The year 2020 was not a good year for predictions. When the virus hit, all predictions became instantly obsolete and the entire world was navigating blind. As we start 2021, industry leaders look ahead more cautiously. ‘Predictions’ may fall short as the ecosystem is presented with challenges it doesn’t have the tools to fix. However, digital advertising trends have emerged which can help the industry predict expected changes in the immediate future.
By: Elie Kanaan
Consumer naivete is a thing of the past
The advertising industry has traditionally relied on consumer naivete as to how consumer data is used for advertising. Yet, thanks to documentaries like The Great Hack and The Social Dilemma, consumers have woken up to the value of their data and the importance of privacy. Couple this with the severe digital fatigue consumers face in today’s ‘work from home’ environment and it’s clear old tactics need to change.
The fact is, most consumers now understand the advertising value exchange. Ogury research found 70% of consumers were willing to receive a certain amount of useful ads in exchange for free content. It’s important to remember consumers don’t hate all digital advertising — only useless, invasive, and irrelevant ads. To be successful in a time of severe advertising fatigue, brands must respond to consumer demand and provide authentic ways to engage with consumers.
Contextual advertising won’t be enough
Google’s commitment to phase out third-party cookies by January 2022 and Apple’s changes to the Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFA), which requires consumer consent to data sharing, are both major shifts for the industry. Without third-party cookies and IDFA, it’s understandable advertisers feel left in the dark.
Yet, these types of challenges foster innovation. Relevance will no longer equate to personalization. And contextual advertising, however improved, won’t be enough. A new approach will emerge that meets advertisers’ need for sustainable performance and effective protection.
Sustainable performance is the new focus
In the past, advertisers were forced to prioritize short term gains, placing their brands at risk of fraud and legal and reputational damage. Juniper Research revealed advertisers’ total loss to fraud will rise to $100 billion by 2023 by spoofing advertising networks to falsify ad clicks and displayed ads.
With consumer awakening, the effects of legislation, and the heightened risk of fraud, compromise on protection is no longer viable. The digital advertising industry must step up to strike the right balance between efficiently delivering expected results, while also protecting brands and consumers alike.
2021 will see the return of the hallmark of great advertising
For too long advertisers favored bottom of the funnel conversion tactics, coupled with last-click attribution to drive incremental sales or app installs. Everyone realizes these approaches do not deliver the performance they promise. It is time to refocus on the fundamentals of advertising: brand and product discovery with ads that attract consumers instead of harassing them. Digital advertising aimed at building brand equity addresses consumer demand for authentic engagement, reduces fraud, and eliminates the illusion of performance with opaque attribution.
After nearly a year of virtual interaction and heightened digital fatigue, consumers crave authentic engagement. Today, 54% of US consumers expect to become more digitally engaged with brands over the next 12 to 24 months, while more than half of them have spurned personalization to preserve their privacy. Innovative brands will look to re-engage consumers, refocus on the fundamentals, and return to the true value of digital advertising — building sustainable awareness and product affinity.
Elie Kanaan is Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer of Ogury.