After reflecting on the digital strategy choices your company made in 2018, it's wise consider the emerging trends for the year ahead. Appetite Creative recently asked seven leading female Adtech professionals in the UK digital sector to share their predictions for 2019. Topics on the agenda include the influence of China, AI, voice, data, innovation, ad fraud and personalisation...
Bianca Best, global managing director of Blink & Strategic Partnerships at Mediacom
I believe 2019 will see our media landscape shaped by some of the staggering trends we’ve seen surge in China over the past 18 months. Firstly, I believe we’ll shift into a mobile only, as opposed to mobile first, agenda with personalised voice intimacy top of engagement goals.
Secondly, I foresee brands becoming bolder, embracing the ‘age of acceleration’ with more aggressive trials and rapid core data gathering as opposed to waiting for perfection before launch eg cashier-less stores: thousands in China gathering behavioural data while the technology is refined vs Amazon Go’s tentative smallscale three-store Californian launch.
Thirdly, I predict the power of key influencers becoming fundamental to marketers’ e-commerce strategies, for example, live-streaming teleshopping functionality opening up new revenue channels. I’m hugely excited by all of this and a mindset of curiosity, experimentation and specialist partnerships will need to underpin every foray.
Jenny Stanley, chief executive, Appetite Creative Solutions and FemmeNiche
2019 is already being heralded as a year of radical change and challenges. The two areas that will have a significant effect on this are GDPR; and the increased use of AI in digital.
GDPR legislation has reduced the use of ‘cookies’ which has damaged ad revenue streams. However, off the back of legalising has come enforced creativity. There is less programmatic inventory available which has pushed prices up and made higher quality sites and ad formats more appealing. Creativity, not conformity, will be the biggest differentiating factor in who successfully monetises their inventory or campaigns in 2019.
The second prediction is the increased growth in audio in 2019 through machine learning. Given that nearly 50% of all searches will be made through voice search by 2020, brands should plan on using AI to be more creative in communicating with consumers, via audio and voice-activated creative formats.
Fiona Salmon, managing director, UK at 1plusX AG
Instead of brands and publishers giving users personalized experiences based on their previous interests, in 2019, AI will accurately predict users' future interests from their very first visit to a webpage. Advanced machine learning will attribute specific interests and characteristics to users so relevant content and advertising can be displayed to each consumer immediately.
Shirley Smith, sales director, Flashtalking
In 2019, publishers are set to make greater investments in updates to their sites to support more creative ad formats such as interactive, responsive and rewarded video.
To really set these formats on fire, ads must be data-driven and highly personalised. By utilising data and marketing insights to inform dynamic video campaigns, brands can deliver impactful messages at scale and captivate audience attention.
To keep advertising cutting-edge, publishers, agencies, brands and vendors, all need to work closely together, and remain committed to driving constant innovation in the industry.
Celine Saturnino, chief commercial officer, Total Media
2019 will bring quality and value in media into an even sharper focus. We expect to see significant leaps in transparency delivered across the ecosystem and a much greater emphasis placed on delivering effective creative suited to the environment. Developments in retail and voice activated devices will mean many brands will need to focus on ensuring high levels of spontaneous awareness perhaps heralding greater investments into channels which have, more recently, suffered from the dominance of ‘digital’ platforms.
Julia Smith, director of communications, Impact
2019 may well be the year where we see companies hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Fraud continues to be a battle that our industry is fighting against; and whilst many companies are committed to ensuring that they are trading in fraud-free inventory, those that don't are likely to be exposed.
The stark truth is that ad fraud messes with every aspect of digital marketing; skewing the attribution model and channeling marketing spend into the hands of the fraudsters. Let's hope that, as an industry, we win the battle against this epidemic in 2019.
Lucia Mastromauro - VP global development, Adform
Ad creative will increasingly catch up with Adtech. The speed of delivery and personalisation of content will increase in 2019. After all, a creative is more than its click-through rate! Dynamic advertising media that addresses every user in a personalised way will increasingly liberate us from the same repetitive creative.
Online we no longer have weeks, days or hours, the user is now in a time-specific situation and we can reach them with a certain message in the moment. The technology is there to tell us exactly when this moment is, and how a user can be identified and targeted at that precise moment.
All in all, the barriers to creativity are mostly human - as the technology is already there, enabling efficient human machine collaboration and interfaces – what we call artificial intelligence (AI) nowadays.
Another prediction, is on data ownership and execution no longer being a niche issue, as it is gaining strategic importance.
This means a great opportunity for agencies in particular, who have been seeing consulting firms expand their presence in the advertising space. Well realistically, only very few advertising companies will be able to handle in-house the complete strategy and execution of their data strategy. Agencies need to continue to play a very important role not only in media, but assisting their clients understand, integrate and leverage their data creatively and efficiently.