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At Impact Radius, we’re always looking for what’s next, and we pride ourselves on continuous iteration and innovation. We’re focused on developing the best, most agile technology possible to help grow our customers’ business. With that in mind, here’s an idea of how we see things shaping up in 2018.

Marketers will look to embrace holistic and unified data systems.

In 2018, marketers will aspire to consolidate disparate data systems, in order to analyze their decision-making and marketing performance in a more holistic way and through a real-time lens. Proprietary data warehouses traditionally have been unable to efficiently capture, store, and normalize event level data (i.e. impressions, clicks, and conversions). However, things are changing with advances in big data and AI that are being deployed to drive predictive analytics and outcomes with respect to marketing spend and performance.

Holistic systems will become more of a reality and marketers will increasingly work with platforms to aggregate all their marketing data in a single platform. In 2018, marketers will begin to realize that the disparate platforms they’ve been using are inefficient and obsolete. In conjunction, AI will be applied to datasets that are learning from one another to drive predictive outcomes. The goal is to help marketers predict where their next marketing dollars should go to drive specific business outcomes.

The unification of capabilities that lies within IR’s platform solutions strategy aims to bring together partner marketing management, the elimination of ad fraud, and data cleansing by channel. We see this as a game-changer for attribution and media mix modeling.

Marketing partnerships substantially evolve.

Marketers will embrace and pursue strategic marketing partnerships in a more systematic fashion. They will demand more transparency, control, and consistent performance from these partnerships which will become more performance-based vs. traditional CPM models; for example, the marketing partnerships between Delta and Airbnb and Ticketmaster and Facebook.

These partnerships emanate from like-minded parties that are aligned with one another’s brand. Social media has been a powerful driver of this trend as is a pre-eminent way that consumers discover, research, and purchase items today. The trend toward performance marketing partnerships will accelerate in 2018 and marketers will find the need to manage these relationships on a technology platform that can manage all aspects of the partnership.

Brands will begin to use the affiliate channel to manage non-traditional partners.

We are seeing more brands begin to leverage the affiliate channel to manage non-traditional partners such as influencers, business development, and other partnerships that can be paid and measured on a performance basis. As a result, the channel is expanding both from a revenue and importance to the business perspective. This trend started gaining momentum in 2017 but we believe it will expand even further in 2018. Additionally, in order for marketers to stay ahead of the curve, they need to ensure that they have the best solution and resources in place for managing their performance marketing channel that gives them the most control and access to data. Marketers that are adept at taking advantage of and making the most of their data will have the advantage over those that continue to plod along leveraging legacy data points.

Fraud detection and verification services are de facto.

Fraud prevention, brand safety, and viewability are escalating priorities for marketers as it’s currently estimated that 30% of ad spend is fraudulent. In 2018, marketers will want to purchase ad inventory with more confidence and without the fear that their ads are being served to bots. Fraud detection and verification services are de facto — they are no longer optional. Marketers will begin to gain more confidence in 2018 as they educate themselves more on the risk of ad fraud and its impact, and how to solve for it with available technologies. The proliferation of verification services will ultimately give buyers more confidence to invest more in marketing.

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