10 digital advertising predictions for 2019

By Lorna White


London, United Kingdom


This year has seen huge growth in digital ad spend. In particular, growth in the market has been driven by video and mobile video.

eMarketer looks ahead at trends for 2019 with big players such as Facebook coming under ever-increasing scrutiny and GDPR having an impact on data policy. The eMarketer team looks at 10 key digital trends and predictions in its report, “Predictions for What Will Matter to Marketers, and What Won’t.”

The 10 predictions and my summaries of these predictions are:

Prediction No. 1: More transparency. Where spend in digital is growing, marketers are paying more attention to where their budget is going. Brands need to be clear on where their budget is going in terms of data, tech, and media, which have traditionally been wrapped up in one cost. In addition to this cost breakdown upfront, reporting back on delivery to quantify the impact of spend also comes into focus.

Prediction No. 2: Facebook ad revenues will hold steady, but not usage. Facebook usage is beginning to decline as users shift to different platforms. As seen in TV advertising, Facebook advertising investment will remain steady in 2019, but it’s a part of the digital ecosystem where brands could drive efficiencies.

Prediction No. 3: Voice tech moves beyond speakers. Amazon Echo and Google Home are dominating the smart speaker market. But as consumers get increasingly comfortable with voice tech, the Internet of Things (IoT) could become a more mainstream reality in 2019.

Prediction No. 4: TV ad targeting will improve. TV broadcasters have been notoriously slow to adapt to shifting audience behaviours to hold their power in the market. However, with the threat from additional viewing platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime as well as moves from Google and Facebook, linear TV in 2019 will need to adapt.

Prediction No. 5: Digital is reinventing brick-and-mortar. The highstreets are changing with many retailers seeing an impact on their performance due to consumers “abandoning” physical stores. This year will see more brands partnering with digital platforms to innovate and breathe life back into their physical environments.

Prediction No. 6: Digital security concerns will grow. Linked to prediction No. 3, with the increase in IoT devices, security concerns will grow. Personal data such as biometrics through wearable devices or smart security cameras are open to the possibility of hacking. With usage growth, consumers will need to protect their data. Brands should be aware of how useful this data could be in targeting but also where the line needs to be drawn from an intrusive perspective.

Prediction No. 7: Cord cutting will accelerate. With subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime growing, consumers’ consideration of paying for TV services begins to decline and they question the value of these services. For brands, this means connected TV becomes a more exciting proposition to reach audiences due to the wealth of accurate data.

Prediction No. 8: Google will face serious search competition. Voice search is becoming more popular, which means the way consumers search is changing. For the first time since the advent of search and the rise in Google’s dominance, the company has a genuine threat. Brands need to be aware of how voice search will impact the way consumers find their companies and adapt their search strategies accordingly.

Prediction No. 9: Audience targeting will get harder. The advantage of using digital is the vast amount of data available to inform targeting and pinpoint an audience. In the United Kingdom, we saw an initial dip in data availability after the implementation of GDPR in May 2018, but this swiftly recovered. As consumers become more aware of how they share their data, availability of targeting could mean some holes in the marketing system that brands need to be aware of.

Prediction No. 10: Glut of digital video content will curb spending. Binge watching has been increasing, and with so much quality content being produced, it’s clear consumers don’t have enough time to watch everything. Therefore, investing in long-form content will begin to decrease, which means brands need to be aware of where consumers are focusing their time.

Finally, although 5G introduction will be great for consumers, it won’t be widely available in 2019, so it will not have an impact on the market until 2020. The duopoly of Facebook and Amazon will be under pressure but will still stay strong in 2019, and brands need to be aware of how they invest while not being fully reliant on them.

Overall, consumer digital usage will remain strong. Further, with more technologies being available (voice, IoT, wearables), consumer reliance on digital platforms will continue to grow in 2019 and beyond. Brands should continue their investment and long-term marketing strategies to deliver meaningful content to consumers at the relevant and right times.

About Lorna White

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