What trends had the biggest impact on digital advertising in 2018?
The confidence that people have in platforms to protect their information and allow them a safe environment to create and engage dwindled last year. Digital trust had been declining over the course of the year with the implications of GDPR on businesses. For companies, distrust has negative financial consequences and this growing distrust has certainly hit a number of companies this year.
Outside of the ongoing technology trends, when people look back on 2018 they will see it as the year of enforced change. As marketers in 2018, we had to react to a number of updates that were out of our control. These included but were not limited to GDPR, Parallel Tracking and the opening up of Google Shopping to Comparison Shopping Services. Whilst we constantly have to be adaptable to small changes, such as Google’s recent update to [exact match] in paid search, the three changes above represent mammoth transformations to the digitalscape, and are ones that will have a long-lasting impact on our industry.
How do you see these evolving in 2019?
Unfortunately, I think we are likely to see the distrust grow in 2019, which is likely to create more issues for audience targeting and campaign measurement. ITP 2.0 came into force at the tail end of 2018, limiting our ability to view activity on IOS. With the US equivalent of GDPR also set to come into effect in 2020, it is likely to form part of everyone’s agenda in the year ahead.
These growing regulations, software updates and increased ad blocking are going to create more blind spots in our customer journeys. Blind spots limit our ability to target, reducing our effectiveness and ultimately impacts investment. With this lack of trust increasing, these holes in our campaigns are only likely to expand in 2019.
However, GDPR is not the end of it! Digital privacy worries will grow in 2019 with the ongoing spread of the Internet of Things (IoT). This catch 22 of users wanting more convenience and conversely more privacy is unlikely to go away. Expect many hacking and data breach stories to be in the media in 2019, and expect it to influence consumer perceptions of our industry.
Although ePrivacy is not quite on our doorstep yet, we can also expect this to form a larger part of conversations as the year goes on. What’s more, we can also anticipate new privacy laws being heavily influenced by the issues we face around hacking this year.
Outside of this, I expect other key areas that will influence our industry this year to be Brexit (sorry – had to be mentioned once), false advertising and in-housing.
Is 2019 going to be the year of AI? Do you see any other technologies coming to the forefront of the industry?
Every year, people say it will be the year of AI. In reality, it is far more likely to creep up on us over the next decade without us realizing. Saying that, if you pay close attention to the news there will be several key advancements in 2019. They are likely to take the form of more widespread use of chatbots and virtual assistants (VA). This is likely to open the door to these technologies as advertising platforms, with Google already testing local inventory ads through their VA.
The widespread adoption of more cloud platforms is also likely to take place in 2019, which will take us a step closer to the adoption of AI platforms as a service. These platforms will do more than manage our advertising campaigns; they will form a major part of decision making at a business level.
What are you looking forward to most in 2019?
Digital marketers are adopting more Automation and Machine Learning technologies every year. Ultimately, this is paving the way for a shift from more manual advertising to automated feed-based advertising. This shift has been accelerated by data warehouses capable of holding vast amounts of data. This data is Automation and Machine Learning fuel and as these databases grow so will the power of our automation.
As a result of this, we are likely to see feed-based advertising to grow in importance in 2019. As someone who specializes in feed management and automation, this makes me very excited for 2019 indeed.
Where should brands be investing in 2019?
It has been one of the most overused words in recent years, but now omnichannel is more important than ever. We saw a huge number of high-street staples struggle this year, including Debenhams, Toys R Us, Maplin and House of Fraser. This means that brands are going to have to claw their customers back to the high street or risk losing this outlet or their clients forever.
Creating a seamless omnichannel will be a vital investment for brands in 2019. Whilst we see plenty of travel and banking brands already deeply rooted in omnichannel, it seems retail is lagging behind somewhat. Oasis has made big steps in this area with in-store iPads, which are used as cash registers, research vessels and can be used to place online orders for any out of stock items.
Expect movements towards Augmented Reality (AR), where people can try clothes, glasses and makeup on without actually changing and further innovations around smart checkouts already used effectively by Decathlon sports store. By making the experience more enjoyable and seamless with the digital world, people will start enjoying the brick-and-mortar store once more.
What can we expect from NMPi over the course of the next year?
In 2018, we invited Joystick into our growing family, bringing together media (NMPi), technology (DQ&A) and creative (Joystick). Expect us to expand our partnerships with our sister companies and further our solutions to better reach the customer during their journey.
We are also anticipating more to come from our shopping comparison service By Buy Bye, as we look to grow the success we have already had since we launched back in July 2018. This will involve continued success in the Google Shopping space as we look to establish ourselves as one of the only agencies who are a premium partner. As well as this, we will look to enhance and improve our website, to ensure that we are offering customers a seamless journey.
Fred is Performance Manager at NMPi. An experienced data scientist, Fred joined NMPi in 2016 and now works as part of the rapidly expanding Performance Marketing team.
He has helped the company to develop its Google Shopping proposition, developing bespoke tools for real-time account management, with applications in Feed Creation & Management, Product Listing Ads as well as Traditional Paid Search. Fred’s scripts have revolutionised the way NMPi manages campaigns and have allowed them to offer Google Shopping on a risk-free CPA.
NMPi is an international, digital marketing agency with offices in the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the US. We have over 14 years of experience delivering market-leading, global strategies across Paid Search, Display, Paid Social and Analytics. Having worked across a wide range of industries including fashion, retail, iGaming and travel, NMPi offers rich data and insights for our clients. Our list of clients includes Eurail, Harvey Nichols, Hero Gaming and Freeview. Our holistic approach to digital advertising combines innovative technology and a talented team of data-driven analysts, helping ambitious brands grow by unlocking opportunities and aligning channels to realise their true value.