Wondering how to make the most out of your digital marketing campaigns this year? We’ve gathered insights from our industry experts to understand what top digital marketing trends to expect.

From the rise of maximizing the online shopping experience, to programmatic ad buying across Advanced TV, here’s an inside look at some of their predictions for the future of digital marketing in 2020.

2020 Social Media Marketing Trends

Insights from
Sarah Bondoc,
Director of Campaign Management & Media Buying, AdParlor

What would you say are some emerging trends in paid social?

Today brands are more savvy. Brands have evolved from the earlier days of social where engagement and awareness initiatives played a prominent role in strategy, to a direct response, performance marketing approach. As a result of this shift, I’ve noticed paid social has become more and more sophisticated. 

Instead of focusing on generating purchases and direct returns, brands are now putting importance on maximizing Customer Life Time Value (LTV) for net new and existing customers through loyalty programs. Currently, there are very few products and capabilities built around this within paid social, but I think this will change over the next year or so.

What platform features do retailers need to tap into to enhance and increase online shopping spend?

Time is money, literally. One of the most important platform features retailers need to tap into in order to enhance and increase online shopping spend is the checkout experience. You can start by reducing the number of steps it would take for someone to complete a purchase. Brands need to find a way to pre-populate a majority of the user information without requiring a user to sign-in to their customer profile. (Of course taking into consideration user privacy laws). Retailers can do this by accepting more payment methods beyond credit cards and PayPal (i.e. Apple Pay or Facebook Pay). And leveraging learnings from some of the largest social platforms.

What is the best way to apply a personalized strategy to paid social in 2020?

A personalized strategy theoretically yields the best results. However, one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, is that it is also possible to over-customize. In order to achieve efficiency and results, a strong personalized strategy is one that balances relevant and high-quality audiences. If your strategies have hit that sweet spot, an audience that’s slightly larger but more qualified will yield better returns. This is because it is more cost-efficient to serve impressions to this audience vs. hyper-targeting a very small audience with higher delivery costs and overlapping creative iterations.

Learn more about AdParlor’s advanced media buying capabilities here.

2020 Programmatic Advertising Trends

Insights from
Morgan Rigsbee,
VP, Product & Strategy, Fluent Programmatic

How will programmatic help to redefine the ad experience across advanced TV in 2020?

Consumers are cutting the cord faster than budgets can keep up. According to eMarketer, in two years, nearly 25% of US households will be cord-cutters, but today, CTV budgets only equal 10% of what’s put towards traditional linear buys. Right now, advanced TV is still a bit “wild west” in terms of standardization and measurement (not unlike programmatic only a short decade ago). However, there is so much opportunity and potential to do things you can’t do effectively with linear – from true cross-screen attribution and journey mapping, to individual-level addressable targeting and dynamic creative optimization. The more buying CTV becomes like programmatic, the more efficient, and ultimately effective, it will become.

What does the impending death of third-party cookies mean for marketers? What role will second- and first-party data play for marketers in the new year?

The death of third-party cookies for marketers really cements the shift towards more audience-based buying and will force more transparency into who that audience is, and how it’s built. Long gone are the days of buying everyone’s favorite generic third-party aggregated auto-intender audience. Brands and publishers alike are going to have to focus on a privacy-safe approach to data collection and identity management when it comes to their first-party data. To maintain scale and addressability, marketers will turn to trusted second-party data providers to supplement their first-party insights. Marketers will require transparency into data sourcing, audience building methodology, and privacy when evaluating new data partners.

Learn more about Fluent’s data for programmatic targeting here.

2020 Mobile App Marketing Trends

Insights from
George Eames,
Sr. Director, Mobile Operations, Fluent

Down-funnel actions are becoming more valuable than app installs. What key metrics will matter most to mobile app marketers in 2020?

In a freemium-dominated space, in-app purchases (IAPs) will continue to gain dominance as a key performance metric. In-app purchases enable publishers to create long term-revenue opportunities supported by their most valuable users. While only about 3.5% of gamers spend money in-app, those users account for a majority of IAP revenue, spending 30x more than the average gamer. Though proxy events like registrations, level completions, and trial sign-ups, are strong leading indicators of success, publishers will struggle to measure lifetime value without down-funnel purchase data.  

Is the subscription model the future of mobile gaming?

Subscription services like Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass have certainly shaken up the mobile gaming world, but the IAP model will remain a key source of revenue for apps in the coming year. In 2018 alone, over 95% of consumer spend on mobile gaming came from games that offered in-app purchases. Subscription gaming products like Apple Arcade were largely created for indie game developers who couldn’t monetize with traditional IAPs. While the subscription model will open new pathways to revenue and allow publishers to reach and engage users via non-traditional gaming experiences, the economics don’t always make sense for the larger developers who see greater returns on IAP monetization.

What app category will drive the next wave of growth for the app economy?

To me, cashback shopping will drive the next wave of growth. As we’ve seen from Ibotta’s billion-dollar valuation in August as well as Rakuten’s massive rebrand, there’s a lot of buzz around the “cash back” model. Compared to other app categories like dating and gaming, shopping app users are inexpensive to acquire and show the highest engagement rates. According to a recent survey from Ibotta, 63% of those who have used their phones to make an in-store purchase were motivated by payment methods that offer rewards, rebates, and cashback. After all, who doesn’t want to receive cashback on everyday grocery and retail purchases?

Learn more about Fluent’s solutions for mobile user acquisition here.


2020 Email Marketing Trends

Insights from
Jeff Pavelcsyk,
Industry VP, Consumer Goods & Lifestyle, Fluent

What does the future of email look like for marketers?

While new developments in data privacy regulations impact every type of marketing to one extent or another, they are particularly relevant to the email marketing industry. From new rules regarding the collection of consumer data, to best practices for addressing general opt-out requests, marketers must make it a point to understand how recent and upcoming laws and regulations (i.e. General Data Protection Act (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), etc.), will impact their email programs.

How will email marketers measure success in the new year?

Email has always relied on the ability to leverage a wide variety of data to optimize future performance. Successful email marketers are experts at analyzing their key performance indicators (KPIs), running tests to identify changes in the data, analyzing the results, and then using that information to optimize the next campaign. This is typically accomplished by focusing almost entirely on positive KPIs (sales, clicks, conversions, etc.) and ignoring a wealth of valuable data in a campaign’s so-called ‘negative marketing signals.’ Insights gathered from opt-outs, spam reports, and other data points that identify non-responders can be used to reduce these types of negative responses and drive future performance.

What are some pitfalls email marketers should avoid in 2020?

  • Continuing to ignore mobile – Upwards of 75% consumers say they use their smartphones most often to check emails.  Marketers must ensure their emails look great across mobile devices by using a responsive email template, avoiding large image files, using buttons for calls to action, and breaking up long paragraphs.
  • Hiding the unsubscribe link – Marketers can either make their unsubscribe link visible or hide it deep in the footer of their emails.  If they choose the latter, they could jeopardize not only their legal compliance with GDPR and other privacy laws but deliverability too.  Marketers should make it easy for people to opt-out and discontinue sending email campaigns to those who decide to unsubscribe.
  • Sending the same email to everyone – Relevance is the key to successful email marketing. Using a ‘one size fits all’ approach no longer works. Readers want messages that address their specific challenges. To customize their messaging to each recipient, marketers must first segment their email list into different groups.  Segmenting audiences and delivering personalized messaging can result in higher email click-through rates and more engaged customers.

Learn more about Fluent’s email marketing solutions here.