Seeing 2020: Part I – Digital Advertising Trends to Watch

By: Emily Whitworth

Political advertising bans. Streaming wars. 2019 was a big year for digital advertising and, if experts’ predictions are any indication, 2020 (dubbed the “visionary” year by marketing gurus) will be even more of a game-changer for platforms and services and the advertisers who use them.

Below, we’ve outlined our team’s predictions about digital advertising trends to watch in 2020:

Platforms Changing Policies
2019 flipped the table on digital advertising for political and issue advocacy. Twitter issued a total political advertising ban and issue advertising restrictions with uneven reinforcement; Google put a chokehold on its political ad targeting policies; and emerging platforms like TikTok outright banned political advertising. With Facebook facing ongoing pressure to revise its policies, advertisers must accept the need for an integrated approach to communications. As online platforms continue to tighten restrictions on digital ads, organizations must adjust accordingly 1) tracking the changing rules of the game and 2) exploring alternative channels like search, email, text messaging, etc.

The Streaming Wars
The streaming wars continue to heat up with Baby Yoda and Disney+ emerging as the new player to beat. The fight will get even more crowded next year when NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBOMax join the fray. As consumers face “peak streaming” options, digital advertisers have opportunities as more eyeballs migrate to over-the-top viewing, as well as challenges as a number of these services are ad-free.

Data Capture Takes A Quantum Leap
The wealth of data available to advertisers means that audience segmentation and targeting will become even more nuanced. Tools like Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) – tech that tracks both linear and digital ads played on television screens – allow marketers to leverage information not just about who the user is, but what content and ads they’ve already viewed. Knowing what ads users have previously been exposed to opens the door for advertisers to better understand intent, consideration and favorability.

Programmatic Buying Is In, Middlemen Are Out
Increasingly, networks are giving advertisers direct access to programmatic inventory instead of forcing them to go through sales reps for a managed buy – which can be slower and less flexible. One example is with YouTube’s new product, Instant Reserve. This tool removes Google sales reps from the equation and gives advertisers the ability to purchase premium inventory at fixed costs, all programmatically. The trend towards programmatic buying removes information barriers and adds flexibility to the planning process, opening the door for smaller advertisers to run on inventory previously accessible only to the big guys.

Your Creative Has Got To Be… Creative
There is a siege of political advertising ahead, with 2020 set to break ad spending records. For your clients to stand out in the clutter, your creative can’t be cookie-cutter – and that means taking advantage of eye-catching ad unit offerings like Instagram’s Explore Feed, Google’s gallery ads and voice search ads.

Stay tuned for Part II, where we’ll discuss trends in linear media buying for 2020.

If you’d like to see how PLUS can put our advertising know-how to use for your organization, get in touch.


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