We’re not even a month into 2020, and it already feels like we’re in for a year full of change. Our paid media team took time to reflect on the shifts we’ve seen within the paid media space in 2019 to forecast trends for 2020 while also throwing out a few predictions for what the implications of these trends may become.

Consumer Privacy

The primary force that we expect to influence 2020 is consumer privacy. With CCPA already in effect, this may appear to be a given. We’re predicting that consumer privacy will impact paid digital space in 3 unique ways.

Less customization

We anticipate that attributes available to marketers to create custom audiences will become less granular while also diminishing in their effectiveness. As consumers now have the option to remove themselves from 3rd party data brokers, the strength of these audiences will decline.

Automated Targeting

To counter the reduced effectiveness of 3rd party audiences, we’re predicting that ad platforms will lead marketers to become more dependent on automated targeting solutions. We’ve seen this trend already between Google Ads Smart Shopping Campaigns, close-variants for phrase & broad match keywords in search campaigns, and even Etsy Ads, where you only choose the product to promote and your daily budget.

Privacy legislation

Finally, we’re predicting that the CCPA is going to be viewed as the warning shot for privacy legislation, and may soon be followed by similar legislation at the federal level. The effectiveness of this legislation will become clearer after a few court cases illustrate how many of the definitions will be interpreted and enforced. Regardless of how the CCPA is interpreted by the courts, it has succeeded by generating discourse on what appropriate personal data usage will become.

Platform Trends

Outside of how consumer privacy trends will shape 2020, here are a few platform-specific trends we’re anticipating:

It’s all about the feed

SERPs will continue to see feed-like features added, reflective of social media feeds. Adapting to the new look and feel of the platform experience to emulate native content and provide valuable information when possible will be crucial for survival.

Living on the platform 

Search and social platforms will make further adjustments to prevent users from having to leave their eco-spheres. Thinking about how to best entice users away, or how to ensure they have all the information you want them to have within the platform will help you build a more successful campaign and hit your goals.

Instagram losing dominance

Instagram will begin to cool off as a top-performing platform for paid social advertising. This will likely be caused by slowed new user growth coupled with diminishing average daily users. New platforms come and go, but knowing how to use this one in the future and understanding that diversification will be crucial is integral. 

TikTok is our newest contender

TikTok will develop its ad platform into a competitive alternative to Facebook ads. Reaching the audience there will also be essential: with Gen Z coming up on the app, understanding and interacting early may have lasting impressions through the years. 

Phew–it’s going to be a big year. From elections to new platforms to privacy legislation, the paid media industry has never been more competitive. If you’re struggling to cut through the noise, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re navigating these waters every day, and are happy to help you chart the best course of action. Let’s talk.