Predictions 2020: Search, Performance Marketing, Video, Programmatic, Data, AI

Marketers and agency reps are all over the map this year with their 2020 predictions, but one thing is certain -- get ready for an unpredictable year with lots of emerging technology moving to the forefront.

To demystify future trends in everything from search to programmatic and online video, Search Marketing Daily reached out to experts to get their views.

Matthew Mierzejewski, SVP search capability lead at Merkle

Early adopters of auction-time bidding in 2020 could see up to 20% improvement in return on ad spend, because they will have a leg up on the SEM competitive. It’s analogous to counting cards at the blackjack table -- you have increased your odds, tipping the scales in your favor to make the right bets. Obviously, in this case, we are talking about bids per SEM ad auction instead of bets per hand.

Although AI will be leveraged in auction-time bidding, advertisers will still have plenty of influence over the ad landscape by articulating audience intelligence, distinct key performance indicator goals, business data and intelligence and other proprietary signals to guide the machine.

Burcu Agma, VP of planning and insights at Performics

Digital signals from consumers will lead the way in making search and performance marketing a Behavioral Insights Machine in 2020. For years, we’ve talked about the importance of personalization, and some innovative brands and platforms have started leveraging digital signals to better understand consumer intent. 

In 2020, brands will invest more in performance marketing for time, energy and dollars. They will put it into testing and iterating their messaging and experiences based on consumer intent signals. 

Those still talking about performance marketing channels in a silo miss the mark. Brands that can see the value of digital signals as a behavioral insights machine will identify key consumer mindsets, and enhance brand relevance.

Jonathan Kagan, VP of search at Cogniscient Media, MARC USA

As search engines loosen match-type requirements, the traditional concept and purpose of the keyword continues to die -- at least dying in the traditional sense of search marketing.

In 2020, I expect more automation that will make the engine responsible for the bidding process, which in turn reduces the need for developing positive keyword lists.

I also think more brands will stop complaining and rethink competitive bidding strategies and not focus so much on the immediate return on investment, but take more of a market share mentality. This will lead to more brands adopting the tactic.

Eric Shih, global SVP at business development at Teads

Voice will represent a large percentage of search, approaching 50% of online searches in 2020, allowing publishers to shift optimization of their content toward voice search results. However, 2020 will not be the year of voice search advertising, as there is still a complex user interface and conversational dialogue to overcome.

David Szetela, founder at FMB Media

I predict Google and Microsoft will use artificial intelligence to power better recommendations and more forensics that explain why key performance indicators have changed, as well as providing specific advice on how to move each in the correct direction.

Kerel Cooper, SVP global marketing at LiveIntent

2020 will be the year publishers begin to make use of the incredible vaults of data. They are the true drivers of the online economy, driving traffic and eyeballs with content people want to read.

By way of the content, publishers have incredible amounts of first-party data, which has become increasingly important as browsers like Safari limit how third-party cookies are captured, stored and used. 

This first-party data can be the key to turning mobile and web inventory into addressable inventory to dramatically boost revenue. This ability to personalize their own sites allows publishers to build a bulwark against Google and Facebook, whose walled gardens are clearly not benefiting publishers.

Ken Weiner, CTO of GumGum

I’m expecting to see DSPs and exchanges begin merging this year. Certain DSPs will be bought by exchanges and certain exchanges will be acquired by DSPs, but in the end we’re only going to be left with full-service platforms serving advertisers and publishers. That’s just an inevitable culmination for the push to supply path optimization.

Dennis Buchheim, EVP & GM of the IAB Tech Lab

Foundational changes stemming from privacy and transparency will bring more change in digital advertising than in any year prior to 2000. Privacy laws, browser cookie changes, and demand for transactional transparency from buy-and-sell sides mean the industry needs to collaborate and embrace relevant standards to develop and communicate privacy choices. It’s needed before considering the alternatives to existing consumer ID-based approaches and to ensure ads are being bought and sold through safe and non-fraudulent channels.

Joline McGoldrick, SVP of data insights and research of VidMob

Brands will recalibrate how they measure marketing success on social. Performance marketers who have been almost 100% focused on sales activations will find themselves maxing out on media optimization and begin to focus on how to meaningfully grow their brand. Conversely, brand marketers will become more experimental with social not just as a reach play, but a tactic to drive meaningful action and conversion.

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