relationships at the center are key. Winning identity solutions will be consumer-first.

There is a lot of noise in the marketplace around identity solutions, with a flurry of new products purporting to address life after third party cookies. But in the absence of clarity on how the browsers will dispatch their self-appointed internet gatekeeping duties, there remains a gap between the ideas and proclamations of today and the meaningful and actionable solutions our future needs. It’s important to admit that as an industry we are in a period of trial and error.

We will see many solutions tested and fail. But innovation often comes on the heels of failure. Ultimately we know that audience based ad buying is not going away. Trusted relationships that start with the consumer at the center are key and these approaches will thrive, while many others will wither.

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