Media, so vital to the wellbeing of the economy, has endured a turbulent year. Marketers questioned the quality of the supply chain. Agencies reorganized to reinforce their value proposition. Ad tech continued to consolidate. Publishers scrambled to make money and keep their two sets of customers – consumers and advertisers – happy.

While that short summary may appear to emphasize the negative, each of those challenges resulted in serious industry-wide conversations and, in many cases, new and emerging initiatives that will offer marketers, publishers, and consumers opportunities for growth and a better overall experience in the coming year.

Change has been the hallmark of media every year since 1994, when the first digital ad appeared. There’s no reason to believe 2018 will be any different. Forrester’s 2018 media industry predictions were published today, and we predict that:

  • TrustX will be embraced by marketers. TrustX is a non-profit cooperative marketplace that features the inventory of 30 participating premium publishers and is endorsed by the Association of National Advertisers. Its guarantees of 100% supply-side transparency, human traffic, and viewable inventory go right to the heart of marketers’ supply chain reservations.
  • Agencies will get creative, literally and figuratively. Agencies will add emotion technologies to their measurement and analytics. Facilitated either with partnerships or by custom-builds, these new value-adds measuring emotions will help marketers get to the heart of how their products and services are perceived, and enhance the bond between client and agency.
  • Amazon will upend the ad tech ecosystem. Amazon is already grabbing a significant share of search marketing budgets as consumers make that marketplace their first stop when they shop. In 2018, marketers, too, will turn to Amazon, in their case, Amazon’s ad exchange to buy ads using the company’s rich intent and first-party data to target more effectively. Amazon’s heft in 2018 will come as a shock to fans of Facebook and Google.
  • Publishers will ramp up their data offerings with in-market insights. Publishers know what their consumers are in market for because they seek out content as they conduct their competitive product and service research. Now, publishers will monitor their site traffic and offer up these insights to complement the wealth of data they already put to the service of their best advertisers.
  • Consumers will be swamped with OTT options. Consumers now have a myriad of choices for devices and platforms on which to consume content. While choice is good, the time it takes to select the best and manage the slate is fast becoming overwhelming. In 2018 more and more consumers will reach a tipping point and decide that more choice is not worth the higher a la carte costs. Companies on the margins will not survive.

Hanging over all of this is the impending European General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP), which will go into effect in May 2018. While the legislation has implications for all marketers, Forrester predicts that Facebook and Google will find it particularly onerous, as they are in the regulators’ crosshairs.