Forrester 2021 Advertising Predictions: Prepare For A “Data-Deprived” Future

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The advertising industry needs to start preparing for a “data-deprived” future, according to research company Forrester.

In its 2021 predictions, Forrester points to the upcoming deprecation of third-party cookies as one of the most important upcoming trends for the industry.

“The future of advertising will be one of significant upheaval,” the firm said.

“Impending privacy restrictions, the specter of total third-party cookie deprecation, and rising expectations of values-based consumers will lead to a more data-deprived future — and marketers should be preparing now.”

More specifically, Forrester makes a number of bold predictions for 2021.

·         Virtual ad creation will explode. The pandemic has forced brands to slash budgets and headcount — but expectations for high-quality advertising haven’t evaporated. In 2021, brands will turn to virtual ad creation in a variety of ways, from virtual influencers to increased investments in creative adtech.

·         One big brand will unexpectedly reshape its entire media strategy around values. While traditionally, the focus has been on the messaging itself, we expect a big brand to put values at the heart of its media buys. Employee and consumer pressure will force the brand to vocally commit to specific values throughout its media ecosystem, from social ads to the local TV stations it chooses to advertise with.

·         Brands will push the limits of pandemic advertising. 2021 will bring an influx of new pandemic-friendly ad placements, from branded personal protective equipment to pre-roll ads on freemium videoconferencing tools.

Forrester also made predictions for agencies in 2021:

AI and automation will make agencies smaller, yet smarter. Forrester has determined that 10 per cent of all digital/creative and media agency tasks in the U.S. will be automated by 2023 growing to 23 per cent of overall agencies by 2032.

·         The Chief People Officer will be elevated to a strategic role. The most important success factor for agencies in 2021 is to evolve their organizational cultures and assemble a brand/client “dream team” comprised of creative, media, data, design, and technology.

·         Entrepreneurialism resuscitates creativity. Forrester estimates U.S. agencies will shed 52,000 jobs through 2021 and the major holding companies will lay off or furlough 49,000 employees globally. The flood of creative talent into the marketplace will spur a new wave of entrepreneurs as many establish their own business concepts delivering agency and marketing services. We anticipate a minimum of a 5 per cent increase in small/mid-sized start-ups that deliver marketing, adtech and martech solutions.

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