CES Reflections: Three Themes for 2018

Post on January 25, 2018 by Alex Shephard

Alex Shephard Director, Advertiser Solutions

Undeterred by intermittent rain and a brief blackout on the strip, Las Vegas was brimming with reportedly over 180,000 CES attendees — all driven to connect and collaborate on the future of consumer-facing technology.

As part of the PubMatic delegation that attended CES, I was excited to meet with many of our clients, see the innovative technologies first-hand and surmise the impact many would have on the ad tech industry.

After taking some time to reflect on the event, I expect three themes to have an outsized impact on the advertising technology ecosystem over the coming quarters:

  1. The expansion of addressable consumer touch points across novel Internet-of-Things platforms
  2. The implications of the continued growth of the voice-activated OS
  3. Transparency as the central topic of conversation

The expansion of addressable consumer touch points

The growth of addressable media in novel environments is a huge opportunity for both content creators and marketers. In the very near future, we will have the opportunity to reach audiences across a spectrum of screens being integrated into a variety of devices where media hasn’t previously existed.

From high-definition dashboard displays of autonomous driving vehicles to internet-connected touchscreen hubs within refrigerators (we’ve come a long way since the ice dispenser was considered an innovative feature!)—new media formats are being created across a wide array of connected devices.

Marketers who understand the nuances of these formats, and create experiences curated specifically to these unique settings, will have a decided advantage in building relationships and engaging with consumers.

With PubMatic’s commitment to omni-channel revenue automation for publishers and enterprise-grade programmatic tools for media buyers, we look forward to playing a central role in activating these new channels as they reach critical scale in the future.

The future of the voice-activated OS

As soon as I disembarked from the plane it was obvious that the battle for the future of the voice-activated channel would dominate CES. Google had the most visible presence of any company at CES, in my opinion. Their main focus seemed to be on wrestling market share away from Amazon’s Alexa product by driving awareness of their voice-activated platform, Google Assistant.

Given the commercial potential for brands, the implications of this battle will have a far-reaching impact across ecommerce and marketing ecosystems. Specifically, it will be interesting to see how these behemoths allow 3rd parties to access this nascent format for marketing purposes. Will they create an open, participatory environment or create walled gardens accessible only by working directly with their respective platforms?


Lastly, it seemed every client conversation I participated in featured transparency as a central theme. Transparency took on several dimensions – transparency of fees charged and to whom; inventory quality, and viewability to name a few of them.

It was great to hear from our clients that many of the investments we’ve made in building a transparent business have resonated. Numerous clients mentioned to me their appreciation of the initiatives we’ve undertaken and detailed in our “Let’s be Clear” campaign and  Fraud-Free, Money-Back program to provide peace of mind to our partners.

There is much work to be done but we look forward to another year pursuing a clean programmatic landscape.


It will be exciting to see how these themes begin to play-out over the coming quarters. I’m particularly excited to see how PubMatic can help our clients realize the full potential of these developments.

PubMatic is committed to providing an omni-channel platform for our clients to monetize their digital assets wherever, and however, consumers engage with content. Our charge in building an open, participatory ad tech ecosystem and our pledge to provide transparency across all relevant dimensions means PubMatic is well-positioned to continue to deliver expected outcomes to our clients today and in the future.

Let us know how we can partner with you in 2018 and innovate for the future, together.