January 8, 2021
Performance Advertising in 2021: Predictions, Wishlists, and Resolutions (Part 2)
To close out 2019, we collected thoughts from our experts across all of our offices for a new year-end series to find out their wishlists, predictions, and resolutions for 2020. Read the first post in the series covering the performance ad channels you already know, the second post on performance ad channels poised to break out, and the third on the latest marketing tactics that are increasing in popularity.
Jeremy, on Regulation & Performance Measurement:
Sorry, data-driven digital marketers: Attribution will get even more difficult in 2020. You’ll need to adapt to data losses caused by platform changes like Apple’s ITP, new regulations like the CCPA, and other restrictions on collection.
Instead of looking for perfect data, marketers should instead focus on good data that’s actionable. Incrementality will become more important and incrementality testing can be a powerful tool when its uses and limitations are understood properly.
Marketers will continue to have options to get in front of the right audience at the right time with the right message; attribution plays a part in that process, but it’s not the only consideration and should not be the sole determinant for how marketing decisions are made. Get comfortable making more decisions based on where your audience is and the right message to reach them, and not as much on the last-click results. The upshot here is that you’ll probably be making more innovative and growth-oriented decisions taking this approach.
Brendan, on Browser Privacy:
I expect we’ll see continued challenges in attribution as the various dominant browsers move to add more tools to protect consumer privacy, while doing what they can to limit the loss of measurement from the cookie-centric era. Simultaneously, we should see increased dominance by the largest players with their walled gardens – Google, Facebook, and now even Amazon and most high-growth platforms like LinkedIn and others.
These two factors will cause further fractures in attribution, and each big ad platform will push for adoption of their holistic attribution product. So in 2020, expect an arms race among the walled gardens to come to the fore, where each tries to expand their attribution framework into competitor environments, while those competitors work to block that data sharing. It’s a cat-and-mouse game in which your marketing data is the mouse.
So what should be on your wishlist? Getting performance data in a vacuum from each platform will be better in some ways (user-based attribution) and worse in others (deduplication). Marketers will want to prepare by finding data models that measure the impact of your ad channels beyond how it’s being reported to you in each platform.
Contributor: Josh McClauss, Sr. Director of Marketing
With another year’s worth of time, intrepid marketing entrepreneurs managed to add another 2,040 new technologies for CMOs to consider. That’s almost six new apps being created every day in 2019 (and multiply that by the dozens of pitch emails you’re getting every day, too).
I’m a proud podcast nut and always need something in my ear. What am I wishing for in 2020? Someone to try to tackle breaking down this insane landscape in podcast form. Ideally, the host would be able to keep enough of a handle on each category to dive deep on what actually makes a given piece of marketing technology essential or uniquely valuable. And of course they’d have to make it entertaining. What? Too much?
I would also take some consolidation of the best ideas into the leading tools. Running a cutting edge marketing organization now requires as much time in invoice tracking as it does actually using the tools you’ve purchased.
Contributor: Derek Martin, Associate Director, Analytics & Product
I anticipate that 2020 will be a promising year of development and growth for Google Data Studio.
As seen over the past year, Google’s team is really focused on making this a new pillar product for their marketing suite. If you’re happy with some aspects of GDS and frustrated with others, expect rapid product iteration and new feature rollout to continue overcoming those issues.
Beyond that, I definitely foresee a premium version of Google Data Studio 360, most likely based on the recent acquisition of Looker. Marketers who have put time into the core version over the past couple of years will probably have a lot of their needs addressed as those products dovetail.
The potential for new data connections is huge. One we’d love to see added is Google’s TV attribution added to the mix.
Contributor: Hannah Terjanian, Designer
This year, I’m wishing for increased creative control over Responsive Display Ads on Google’s Display Network. My prediction is that Google will start to favor this ad type more and more, as it relies on two things Google cares a lot about – algorithmic bidding and filling their huge variety of display real estate with ads.
That volume and flexibility is an advantage for marketers using RDAs, but it comes with the distinct disadvantage that Google can edit your ad however it pleases – single headlines that don’t make sense, text-only ads, or image ads that don’t meet brand expectations. Like with Google building its search reputation on relevance, it should build its display reputation on brand control and safety. In 2020, I’m looking for Google to give us a wider variety of editing options for RDAs, and the ability to exclude certain formats from displaying.
For more in this series: