Marketers are beefing up personnel and partnerships to contend with data and regulations

They say change is the only constant — but in 2020, changes will be occurring with more speed and uncertainty than ever. To keep pace, marketers will be forced to not only stay on top of ever-changing news, data and regulations, but will also need to invest in dynamic problem-solving methods. Internal bandwidth and seamless partnerships will be critical.

To help navigate these changes we’ve brought together the brain trust at NXD. Presiding over an owned-and-operated audience of over 106 million uniques per month across 317 apps and 142 websites [63 percent of the U.S. audience], this team has intricate knowledge of the greater ad/content ecosystem and its many stakeholders. Over time, they have each developed a practical, ever-evolving perspective — and now they’re weighing in on key themes and preparation for a bumpy 2020.

Warren Kay, Chief Revenue Officer

Data disarray

The confusion and scramble to adhere to data legislation will act as a bad hangover to our attempts to drive personalization and targeting in 2020. Legislation is not clear, nor is it practical. Market maker brands will take a conservative interpretation and decide to sit on the sidelines in 2020, giving challenger brands an opportunity to take advantage of the ‘wait-and-see’-model of their larger competitors in the hopes of getting more efficient media rates and better partnership opportunities. History has proven that challenger brands take advantage in times of uncertainty.

The subscription-OTT squeeze

OTT and other cord-cutting mediums will improve and drive faster consumer adoption. UI, UX, pricing and more will all rationalize around enhancing the consumer experience. Brands using ad-free subscription models will have to make difficult decisions if they want to move beyond early adopters and into mainstream consumer markets.

Elections bully their way in

Elections will put pressure on inventory, forcing brands to be more creative about how they reach consumers and forcing greater adoption of non-standard media such as linear broadcast and tier 1 video.

Mark Monarres, data performance lead

Weaning ourselves off of stable IDs

Unless you’ve been on an extended backpacking trip across the Alps, it’s been difficult to escape the discussion of the impending stable ID apocalypse.

It is true that legislation and consumer awareness have and will continue to give control back to users and further limit the practice of audience targeting. But let’s face it, we’ve become lazy and singularly focused on how we operate — we continue to look at ways of maintaining a stable user ID (device graphs, 1st party IDs, etc.) and ways to attach more signals to it. This will still be an important part of the picture, but we can do much better at addressing the issue as a whole.

Change should open us up to see the abundant opportunities that exist. The application of Natural Language Processing, utilization of environmental signals and a prioritization on synchronizing it all with actual performance will be essential in 2020.

Wil Danielson, vp business development & OTT

Impression based currency paves the way to bundling digital and TV

Attribution and data modeling are paramount to the next step of advertising — and many linear broadcasters are moving to an impressions-based currency. This is the precursor to bundling digital with TV to sell via programmatic channels. Programmatic TV is in its earliest stages with OTT and will progress over the next few years to be a fully automated linear experience.

The cookie will crumble

Publishers have been planning for CCPA since GDPR was enacted across the pond. While they still have the ability to target highly engaged audiences, their ability to collect soft data will be hindered. Third-party data sources have the most impact on data collection and marketers might find it more difficult to execute highly targeted digital campaigns. As a result, I believe we will continue to move towards a cookieless environment.

OTT transformation

Another trend we will continue to see is OTT transformation: DSPs moving closer to supply sources in an attempt to cut out SSPs and vice versa. Publishers will continue to search for best yield partners.

Su-Lin K. Velin, vice president strategy, automotive

Auto has finally shifted the media mix and is realizing the value of driving awareness

There’s no vehicle on the market today that is truly unsellable — which means marketers need to put the spotlight on specific features in order to stand out. Showcasing affordability will be essential as the volume of new vehicles continues to decline. However, this drives the emphasis on growing market share.

Interest rates and tariffs continue to be a concern and the loan terms on vehicles continue to expand (now a range of 6-8 years, up from decades of 4-5 years). And as costs go up, so do used-vehicle opportunities. With technology constantly improving — and consumption of new tech rapidly raising the standard — it will be an interesting time for marketers.

Focusing on the emotional factors of car buying is increasingly important at the consumer level. How end-users shop has rapidly evolved as well. Ultimately, finding the right balance between online research, preference, choice and delivery is still a challenge. Attribution of media results continues to be a hot topic and the reality that the mix matters most will be cemented.

Finding the right blend with an overarching strategy for the greatest amount of your potential target, and then customizing that to drive frequency to compel action is critical in 2020.. The political window will also impact placement due to FCC-regulated access to airwaves, which will require mass appeal marketers to think differently. Brand marketing will continue to grow in its influence, driving a greater emphasis on mid-funnel placement and tactics.

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