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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Digital advertising trends that will dominate publishing in 2020

January 2, 2020 | By Afton Brazzoni, Copywriter – Lineup Systems @lineupsystems

The digital advertising landscape is constantly—and rapidly—evolving. Both publishers and advertisers will continue to see shifts in their businesses in 2020 as new technologies gather increased market share. Those who can harness these innovations to forge stronger connections with customers will have an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and drive revenue.

Staying on top of industry trends is crucial for brands vying for consumers’ attention. However, it can be equally challenging and time-consuming. The team at Lineup Systems compiled a list of predictions for publishers to kick off the conversation. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

Publishers will optimize for voice search

As we gain clarity on which technologies and business models signal trends rather than fads, voice technology is first in line. Voice began generating buzz in the marketplace in 2019, and its growing popularity is undeniable.

“There’s a lot of potential surrounding voice technology, and how to monetize it is the next challenge,” says Sarah Hartland, marketing manager and editor of Lineup Systems’ industry blog, the Newsroom.

It’s clear that the next generation of consumers will search for and buy products primarily through voice technology. By 2022, 55% of households are expected to own smart speakers. And voice searches are estimated to make up half of all online searches. Voice is on track to become a $40-billion channel. This means publishers need to optimize their digital content for voice search to get ahead.

“It’s very positive that publishers are having discussions around voice even if they haven’t quite nailed down how it’s going to generate revenue,” Hartland says.

Publishers will get increasingly creative with subscription models

Subscription models will continue to be relevant in 2020 and present exciting opportunities to reach audiences. Publishers need only look at the profound impact the direct-to-consumer model has had on the retail industry for inspiration and motivation.

The impressive success of subscription models can be largely attributed to personalization. The curated nature of subscriptions helps alleviate the overwhelm that consumers often experience when faced with too many choices. As a result, people are willing to pay for personalized experiences that one-off purchases simply can’t deliver.

Publishers are taking cues from the subscription box model and creating their own offerings. The New York Times kids’ print subscription is one example of an effort to get children away from screens and build brand loyalty. The Seattle Times is one of several media outlets selling subscriptions on Groupon, while The Financial Times bundles its print and digital content for a set price.

Publishers who make the effort in 2020 to understand how their audience wants to consume their content will reap the benefits of the subscription model trend.

Data privacy regulations will benefit brands

Data privacy regulation is top of mind for advertisers and publishers alike due to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), effective on January 1, 2020. Compounded with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ePrivacy Regulation, this new law signals that data privacy is an issue the digital advertising industry must continue to grapple with. Therefore, it’s time for publishers and advertisers to get creative.

“Because publishers can no longer rely on third-party data, they have to find or build new consent management platforms with first-party data in mind,” says Tiffany Kelly, digital product manager at Lineup Systems.

It’s crucial that publishers diversify their revenue streams and clearly articulate their value to consumers in exchange for opt-in consent. This will help mitigate the impact of consumer privacy laws on their businesses in 2020 and beyond.

Contextual targeting is part of the solution, because unlike audience-based targeting, it reduces the need to use personal data to reach people and has resulted in purchase intent increases of up to 63%.

“We have to recognize this shift as a positive thing,” says Hartland. “Nuances like double opt-ins and cookies can be a pain to figure out. But it will ultimately lead to some exciting long-term benefits around industry leadership, audience loyalty, and data quality.”

Getting in the game is the only way to win

It’s true that as new technology enters the marketplace, it brings challenges with it. However, brands that can adapt can make this work to their advantage in 2020. Publishers and advertisers who can find creative ways to harness the capabilities of new tech will have an opportunity to strengthen their relationships with consumers and drive revenue.

For seven more trends that will dominate 2020, plus a list of ways you can keep up throughout the year, check out Lineup Systems’ free white paper on digital advertising trends. 
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