Navigating digital advertising trends in 2019.

For advertisers, creating meaningful customer experiences is the end goal, but the journey there has just begun. Restoring trust, balancing smart data with creative excellence while delivering great value are dominating the digital advertising landscape. And the road ahead is filled with new challenges. Discover how to stay on top of the latest digital advertising trends this year with the 2019 Digital Trends: Advertising in Focus report.

Digital Advertising Trends 2019

Driving exceptional experiences through digital advertising.

The 2019 Digital Trends: Advertising in Focus report, produced by Econsultancy in partnership with Adobe, explores the key trends in advertising set to dominate the agenda over the next year. Discover some highlights from the report, with key insights and strategies to help improve your digital advertising this year.

2019 top priorities in digital advertising.

This year, digital advertising is dead. Or that seems to be the consensus for industry professionals in other functions. To those in advertising-focused functions, it’s another matter, with 63% of respondents in the survey for the 2019 Digital Trends: Advertising in Focus report listing digital advertising as their number one priority. However, with content and experience management, audience and data management, analytics, and personalisation all rising up the agenda, it’s clear that it’s not just about generating the right content or data anymore, but on actually managing these areas to drive the best possible customer experience  (CX).

Digital Advertising Trends 2019

Delivering the right content at the right time.

In 2019, it’s all about creating quality content, and getting smart with how and when you deliver it. Producing high-quality creative and making sure it’s relevant and is now seen as crucial to engaging customers and ensuring a satisfactory experience. And that means combining high-quality creative and effective use of data.

This is beginning to be picked up on by advertisers, with 17% of respondents listing creating compelling content for digital experiences as their single most exciting opportunity, and 16% listing data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual.

In terms of practical implementation, if you’re bidding within pay-per-click on search terms, it could be worthwhile to use your historical seasonal data to identify trends in content and product popularity. By looking at your seasonality reports, you can evaluate impressions to see when they were higher. This could give you an idea of when particular content or a specific product was more popular—although you’ll have to take into account impression share against impressions, as well as any bidding adjustments that were made

Overcoming challenges. Improving CX.

Staying on top of the challenges that companies face in digital advertising is a universal concern. In 2018 the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) published a Global Media Charter to address industry-wide issues. With seven points concentrating on the fundamentals of digital advertising, leading up to the ever-important point of improving customer experience, it’s clearer than ever this year just how many challenges advertisers must overcome in order to achieve CX excellence.

Many of the fundamentals listed by the (WFA) are related to the technical aspects of digital advertising, much of which can be solved by investing in a comprehensive customer experience management platform that breaks down silos, unifies content, data, and analytics, and enables real-time personalisation through AI.

However, even with a sophisticated technology stack  in place, improving CX will remain elusive until the right kind of data is collected, and the right company-wide mentality is in place. This means recognising that emotion is at play in every experience  and capturing the right information to understand these emotions. When companies collect the right emotional data, provide personalised experiences accordingly, and measure and capture those emotional responses effectively, that’s when they really begin to achieve CX excellence.

Digital Advertising Trends 2019

The value of data in digital advertising.

Data is still very much a focal point for digital advertising this year, with targeting and programmatic offering exciting new opportunities for personalisation. However, while 23% of advertising agency respondents cite data-driven marketing as the single most opportunity for their clients in 2019, on the supply side there has been a shift in focus to optimising CX and creating compelling content. 

While targeting with data is still crucial to digital advertising, the onus is now on advertisers to prove its value. In the report, 46% of respondents cited proving return on advertising spend as their priority, and 40% cited improving advertising efficiency, so proving value and not just ROI is very much top of mind. However, proving value and justifying spend will not be easy. There’s an urgent need for better attribution and a shift in focus from individual channels to the whole customer journey, highlighting the need for effective analytics.

Walled gardens and data silos.

This year, data ownership is on everyone’s minds, with an awareness that Google, Facebook, and now Amazon are in control of a large amount of customer data. But with blind spots in customer information from these “walled garden” data silos, and the need to manage each platform differently, interacting with these three big players is an increasing concern. Our survey found that 38% of respondents consider walled audience data silos the single biggest challenge most likely to keep them awake at night. But with many benefits of working with these companies, particularly in terms of innovations and machine learning, the jury is still out for the time being.


Privacy The transformative effects of GDPR.

Since the launch of GDPR in May 2018, brands have become more responsible and accountable for how they manage the data they collect about their customers. But rather than being seen as a negative, it has been hailed as a much-needed course correction for digital advertising, working as as a positive force for creativity and innovation. Our survey found that 41% of advertisers believe that the increased focus on consumer data protection has had a positive impact on their organisation, which shows it is being noted on the ground. This year combining clean data and high-quality creative will be the one to watch.


Artificial Intelligence

There’s still a lot of ambivalence towards AI across the marketing org, with recent research from venture capital firm MMC showing that, of the startups claiming to offer AI-based solutions, only 60% actually did so. Nonetheless, advertising as a discipline seems keen to align itself with AI solutions. In the 2019 Digital Trends report, we found that those working in advertising are 37% more likely than their peers to say that their companies are using AI. And with AI’s potential, particularly in terms of personalisation at scale and in real-time, it’s no wonder there’s such enthusiasm. However, caution is still critical when it comes to AI, with companies advised to first get their house in order before investing in innovations.


Bots and voice search take centre stage.

AI will continue to innovate digital advertising in new and unexpected ways and this year should be no exception. Our survey showed that 22% of advertisers and 17% of their peers see bots driving both campaigns and experiences in the medium-term future. In 2018, big brands like ASOS already started to reallocate revenue from advertising to voice search and AI, creating their own chatbots, voice search tools and using AI in visual search. It’s safe to say there’ll be plenty more companies following suit in 2019.

See the data. Discover more insights.

“Creativity and metrics are connected. We need to focus much more on quality and relevance – those are two key words for me this year. If you combine quality and relevance, helped by automation, you get very powerful content delivered in very effective ways.”

Mike Klinkhammer, Director of Advertising Sales EU, eBay. 

Key steps to improve your digital advertising:

Balance your efforts.
Create the right content and deliver it at the right time.

Balance your efforts.

Balance your efforts.
Create the right content and deliver it at the right time.

Balance your efforts.

Balance your efforts.
Create the right content and deliver it at the right time.

Balance your efforts.

Start your journey to advertising success.

Download the full report to explore the key trends in advertising set to dominate the agenda in 2019.

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