Signal’s 2016 Prediction: Advertisers Will Seek Addressable Media Alternatives to Walled Gardens

Chicago, Dec. 14, 2015 – In 2016, advertisers will look for improved people-based advertising options to reach addressable audiences. Key requirements of these solutions will include the ability to target real people outside of walled gardens for better data transparency, and to act on real-time intent data. This forecast is among the findings outlined in Signal’s new special report, “How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2016.”

Signal, a global leader in real-time, people-based marketing, developed the new report based on interviews with the company’s in-house panel of digital experts and thought leaders.

“Technology continues to advance, and consumers are more connected and empowered than ever before, but marketers and advertisers are increasingly trying to refocus on what counts: people,” said Mike Sands, CEO, Signal. “They’ve realized that marketing technology is moving beyond cookies and browsers, and that with a people-based approach, they can tap into goldmines of customer data and target valuable, customized audiences.”

The report details the growing realization among marketers and advertisers that collaboration will be critical to offset the growing dominance of a few digital giants. Brand marketers will be motivated to take control of their customer data and identity, and will be able to do so as a result of advances in cooperative identity technology.

“While marketers are awash in toolsets and platforms, finding and knowing their true customer is more challenging than it’s ever been,” said Marc Kiven, Founder and CRO, Signal. “In 2016, we expect to see marketers apply a real-time, people-based approach across the entire customer journey to create and retain control of cross-channel customer identities. Those profiles combined with live intent data will power more relevant messages and seamless, personalized experiences.”

The predictions discussed in the report include:

  • Improved people-based marketing options will give advertisers flexibility and control. In 2016, marketers will feel increased pressure to solve challenges like getting a clear view of the customer across disparate data sources, connecting the past to a customer’s intent, and demonstrating attribution and ROI. Brands will demand better people-based marketing options to tie their campaigns to real people rather than cookies or devices.
  • Advertisers will seek more efficiency through more precise targeting. As marketers squeeze the last drop of workflow efficiency out of programmatic advertising, they’ll look to optimize strategies to improve targeting efficiency in 2016. This means reducing wasted ad spend on reaching unknown audiences, and turning to the power of first-party data to fuel better customer experiences, precision targeting, and ultimately greater ROI.
  • Marketers raise technology standards to close the mobile gap. By the beginning of 2016, mobile ad spending in the US will reach $42 billion, accounting for two-thirds of all digital ad spending. But, marketers still struggle to connect with their customers on all devices due to cookie-based technologies that don’t work well in mobile environments. In the next year, expect to see marketers explore new and different technology solutions designed to work in mobile so they can keep up with increasingly connected customers.
  • The limitations of walled gardens will continue to force advertisers and publishers to make tough choices. Advertisers and publishers have realized the limitations of walled gardens in the form of a limited view of the customer journey and decreasing CPMs. 2016 is the year they will both start thinking about ways to achieve their marketing and business goals outside of those walls, which may take some cooperative data efforts.
  • With ad blocking as the new normal, a new advertising approach becomes essential. Ad blocking could cost publishers as much as $41.4 billion in 2016. The entire ecosystem will get serious about addressing this issue, leading publishers to seek to know more about their customers and get smart about their data-driven offerings, and leading advertisers to push for better creative and higher standards among themselves and their vendor partners.
  • The race for data will drive bigger and bigger acquisitions. In 2016, Internet giants – Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, Verizon, Twitter – fueled by the race for data, will continue to expand through acquisition. In response, advertisers will continue to look for walled garden alternatives as this consolidation reduces their choices, buying power, and visibility into their own customer’s journey.
  • The realization of first-party data will create demand for data-driven leaders. The first-party data revolution is in full swing, but along with the increased use of big data across organizations comes an increase in data-related business challenges. In 2016, a new breed of data-driven leaders will emerge to help businesses leverage data to drive more value across the enterprise and mitigate hurdles such as silos and fragmented governance strategies.
  • Coalition loyalty programs will open doors to more valuable second-party data. In the upcoming year, more brands will come together to build pools of customer data and rewards through coalition loyalty programs. A new model will emerge of several different brands organized under one loyalty program, giving consumers the opportunity to earn points and redeem rewards in more places, and marketers more visibility into high-value first-party data.

To download Signal’s full report, “How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2016”, visit here.

About Signal

Signal is a global leader in real-time people-based marketing. With one platform, Signal’s integrated technology combines data collection, persistent identification, data onboarding and media activation for real-time cross-channel engagement. By leveraging Signal’s platform, brands and publishers gain immediate knowledge of buyers, access to high quality audiences and a simplified activation process to engage consumers within minutes of recognition.

Today, Signal’s technology runs on more than 45,000 digital properties in 158 countries. The platform facilitates billions of data requests monthly, supporting top brands around the world that generate more than $1.5 trillion in commerce, including Allstate, Audi, Crate & Barrel, JetBlue Airways, Starcom MediaVest Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and many more.

Signal has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including being named the third-fastest growing software company in the country, and the 51st-fastest growing company overall, on the 2015 Inc. 5000 list. Visit to learn more and follow Signal on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Media Contact


Kari Brownsberger



Originally published December 14, 2015

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