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AdTech and MarTech: The trends that defined 2019 and those that will shape 2020

  • 6 min read

The past year saw us bear witness to an array of major milestones and announcements in the adtech and martech industries, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Digital Platforms Inquiry report, the commencement of Open Banking, and Facebook cutting off third-party data access to advertisers. The impact of these announcements percolated through the year and impacted the industry in ways that will continue to be felt in the new decade, locally and globally. 

As we begin 2020 we are already seeing huge industry changes, with Google Chrome announcing they will end support for third-party cookies within two years. There are also upcoming changes to local privacy laws on the horizon, including a Federal Government review of The Privacy Act.

To fully take stock of these events and their impact, LiveRamp reached out to its partners to understand the trends that defined 2019, and those that will shape 2020. Here is a summary of the insights offered.

Micro influencers to target with personalisation

Daniel Small, Partner Manager at Experian Marketing Services found that 2019 was the year for customers to be treated as micro influencers. Small contributed that, “with average CPM prices in Australia reaching three times the global average, advertising efficiency has never been more important. Faced with record high media costs, marketers in 2019 have been forced to think outside the box to engage customers in an impactful way. 

According to CMO magazine, digital social capital is a means for brands to utilise the strength of their communities to turn superfans into micro influencers who are more likely to act on a brand’s behalf by promoting positive brand awareness. In 2019, clever digital marketers have focused on engaging consumer advocates to drive both customer retention and new growth with the same ad dollar.

When you consider 40% of Twitter users have made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer, it’s easy to see why marketers will continue to harness data to focus on customer personalisation driven marketing strategy to engage consumers who will both purchase and promote products. 

Given this trend, Small predicts that in “2020 [we] will see more ad marketers investing in customer personalisation to convert paid acquisition investments into organic growth by successfully engaging consumer advocate audiences.”

Data privacy and consumer trust major topics

Thomas Edmonds, Head of Strategic Solutions at IPG and Tom Gregory, Country Manager Australia and New Zealand at lifesight provided likeminded insights that 2019 was the year that data privacy came to the fore. Edmonds observed that, “it’s evident that in 2019 there’s been an increase in focus on data privacy and consumer data protection following last year’s widely publicised data scandals and breaches including data harvesting on social platforms which have done nothing but compromise public trust.

Reviews this year from the ACCC including the eagerly anticipated Digital Platforms Inquiry together with the more recent focus on loyalty schemes, have been welcomed by the digital marketing and media industries.” 

Edmonds predicts that in 2020, “with the Federal Government soon to embark on its own review of The Privacy Act on top of other recommendations set out in these reviews, it is clear that the laws and ethics surrounding data collection and use of customer data will continue as a major topic throughout 2020.”

Gregory added that “data privacy has been a big topic this year. Looking ahead changes to privacy and data usage policies will be good for consumers and the industry. The ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry recommendations on privacy and further investigation of ad-tech/programmatic supply chain as well as initiatives like the IAB data label should provide cleaner, reliable, compliant third-party data that performs for advertisers.”

Stemming from the data privacy and transparency concerns, consumer trust has emerged as a growing concern and challenge for marketers trying to balance privacy whilst continuing to deliver a personalised experience. Adele Wieser, Regional Marketing Director APAC at Index Exchange concludes “Consumer trust has recently started to become a hot topic and, though personalisation has grown into a dominant advertising strategy globally, it relies on tracking consumers in a way that is affecting their trust. Consumers are becoming more curious about their digital footprint and, we as an ecosystem, can look at this as an opportunity to focus on driving people-based solutions targeted to regaining consumer trust by giving them more control and insights into how their data is used. 2020 will see a reliance on identity based tools and an industry working altogether to ensure the shift to the open web into a trust environment is effective.

As third-party cookies decline, first-party data becomes more valuable

Tom Gregory from lifesightalso observed that 2019 was the year that third-party data started dying a slow death, a sentiment echoed by Thomas Edmonds from IPG. For Gregory, this meant that looking ahead to 2020, “the death of third-party cookies will reduce the amount of data products and vendors in-market, and will further increase the value of first-party data who will seek reliable platforms, identity solutions and data partners.” 

Edmonds echoed this, and found that 2019 was the year that “rapid changes in the use of cross site third-party tracking with Safari and Chrome both releasing tracking prevention browser versions, and the scramble to find alternative shared digital identity solutions, are also fundamentally changing the way we collect, target and measure consumers across the web.” 

Looking forward to 2020, Edmonds observes that “these trends offer the digital marketing and media industry an opportunity to reframe and redesign the way consumer data is ethically acquired and then transacted online, with the winners and losers in 2020 and beyond defined by the speed in which they can evolve best practice in this new reality.”

For Gregory, in 2020 “the death of third-party cookies will reduce the amount of data products and vendors in-market, and will further increase the value of first-party data who will seek reliable platforms, identity solutions and data partners. Furthermore, I think 2020 will be an exciting time for enterprise data-innovation, with brands in our space utilising real-world intelligence (offline and online behavioural data attributes from mobile devices) beyond audience targeting use cases to power business decisioning and measurement at scale.”

Connected TV a major focus for marketers

Brian Czarny, Chief Marketing Officer at Factual found that for marketers, 2019 was all about the rise of connected TV. Czarny observed, “in 2019, connected TV transitioned from being an emerging channel to being one of the major focuses for marketers going into 2020. Accelerated cord-cutting, the proliferation of streaming services, innovation in advanced advertising by incumbent networks and unprecedented levels of content investment have combined to create a fertile market for evolution in TV advertising. What’s more, over 2.3 billion people worldwide will be viewing videos on mobile platforms in 2020. With an abundant pool of data – including high-quality location data – making TV more addressable than ever, connected TV will continue to secure more and more of marketers’ ad budgets. In a $70 billion market, though, there is still plenty of headroom for growth.” 

Going deeper with location data and first-party data insights

Turning to 2020, Julien Escande, Commercial Director at Quadrant predicts that “as we head into 2020, we expect a driving trend in the digital marketing ecosystem to revolve around bringing location insights into brands’ first-party data platforms. By injecting location data into their first-party data insights, marketers can leverage location data to derive a deeper understanding of their clients’ behaviours, interests, and purchase intent.

It also allows marketers to ensure that only the most relevant messaging is being delivered to each client. This in turn will continue to impact the efficiency of campaigns by further increasing return on investment (ROI) and reducing costs. Overall, location data will continue to ensure marketers are better positioned to answer questions around what other activities their customers like.”

That rounds up our retrospective of 2019 trends, and our look forward to the trends that will influence 2020.