Predictions 2020 –  industry experts have their say.

By Julia Smith, Founder, Digital Trading Consultancy

It has been a year of ‘will we, won’t we’ with a nervous waiting game on whether we leave the EU. This has had a knock on effect on business confidence and trading, including ad trading in the digital advertising industry has been affected. We have seen a year of relative stagnation in terms of ad spend as marketers have held back budgets in light of a nervous economy. The good news has been that innovation has not remained static. We have seen strong product launches, new start ups bringing fresh ideas to the market and we have finally seen the industry unite together on one common goal: to put the consumer at the heart of the conversation. It is now time to look forward to next year and to hear from leading experts from all sides of the industry to give their thoughts on what to expect from 2020:

“2019 has seen a move away from traditional affiliate marketing. We have now seen a broad vision for partnerships, with product-led strategy that makes use of advanced tech. Partnerships have been around for a long time, but existed as ad hoc contracts and amongst fragmented teams. Affiliates had been mainly defined as cashback and coupon sites, but now other partnership types have grown in momentum,  including influencers, native software integration, business development partnerships, media publishers, social responsibility partnerships, and more. 2020 will see partnerships gaining significant momentum as we’re at the tipping point for massive scale, and I think that enterprises are finally starting to understand the opportunity that partnerships offer to marketers.”

Owen Hancock, Marketing Director, Impact EMEA

“2020 is the year of the consumer and anyone who doesn’t put their consumer first is going to fall short. They  want immediate answers delivered directly and they want to find exactly what they need in a very short space of time. Consumers are becoming more conversational, from social media even to Alexa to Siri, and we need to embrace formats that generate leads directly and answer questions users have, without a need for them to leave the site. Marketers need to deliver creativity that allows for real interactions with consumers in a unique, innovative, engaging yet, not intrusive way.”

Jenny Stanley, MD and Founder, Appetite Creative

“If 2019 has been the year of compliance and frequent calls to put the consumer first, then 2020 needs to be the year where we give consumers real control and a better understanding of how their data is used.   Concerns over privacy has led many companies to being cautious of personalisation for fear of legal action over compliance. The good news is that personalisation and privacy is achievable and the two can actually co-exist in a way that heralds a new era of targeting and personalisation. For many, GDPR has made it harder to track and engage on a 1-2-1 basis with the individual user unless they have given their complicit consent. In 2020, It will be essential for brands to find a solution which delivers personalisation in a truly compliant way.”

Sarah Lawson Johnston, CCO, Covatic  

“In 2019, it is estimated that 73 trillion messages will have been sent via chat apps; trouncing social media and browser interactions by a significant amount. 2020 will see consumers increasingly demanding instant forms of communications via messaging apps,social media and chatbots, potentially making short-form messaging on phone and mail extinct. This year, those CMOs who embraced conversational-style advertising have been reaping the rewards and have created a strong connection with their customers as well as much improved performance from their display advertising. In 2020 we would hope there is a continued trend towards embracing advertising solutions that create genuine user interest and interaction.” 

Ed Preedy, CRO, Cavai

“Expectations are that in 2020 brand safety and more importantly, brand suitability will be front of marketers minds as they battle to safeguard their brands’ reputation. The recent Channel Factory Brand Suitability Survey outlined the extent to which unsuitable placements can cause significant and measurable damage to brands. The start of 2020 will see a move forward ( or backward) on Brexit and at this volatile political time, brands need to have a robust brand suitability strategy in place to ensure they have the tech to handle every eventuality. 

It will no longer be acceptable to simply say that you have signed up to best practices – you will need to prove that you have tools in place that have the capability to ensure both brand safety and brand suitability for buyers. Brands will be setting stricter enforcement and expectations to see more than just processes in place; real evidence that their valuable spend is protected will become the norm.“ 

Mattias Spetz, MD EMEA, Channel Factory

“There is an expectation that 2020 will see a stronger uplift once again in digital ad spend. After a few years of slow growth reported in both the IAB ad spend and IPA Bellwether reports, I predict that we  are coming out of this period of relative stagnation and will see both ad spend and revenue generated show significant rises. This will be driven by methodology meeting technology head on and expect to see a resurgence of bleeding edge tech merging successfully with old fashioned service. Publishers want both a sustainable and impactful revenue stream and this will be achieved by transparency, optimization, personalisation and bespoke expert guidance.”

Richard Cook, Executive Director, Trade House Media

“In 2020 the message needs to be loud and clear: stop advertising on unsafe domains. We know that criminals use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.

We also know that a worryingly high percentage of high risk websites and apps host malware. The implications of this are that pirate sites are  generating revenue through advertising appearing next to stolen content, but more concerning is that they are also helping the wider spectrum of cyber crime to flourish. If 2020 is really going to be the year in which we truly put consumers first, the industry has to take active steps to stop funding  ID theft, data miners, key-loggers, browser hijackers and profile builders. It is time to be fully transparent, compliant and protect both your brand reputation and your customers safety.”

Peter Szyszko, CEO, White Bullet

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