Many have looked at the reasons behind this spike – rich media, mobile and video are among some of the major drivers of growth, where these formats have shown signs of moving beyond hype and coming to reality as being truly integrated elements of campaigns.

At the same time, publishers are responding much more positively to the call for more advanced inventory, providing better platforms to host campaigns.

This is all welcome news for an industry keen to keep its reputation for developing truly interactive campaigns. With a host of experts waiting in the wings to bring to life the most exciting concepts, the flurry of creative initiative is surely only set to continue. 

Another innovation that has also been widely discussed is the arrival of more automated solutions. Real-time bidding (RTB) has been touted by many as a major asset in the display revolution – enabling ad inventory to be bought and sold through a programmatic platform on a per-impression basis.

Adfonic’s recent Q3 2012 Global AdMetrics Report, definitely pointed to RTB’s popularity across a range of campaigns. It produced especially strong click through rates across entertainment, games, lifestyle, news and social networking sites.  

With rich media and RTB both key resources in driving display’s success forward into 2013, wise advertisers and publishers alike need to carefully consider how these advances should be integrated into their campaigns over the next 12 months.

An age old debate comes to mind around the ‘rise of the machines’, which has engulfed many technological solutions to business development for a long while now. Will brand spend all shift to programmatic environments? 

While programmatic buying offers a simple approach to automated display, the sector’s success cannot rely solely on the click of a button. Branding by definition involves engagement with people on an emotional level.

This is difficult to automate significantly, and the sector is fast evolving further beyond simple banners and buttons. Hence, human expertise and creativity has been and will increasingly be at the heart of driving extremely interactive campaigns, as depicted by the boom in invention in building success via rich media. 

While programmatic buying offers a simple approach to display, it does not alone offer the human intervention perhaps required to create the best approach. Where the display industry has become increasingly excited by ad exchanges and data driven advertising, there becomes a danger that it could leave creativity, focus and high level strategy behind.

Excessive reliance on automated buying can leave consumers annoyed by ads following them around on the web simply because they visited an online shop recently. 

Advertising is increasing both art and science, but in order for it to remain engaging and amplify a brand’s message, it still requires human creativity and experience to build exciting campaigns that make an impact on the consumer.

Revenues driven out of money spent programmatically should be expected by publishers and are smart for brands. Where real non-standard value can be driven is by having access to creative partners with close relationships to the highest reaching, most vertically relevant publishers which remain integral to achieving the best results.