The Three Big Trends To Expect In Digital Marketing In 2020

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Let’s be honest, it’s hard to predict the future, but it doesn’t mean we can’t try. In this opinion piece Criteo Commercial Director ANZ Colin Barnard shares his top predictions for 2020.

Technology moves at the rate of knots. As the decade ticks over, marketing will continue to morph at the hands of rapid technological change, so it is imperative that marketers harness this innovation and channel it in ways that will benefit consumers.

For marketers, being aware of emerging digital trends and arming themselves with powerful tools is central to staying ahead of the game. I’ve highlighted some of these key developments and how marketers can optimise their strategies below.

  1. Launch an app or fall behind  

Australia has always been one of the lowest app markets, which early on was due to the widespread preference of desktop, over smaller mobile and app screens. With Australians embracing ecommerce due to the rise of larger form factor phones, businesses that invested in apps early on, yet shifted their focus from desktop to mobile or didn’t see huge app traction, should now revaluate.

In 2020, it will become even more apparent to digital marketers that if they don’t incorporate apps into their strategies, they’ll fall behind. Apps typically offer far superior site experiences such as storing user preferences more readily, providing better notification options and leveraging the phone’s native features, like geo-location. In most cases we see a far better re-engagement on apps than mobile web, even compared to progressive web apps and other hybrid solutions.

Criteo recognised this trend and launched a full-funnel ad solution earlier this year, App Install, App Retargeting and App Re-engagement, which addresses every phase of the app user journey, through hyper-relevant and dynamic ads that are tailored to customers’ preferences and behaviours.

  1. Deep Learning’s role in marketing will change  

New technologies are often labelled as revolutionising the marketing industry, but more than ever marketers must ensure they’re distinguishing between potential game changers and jargon. Deep Learning is often viewed as the solution to almost all advertising problems, but what marketers must come to realise next year is that it shouldn’t be the only ace up their sleeves.

For context, Deep Learning is rarely used in bidding stages but instead for precomputing features outside the critical path, and these features can be fed into much simpler, traditional Machine Learning models or a logistic regression model with higher speeds, and lower latency to generate even better results.

Deep Learning will continue to play a role in marketing strategies but only in the wider context of Machine Learning, including tree-based and regression models and self-organising AI networks.

  1. Take greater creative risks but only if you work together

Attracting the attention of the right consumers and building brand loyalty in our ‘always-on’ era is becoming increasingly competitive for marketers. The quality of digital marketing creative is vital.

For example, augmented reality and virtual reality in gamification-based campaigns is gaining huge popularity because for the first time, customers feel in control of the interaction. As active participants, they can reinvent the real-life environment, try various combinations before making a choice and unlock hidden rewards. These new technologies are revolutionising the path-to-purchase.

In 2020, we can expect greater risks and focus on creative design and implementation. Performance ads are simply not meeting the demands of today’s consumer and it’s because performance marketers and brand departments aren’t working together. If marketers want to succeed next year, they must put in place new processes to create consistent, appealing customer experiences through creative that reflects brand guidelines and meet performance targets.

As commercial director at my company, we’ve invested heavily in new creative capabilities by blending the best of AI and human oversight to produce richer, on-brand ads that don’t sacrifice performance or relevance. Finding the best creatives for each marketing objective and channel can be a long and complex task, however next year we can expect more AdTech companies to establish creative consulting roles, assisting marketers on this journey.

The new age of marketing is both exciting and somewhat overwhelming. By the time you implement a new technology, it can often become obsolete while your competitors have moved on to the next wave, leaving you behind. It is for this reason that marketers need to plan for the future. To succeed in 2020, marketers must invest in apps and change the way they think about Deep Learning and digital marketing creative, to ultimately stay ahead of the curve.

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colin barnard Criteo

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