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Bold Media Predictions for 2020

With 2020 right around the corner, what will this year bring to media? Here are some of the biggest trends we’re expecting to see in advertising.

Consumer trends

Next year, we will see even more visual content as opposed to text-based content. In the ad world, this means we will see an even greater influx of Product Listing Ads, Showcase Shopping Units, six-second bumper ads, and Instagram growth. Brands like Amazon will be competing with a growing eRetail market and Netflix will be in a heated battle with Disney+. This will result in these brands continuing to push the envelope on what is possible with customer experience and driving customer expectations forward. Because of this, marketers will be challenged to continue to cater to an ‘I need it now’ mentality, increasing the speed and ease of “Buy Online Pickup In-Store” (BOPIS) and two-hour delivery. Additionally, the focus on gaining a unified customer experience will continue to be a huge goal for marketers, most of whom have yet to achieve a seamless, connected experience.

Privacy consumes even more of marketers’ mindshare

Since 2018’s GDPR spotlight, there have been continuous conversations about privacy, tracking, and regulation. With CCPA going into effect on January 1, 2020, the unknowns will start to pop up and lead to some leading companies being fined by California in Q3 2020. With this, we will see Apple continue to market itself as privacy-first, earning new public admiration, while continuing to bring new anti-tracking solutions to the advertising ecosystem.

Google will also be public in this conversation, as it will likely double-down on Ads Data Hub as its PII compliant solution for marketers. Google will leverage this capability to sell additional licenses, particularly in Cloud. Amazon’s Clean Room will receive much fanfare, but for most digital marketers, it will be secondary to Google’s Ads Data Hub.

Search in 2020

So, how will search change this year? For one, we will continue to see a move away from transparency in ad auctions and bidding dynamics. Google’s “blackbox” bidding solution will become darker as machine learning drives individual auctions based on a real-time prediction of intent and user context. This push for machine learning and automation in advertising auctions will favor first-movers. Early entrants into auction-time bidding will have an advantage in capturing the highest valued customers, and reducing ad spend on the lowest valued customers. However, Google’s transparency on individual auction bids and why a bid was set will be even more opaque.

Shopping and PLAs will continue to grow, while new formats such as showcase ads and discovery ads succeed for visual consumers and grow in share. Organic content, primarily in knowledge graph suffers as these paid formats gain traction. We may even see Discovery ads and News content (below the fold in search) expand from the Google mobile app and into the Chrome browser — creating a new revenue opportunity for Google to capture more upper funnel dollars.

Google becomes even bigger, fueled by the growth and intersection of GMP and GCP

In 2018, Google announced the combination of its DoubleClick platform and Google Analytics to form the Google Marketing Platform (GMP). Over the last two years, Google has also worked to connect the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with its GMP. We will see a continued evolution toward front-end and back-end automation across the Google Stack. For marketers, this means that automation and smarter auction-signals/dynamics will raise CPC pricing on ad auctions, as sophisticated advertisers compete aggressively for the same, attractive consumers.

Other bold predictions: low odds, but fun to ponder

  • The power of physical and digital partnerships will abound. This year we saw numerous marriages of online and offline, such as the partnership of Kohls and Amazon. We will see Amazon buy Kohls in a bold move into apparel, home, and gifting. We also saw store within a store grow — led by Disney and Target to double-down on retail, exclusives, and custom experiences. In the year ahead, look for more of this in direct-to-consumer brands in all industries.
  • Microsoft buys Adobe – in a massive multibillion dollar move to compete in adtech/martech against Google, Microsoft buys Adobe in part for its marketing and analytics platforms, closing the much-needed gap in its marketing platform shortcomings to Google, while giving Microsoft a leg up on its already successful Cloud business. Gaining Cloud market share from Google is both an offensive and defensive play that will also send a major message to Amazon.
  • Google and Facebook are in news headlines for political scandals and having some impact on the US election process. Neither will be able to escape without damage.
  • Biometric/health data becomes a signal in marketing data for both Amazon (purchase data) and Google (Fitbit). In another bold prediction, Amazon enters directly into the wearable technology marketplace under an Amazon name, further collecting personal information, now inclusive of health data.

How will these predictions unfold? Only time will tell. We are excited for many new things to come in 2020.