For many brands, 2020 planning is now in full swing. Getting future strategies and focus areas right requires a clear understanding of where the market is heading and what’s becoming important. Right now, there are five central issues that advertisers should be thinking about. This is based on our experience of working with 70 of the world’s top 100 brands and of having analyzed over $55bn of media and marketing investment this year alone. Only one thing will remain constant: no one’s standing still, and the rate of change and demand for new skills, tools and solutions is only accelerating.

1. Content, creativity, and customer experience will take center stage

Compelling content that drives attention and engagement has never been at more of a premium. After almost a decade in which short-term sales activation dominated, there are signs that the resulting crisis in creative effectiveness is coming to an end. More brands are prepared to invest in creative that helps to facilitate customers’ emotional decision-making through long-term brand building. What’s more, compelling, creative content is also the focus of customer experience. With customer experience spend globally approaching $500bn, chief marketers today are spending almost as much in this area as they are on media.

2. Privacy will gain primacy

With GDPR now firmly established as the new normal and third-party data farms become a footnote in history, privacy will become increasingly important for brands, publishers, and platforms. This is critical – in a post Cambridge Analytica world – for rebuilding consumer trust. Brands will continue to adjust to the new realities of the cookie-free world, while GDPR will continue to be enforced by national data commissioners with more confidence. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and EU Data Privacy legislation will come into effect too, making a significant mark on the US and EU ad ecosystems next year. Nationwide regulation is also likely in the US, though not until after the 2020 presidential election.

3. Video will continue to fragment

Our TV at the Tipping Point report from February 2019 highlighted the fact that TV’s long-established ability to deliver mass audiences at scale is in retreat. With Apple TV+ and Disney + joining Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, subscriber video on demand (SVOD) is commanding more and more attention at the expense of linear TV. Broadcaster VOD will continue to mature and deliver, while more SVOD platforms will start to experiment with advertising models. TV is being redefined, and brands increasingly need to approach video holistically, with new ways to measure impact and drive insights.

4. Brands will demand more accountability from their partners

The transparency debate changed the dynamics of the advertiser-agency relationship and brands have got their mojo back in what they can ask of the agency and tech partners. This will continue in 2020, with brands striving to achieve a better digital media ecosystem, and in the process, looking for more reassurances and more decisive action on ad fraud, fake followers, brands safety, and viewability.

5. Operating models will continue to evolve

Our own research among leading global and national brands shows that the agency holding company is still the preferred operating model. But with more brands taking direct control of their marketing investment, the rate of innovation will accelerate in the year ahead. This will see more advertisers in-housing some or all of their operations, and many operating a hybrid model. Knowledge and understanding of the evolving ecosystem is improving rapidly in-house, and advertisers are using this to their advantage. 

This article was featured in The Drum

First featured on 17/12/2019.

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