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2021 Predictions: What’s in Store for Digital Publishers?

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been one for the history books. From Apple announcing the end of IDFA (and then delaying it), to dealing with the ramifications of a global pandemic, the entire publisher monetization industry has been on its toes the entire year.

With 2021 already zooming by, we can see that these radical changes are expected to continue. That being said, here are some scenarios that publishers can expect to face in the following months.

Digital marketers have suffered a bad rap in recent years due to increasing privacy concerns. Considering Google’s plan to remove cookies in 2022, publishers will have no choice but to make the shift from an individualized approach to a cohort-based one when optimizing their site’s monetization.

With several third-party cookie replacement proposals on the table, it seems that FLoC is Google’s forerunner. The API categorizes users into groups based on similar browsing behaviors, meaning that “cohort IDs” and not individual user IDs will be used to target them. Despite this massive change, Google remains adamant that advertisers can expect to see at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising.

Google plans to roll out the API for public testing this March and expects to begin testing FLoC-based cohorts in Google Ads in Q2.

Advertisers Are Increasing Their Digital Advertising Budgets

More than 75% of both buyers and sellers say they now prefer the new digital reality over face-to-face interactions, according to a recent McKinsey report. So, what does this mean for publishers?

Well, with more B2B companies adapting to this new digital landscape, more advertisers are dumping money into their digital advertising budgets. Advertisers will be looking for publishers with valuable inventory and high CTRs to reach their ROI goals. Digital publishers can take on this potential revenue, but only if they have a strong focus on optimizing their monetization.

Tourism Advertising Is About to Take Off

Finally, some good news for the tourism industry. With mass vaccination campaigns going on around the globe, open borders may just be in our near future. Data shows that people have a strong desire to travel this year, and 70% of consumers are already planning their 2021 getaway. Advertisers are right behind them, with their ads focused on low pricing, booking flexibility, and new safety procedures.

It will take some time before we return to our pre-pandemic travel habits. But after a year of dormancy, we wouldn’t be surprised if tourism industry reopens with a bang.

Growing Number of Online Consumers

One of the more refreshing trends amidst several unfavorable changes that have taken place in the last year is the growing number of online consumers. In 2020, U.S. adults spent one hour more per day on digital activities then they did in 2019, and 39% of U.S. consumers say they used their smart phone more during the pandemic. Users’ digital COVID-19 behaviors are likely to continue well into 2021 and beyond.

Now that everyone is going digital, publishers are faced with their next big challenge: providing valuable ad inventory while balancing user experience. This means that utilizing software that supports simultaneous, real-time A/B testing of different ad layouts will become critical for digital publishers who are looking to stay ahead of the curve.