Digital trends 2020 – what everyone is talking about


Welcome back! I hope you are rested and ready to take on the new year like we are. 2020 is bound to bring on a fair amount of challenges and opportunities for the digital industry. Whether it’s the fact that Google recently decided to phase out third party cookies, or US politicians pushing to break up ‘Big Tech’ firms like Facebook and Amazon, our landscape is ever-changing and the best thing we can do is to be prepared, look ahead, adapt and keep an ear on the ground. According to the World Advertising and Research Center, in 2020 Digital Advertising will for the first time ever make up more than half of the total global ad spend at $336 billion, with Google’s share of the global ad market being 23%, ahead of Facebook’s 13% and Amazon’s 2.5%. But what does that mean for you as a publisher or an advertiser? Below are some of the big trends in digital that you will need to keep an eye on: Companies relying on Google Analytics will get beaten by their competitors – Not that there’s anything wrong with Google Analytics, but things are changing. New channels are being introduced constantly, such as voice search, and transactions are no longer as simple as someone coming and buying from you. On top of that, there are so many different ways you can generate revenue for your online business, such as partnerships, affiliate marketing, and even webinars. In 2020, you will see more companies adopting business intelligence solutions. A central place where you can tie in all of your data and make better-informed decisions so you can optimize for your lifetime value instead of your short-term income. Conversational marketing – this is thought by many to be the most exciting trend in marketing today, bringing together rapid consumer adoption of smart speakers and innovation in search query processing, conversational interfaces and messaging. However, many of these technologies aren’t expected to become mainstream for another 5 to 10 years. Of those forecast to hit the mainstream within the next 2 to 5 years, the three most significant for marketers to consider are personification, real-time and conversational marketing. Consumer privacy – Repeated privacy faux-pas by Facebook, Google and security breaches at other brands leading to the release of customer details have highlighted to consumers that their data isn’t as safe with online brands as they may have once thought. Privacy regulations like GDPR have been enacted to improve data privacy with increased fines. This also means that the days of the cookie (and particularly third-party cookies) and digital fingerprinting may be numbered. Therefore businesses should be considering other alternatives if they aren’t already. Martech – These days, Marketing Technology presents a bewildering choice of software services for businesses looking to improve their management of digital media, experiences and supporting data. If your business and your agencies adopt the right blend of Martech, it can help give you an edge against competitors, but if not, you may be missing out on the insights and automation processes they are using. The only way to map, store, analyze and act on the complete end-to-end customer journey is having all the data in one place using a Customer Data Platform. But it is up to each company to decide which system (or combinations of systems) is the best fit for their business. It’s quite a lot to think about, but AdMarula is on this journey with you, as your partner in Digital. Upwards and onwards! Daniel Gross – CEO

Constantly changing, constantly evolving

By the words of world famous inventor and business man, James Dyson, “business means constantly changing and constantly evolving.” It certainly feels like the world is changing at a much faster pace than before. I was recently in Sweden and in just 12 months since my last visit I could see how things have evolved there. New technologies and solutions that weren’t available less than a year ago, have become a part of day-to-day life. For AdMarula, change and evolution is inevitable – in fact, we’ve been doing it for the past 8 years. Being part of one of the fastest evolving industries in the world, we as digital marketers need to keep up and evolve with the industry. Those who graduated with a degree in marketing can’t compete in today’s market unless they know how to learn and adapt as they go. The industry is simply moving too fast. What was popular in internet marketing 10 or even five years ago is now an ancient practice. We all need to educate ourselves on a daily basis. Luckily there are lots you and I can do stay on top of things happening in our industry. Reading, reading, and more reading! I often tell my team this. There is SO much information available to those who are willing to find it. Sign up to blog posts, newsletters, alerts and read articles. Set aside time in your day to do this, because if you don’t you will miss out on more than you realise. Be out there, physically meet and speak to the people in the digital industry. Much of what we do is automated and can be done via email, Skype etc. but in essence Digital Marketing is still a people’s industry so relationships and communication skills are important. Knowledge sharing. Attend seminars and industry events. We can all learn from each other and it’s often the best way to learn about new trends or important changes happening in your immediate business community. For more technical knowledge you may have to attend a course. These days it is really useful for marketing graduates to have some development skills under their belt. The bridge between marketing and tech is becoming smaller and smaller, which means marketers need to know how to ‘speak basic tech’, and developers need to learn basic business skills so they can think one step ahead of the consumer – understand how they can offer a technical solution to a user-driven problem. We are certainly living in interesting times, and I personally cannot wait to see how our industry will evolve even further in the near future. Onwards and upwards! Daniel Gross – CEO

Transparency: the key to digital advertising success

The subject of transparency in digital advertising cannot be ignored. With issues like brand safety and ad fraud long having made headlines, the digital industry is demanding change. Transparency in digital advertising is important from two perspectives: cost and inventory.  You need to know where (and in what context) your message is being served, and where in the ad chain your money is being spent. Without this data, you cannot make well-founded decisions. Over the last decade, marketers have given digital agencies a lot of freedom when buying ad space. Agencies have made a lucrative business out of running an arbitrage-based model, buying digital inventory in bulk and then marking it up for advertisers. Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Alexandra Bruell points out that “clients didn’t cry foul, because they were happy with the performance of digital campaigns. Or because they weren’t clued into the complexities of digital ad buying and agency profitability.” However things are changing. We now live in a world dominated by Google, Facebook, and programmatic ad exchanges which is anonymising the ad selling process. This is in stark contrast to the pre-digital era, which was intensely personal.  Essentially, a large number of brands got used to pouring money into a black box marked digital advertising. But as clients become more informed and aware of better options and channels, they are now asking for more transparency within these processes. Performance marketing is by far the most transparent model out there. While brand marketing has its benefits, when it comes to transparency and calculating return on investment, performance marketing’s strength lies in one simple concept: The agency network must meet client-defined metrics and achieve the desired impact (a measurable business result) to fulfill the client/agency contract. In other words, the agency must “perform” or they don’t get paid. The process is simple. First, a client defines the desired action and its qualifying criteria. Then, the marketing agency/network designs a campaign that drives the greatest number of completed actions for the client. The most common actions include: Purchasing a product Installing an application Filling out a form (lead generation) AdMarula works with numerous agencies to help achieve these performance metrics for their clients. The agency/network relationship can be a tremendously beneficial one since the agency’s strength often lies in delivering the creative work, while the network’s strength lies in generating performance-based results. For clients, the results move their bottom line in the right direction and allow for greater investment in and collaboration with the agency. A win-win for all. Daniel Gross – CEO