Written by Bertrand Cocallemen
When I was asked to give my top predictions for advertising in 2019, I hesitated. Everyone writes about trends this time of year—and I was skeptical.
But after giving it some thought, I knew it made sense. Advertising has changed on a macro scale in the last year. We need to take stock of what’s happened, and identify what’s around the bend. So when pulling together a list of trends, I decided to think big—and focus on the massive behavioral changes that are shifting our industry.
At the end of the day, I think 2019 will see both some risks, and some big opportunities for advertisers. And these will show up through five distinct trends.
Trend #1: Transparency, Accountability, and Safety Will Rise in Relevance
Data collection in advertising has become a hot topic—one that’s wrought with controversy. Facebook has been no stranger to this.
After the 2016 election and the continued onslaught of fake news, Facebook took hit after hit of bad PR for their lack of transparency. They’re facing trust issues from consumers and brands.
But brands aren’t responding the way they should. Advertisers talk often about transparency, but many haven’t at all changed their Facebook advertising strategies. I don’t believe this is sustainable—and I envision 2019 will see an epic shift.
It comes down to three things: transparency, accountability, and safety. The platforms and publishers that commit to data transparency and privacy will gain trust. They’re the ones that consumers will flock to, and the ones that brands should align themselves with in order to see tangible results by connecting with consumers in safe, quality environments.
Trend #2: Go Big or Go Home
In today’s ecosystem, consumers are faced with dozens of options for any given purchase. With so many choices, it often comes down to who can make the biggest, most memorable impression. As a result, brands are getting braver—and will continue to do so in big ways.
Burger King has been highly successful, led by Fernando Machado. He’s the man behind the industry-disrupting Google Home Super Bowl ad spot. He burned a Burger King restaurant to advertise the flaming burger. And he recently helped the Burger King app earn a spot at the top of the free app ranking by rewarding customers with a 1-cent Whopper if they’re within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location. He’s making a big splash in terms of creative campaigns that bet on pure creativity and ideas that grab headlines. But he’s also doing it without being divisive.
On the other side of the coin, some brands are following consumers and taking a stand on social issues. The most well-known example of a successful political risk is Nike’s 30 years anniversary of the “Just do it” campaign. For the anniversary, the sports retailer launched an ad with Colin Kaepernick in early September—resulting in the company’s highest stock price in history. Here’s where the importance of creativity shines through—and how a strategic and well-thought-out risk can pay off in spades.
Trend #3: Embrace AI-Assisted Advertising
Technological advances are inevitable. I think in that vein, the creative industry will, at last, wholeheartedly embrace artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning. Until recently, the struggle has been about quantity: there’s been an overwhelming amount of data to parse through, and with it, so many disruptions that it was natural to want to take a step back.
The rise of more powerful and friendly AI and deep learning solutions will allow us to cut more cleanly through the noise—and leverage only the data and insights that matter. Advertisers will be able to make more informed decisions that lead, in turn, to strategic creative risks. In other words, we can dedicate more time to being creative—and let the best ideas shine through.
A good example of creativity assisted by science is the in-house creative team at Spotify. They’ve used the data from their platform to create traditional ad formats in a brand voice that is connected to society. Consider their 2018 goals campaign: the music streaming platform took real-life playlists by real users and created witty posters. And this year, they’ve piggy backed on that idea with more data-based campaigns. It’s about connecting with their user-base but it all stems from their ability to leverage data.
The next frontier for our industry is predictive advertising. AI helps us store and analyze a huge amount of data. With deep learning in the mix, we are now able to understand what’s going to happen next. We will be able to predict when the audience will be most interested in watching your video, when and how they will engage, and more. This is game changing—especially when you consider the fact that digital advertising currency is based heavily on impressions.
Trend #4: Personalized & Self-Optimized Advertising
The beauty of leveraging data is that it allows you to make campaigns more targeted and successful. This will get better and better as time goes on. Optimizing for weather, location, time of day will be integral to the future of personalized advertising.
Say you’re creating ads for a car manufacturer, and you’re targeting a consumer in a context of content about travel and road trips. Wouldn’t it make sense to show the multimedia feature with kids enjoying the journey?
It’s that kind of personalized ad targeting (and creative thinking) that will be the name of the game in the years to come. The truth is, optimization has never truly existed until now. And Teads is leading the charge with our capabilities. We are able to leverage our algorithms and dynamic creatives to create optimized campaigns that are based on audience behaviors. The results are astounding: 150% increase in brand awareness, 30% video completion rate, and 40% increase in click through rates.
Trend #5: The Intersection of Brand Perception and Mixed Reality
Technology is vastly changing the way we speak and interact with consumers. Ad campaigns are no longer limited to print, digital, and video. Mixed reality experiences are here to stay.
Virtual reality is literally exploding: devices are getting more affordable, content options are through the roof, and storytellers are working to leverage this new canvas.
And of course, brands won’t just stick to one format—they’ll use interchangeable mediums for connecting with consumers. This will be especially true as consumers increasingly look to their phones. Advertisers will mix and match creative assets to optimize them for a mobile environment. Consumers will be able to “try on” sunglasses or test out different lipstick shades via AR. It’s all about pushing the bounds to better connect with and engage consumers. The only limit here is how creative you get as an advertiser—and how much risk you’re willing to take.
Macro Trend: Performance Marketing
Working closely with the most relevant brands, media, and creative agencies worldwide, we believe that the advertising industry is shifting to a better, more holistic approach to marketing that simultaneously leverages science and art. In the last couple of years, we have all been challenged to find a more efficient model, one of biggest challenges of media agencies and the number one challenge of CMOs around the globe.
As The Global Media Platform, we’re inspired by the trends we see impacting the industry today, and in the future. And sitting at the intersection of media and creative, we can help brands engage their audiences via mobile and native creative solutions that are backed by outcome driven media solutions within professionally produced content. 2019 is going to be a year for innovation & creativity within the bounds of brand-safe environments, and I look forward to seeing more daring and exciting creative this year.