As far as martech predictions for 2019 go, there are some no-brainers: brands and advertisers will continue to increase their digital spend and increasingly rely on programmatic ad platforms, and there will be more growth in voice tech and the Internet of Things (IoT).
But for intrepid marketers, there’s more to think about before the calendar turns. Here’s what we’re watching out for in 2019.
Mobile is poised to get much faster: get ready for 5G
Adobe Digital Insights released a report in March that said that 5G mobile speeds — expected to be broadly available in 2019 — will translate into an additional $12 billion in mobile commerce revenue for retailers in just three years. The faster speeds will power emerging tech that’s really still in its infancy, such as augmented reality, virtual reality and IoT.
Todd Parsons, chief product officer at ad exchange OpenX, says that 5G will force publishers and advertisers to rethink their content strategy, saying that the “improvements brought on by 5G will … lead to a convergence of connected places (e.g. in car or at a sporting event) and AR (from mobile to something like programmatic DOOH) that will deliver this content in exciting new ways.”
Parsons said that for brands and advertising technology to keep up, they should expect to process larger volumes of data, adapt to new ad mediums and creative approaches and have systems and processes in place to cope with higher transaction volumes.
“It’s hard to put a timeframe on exactly when this will happen, but at some point, incumbent programmatic and data infrastructures will need to be rethought, and the structure of the market will be forced to change to keep pace,” Parsons said.
Personalization will be in even higher demand — and AI-powered
As younger shoppers age up, marketers need to pay attention to the way that Millenials and Gen Z interact with media. An August VidMod survey found that younger consumers are less interested in influencers and more receptive to advertising that is not only personalized, but that reflects elements of their own sense of style. This means marketers need to figure out a way to keep up with the staggering amount of content that such deep personalization requires.
“With new modes of consumption popping up left and right (expiring content like Instagram stories, 360-degree video for VR headsets), the volume (and types) of content that any brand is expected to produce is only going to continue to increase,” said Russ Perry, founder of graphic design service Design Pickle. “Consumers are hungry for more and more content, and brands should learn that if they aren’t willing to feed them — someone else will.”
The good news is that both the Millenials and Gen Z shoppers are more than willing to give up personal information, as long as they receive experiences that they consider valuable in return.
Amit Bivas, CMO at CRM Optimove said that marketers may have to reconsider strategies for Gen Z consumers that might have worked in the past. “Unlike Millennials and other previous generations, Gen Z expect brands to be loyal to them, and expect highly personalized communications,” said Bivas. “In 2019, we will see this shift push brands to take a more sophisticated approach to their marketing tech, adding extra layers of innate intelligence through machine learning and AI into their marketing stack. We will see a move throughout the industry from marketers relying primarily on rule-based marketing to innately intelligent marketing, where the marketer only sets the framework, and the AI takes it from there to create personalized messaging.”
Mukund Ramachandran, CMO of personalization platform Dynamic Yield says that marketers should take advantage of personalization, and the increased loyalty it brings, in 2019.
“Next year, get ready for real-life applications, such as personalized recommendations and order options as you swap your loyalty card at your favorite coffee shop, and promotions or offers served to you based on your online browsing activity and payment card transactions upon entering the bank to apply for a savings account,” Ramachandran said. “We really are only at the beginning of an era of mass personalization.”
Last-click attribution will (slowly) give way to customer journey views
“Attribution will be a critical area of focus for marketers in 2019 and the insights we will be able to obtain will continue to get stronger in the years ahead,” says Mollie Schane, director of marketing at PureCars
“Last click attribution isn’t dead, but marketers now need to be looking at the full customer journey in order to keep shoppers engaged and ultimately win their business,” Schane said.
In fact, last-touch attribution has take a backmetrics for a while now. Other KPIs, such as sales lift and revenue might be more relevant [to marketers], suggests Dave Pickles, CTO and co-Founder of demand-side ad platform.
“Last-touch [attribution] has been a convenient way for agencies to show their clients provided value. But at the end of the day, it is not the metric that most brands care about as it only tells one small part of the brand-building story,” Pickles said.
Simon Poulton, senior director of digital intelligence at agency Wpromote, agrees — to a point. “We often talk about [last-touch attribution’] demise, but it has been greatly exaggerated as so many marketers continue to use it as their ‘source of truth.’ If I had to pick a theme for 2019, it would be the democratization of attribution,” Poulton continued, adding that platforms like the just-released Facebook Attribution and possibly-soon-to-be-released Google Attribution will provide some basic attribution functions to all marketers. “With that said, there is still a significant amount of education required for marketing leaders, and it’s likely this movement will be slow until frustration with existing attribution solutions boils over.”
There will be more investment in first-party data management
A byproduct of an increase in data being collected, stored, processed, analyzed and used to re-target customers is a greater need to manage it, and it is only poised to get more unwieldy.This year saw a proliferation of customer data platforms (CDP) to manage data, but David Raab, founder of the vendor-neutral CDP Institute, told attendees at our MarTech conference in October that CDPs are not a “silver bullet” capable of solving all consumer data problems.
Kabir Shahani, CEO and co-founder of CDP Amperity agrees, saying that he believes companies will move away from end-t0-end systems and toward a greater reliance on unified tools that allow them to use different types of first-party data collected with consent in 2019.
“In 2019, brands will continue to invest more in their own first-party data investments,” Shahani said. “They’ll still use second-party data to expand their audiences and third-party data to fill gaps, but the big difference is that they’ll use these assets much more surgically. After they have a unified, complete view of their own customers based on their first party data, they’ll intelligently fill the remaining gaps, which will be few and far between, and use that data in a way that’s compliant with data privacy laws. The more they master their first party data, the less they’ll spend on others’ data, for dramatic cost savings in 2019, and a much more sustainable approach to customer relationships.”
We’ll see progress toward a federal data privacy law
In the wake of California’s recently passed “GDPR-style” consumer-friendly data privacy law, talk about a federal data privacy law has heated up. A federal law, though, could have far-reaching implications both for businesses that process data as well as those that rely on data for marketing and advertising.
Businesses and tech groups have been lobbying Congress to communicate their concerns, with the hope that a federal law would pre-empt California’s law before it goes into effect in January 2020. But despite their concerns, draft federal privacy legislation, introduced in November by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), imposes harsh penalties that includes the possibility of jail time for executives who misuse customer data.
Despite what happens legislatively, it doesn’t have to be a negative for brands, says customer data platform AgilOne’s CEO and Founder Omer Artun. “In fact, it will help to create a more trusted relationship that the consumer actually wants because companies will be only able to market to customers who want to receive that marketing. Rather than being chased around the web by every company whose website a consumer visits, consumers will receive marketing from brands they want to engage with.”
Artun says that this will create a stronger bond between brands and their customers, and in return, customers will be more loyal to the brand. “It will also force brands to be smarter in investing ad dollars into consumers who will be receptive to their advertising. By respecting their right to privacy, brands can turn these new laws into a positive and a win-win for them and consumers,” he said.