20 predictions for ’20

We asked our experts what they predict for this year.

01/06 By IAS Team

A new year (and decade) has arrived, and we couldn’t be more excited to see what it holds. Here’s what our team of experts predict to be big in 2020.

Around the world in 5G! The 5G takeover begins
2020 will be the year that 5G begins to scale and go mainstream as wireless service providers expand their tower coverage. Existing mobile users can expect less dependency on local Wi-Fi as they tap into connection speeds up to 100x faster than 4G. Additionally, 5G promises to open up access to the world wide web to more people than ever before. As 5G gets more people online, it will also drive educational and business opportunities to parts of the world that are under-served, introducing a new and larger generation of digital creators, as well as new business and marketing opportunities.

User-generated content domination wins
The vast majority of ad dollars are already going to Google and Facebook, which will continue to grow and consolidate spend. Agencies and advertisers will continue to look for alternatives but this duopoly will continue to be the most effective option. Facebook and YouTube, specifically, will continue to dominate into 2020.

Where there’s smoke…there’s fraud
With the advent of more sophisticated fraud patterns and the content-fueled data boom, rule-based deterministic techniques for catching fraud will become highly ineffective when compared to the sophisticated machine learning models employed by our technology at IAS. Fraudsters will have increasingly greater access to sophisticated technology and the industry will need more sophisticated AI and machine learning technology to be able to catch it.

Ad fraud threatens to influence the outcome of the 2020 elections
2020 is likely to be a record-breaking year for both online and offline political advertising, with some projecting political spending to reach $10 billion. As we have seen time and time again, where digital advertising dollars go, fraudsters are sure to follow. As a leader in the fraud space, we understand that digital ad fraud has the ability to impact the outcomes of elections, posing major risks to candidates’ ad spends. Political ads will be a prime target for fraudsters in 2020, so campaigns will require the most advanced fraud detection and prevention solutions to ensure their advertising messages are reaching real people.

The battle over the political advertisements in the digital world
The policies surrounding political advertising will continue to be significant as we enter an election year. Facebook recently announced they will not fact-check political ads, while Twitter and Spotify have both announced an end to all paid political advertising on their platforms. Likewise, Google has taken a similar, yet more nuanced approach by banning methods of audience targeting such as age, gender, and location. The collective anxiety shown by these industry bodies suggests that they recognize the powerful role played by social media during the last election cycle and are adjusting their respective approaches.

Brand suitability breaks free
An increased brand suitability focus from advertisers means technology needs to do more than just protect ads from risky content. Brands require technology that enables a clear understanding of the nature of webpage content at a greater scale than ever before. This need will be particularly prevalent in Europe and California, where privacy regulations (GDPR and CCPA, respectively) limit the data available for audience targeting.

CCPA, GDPR, and data privacy continue to be hot topics
As the GDPR matures, and with the introduction of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), data privacy will continue to be a growing focus in 2020. The use of digital personal data has marketers reassessing their approach to targeting consumers by encouraging advertisers to look at contextual data points, rather than personal data via cookies.

Without cookies, collaboration will be key
In a cookieless future, audience targeting will have to become contextual. Advertisers will have to work with publishers to combine first-party data insights into programmatic campaigns while maintaining compliance with the advent of privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA. Data decisioning will shift into more PMPs and Programmatic Guaranteed offerings.

Get your X-Ray glasses: More privacy concerns means more transparency
Privacy will remain top of mind for consumers, who have demanded greater transparency into the use of their data. App privacy is certain to get tighter, with stricter rules imposed for brands and greater transparency given to consumers about how their data is used and what information about them can be accessed.

Context is king!
IAS has invested in new technology that will digest information through machine learning and assess an ad’s environment and relevancy using contextual information. Thankfully, contextual targeting doesn’t require leveraging personal data: As more data regulations are implemented, marketers will find it increasingly difficult to use cookies to access their typical consumer data. Our motto for 2020? Context matters.

Learn to read between the lines
AI and machine learning will play a crucial role in developing sophisticated technology that is up to near-human comprehension when it comes to contextual and sentiment analysis—the ability for brands to target based on negative or positive sentiment. Sentiment is an integral part of the suitability conversation, providing an opportunity for the industry to build more intelligent solutions and protect themselves against the growing environments of user-generated content.

The new CTV terrain encourages technological advancements
2020 is the year CTV goes programmatic, creating opportunities for risky brand environments and ad fraud scenarios. As a result, the industry will see verification companies like IAS continue to expand their innovative CTV solutions in 2020 to ensure advertisers and publishers can effectively advertise in the new environment.

Mega-events move Connected TV forward
With mega-events for advertisers, like the Summer Olympics and the 2020 elections, CTV environments will play a key role in reaching younger audiences in the upcoming year. Already, direct-to-consumer brands are heavily invested in CTV advertisements, recognizing that we’re entering a new age of home shopping. As more ad dollars shift to this new environment, with it comes the need to evolve to stay one step ahead of fraudsters and protect media spend.

It’s time to get ahead of the OTT and CTV fraudsters
Fraud in CTV and OTT is likely to grow in sophistication—IAS has already developed the first-ever CTV verification solution that directly integrates with video publishers to validate that video ads are played to completion and fraud-free. The risk that fraud poses to CTV will only increase as this type of inventory becomes available on open exchanges.

Video advertising rises above
Consumption of video content is expected to grow across all devices and is likely to become the main format used across most, if not all, social platforms. In 2020, advertisers will be spending more on digital video than ever before as the format solidifies its status as the lynchpin to online campaigns, particularly within social platforms.

Can you hear me now? Audio makes a comeback
2020 will be a major year for audio. The rise of in-home voice assistants has paved the way for a podcast renaissance. Advertisers have found high engagement rates for ads played during shows, with even more return when the hosts themselves read the ads aloud. But the advertising side of podcasts is still in its infancy, with direct correlations between listener and buyer proving tricky to track. As podcasts undergo a path towards scale, we expect to see dynamic ad insertion rise.

It’s a VAST road before us
Despite the industry’s slow start to the adoption of VAST 4.2, we expect the whole ecosystem to catch up in 2020. VPAID will continue to depreciate, as VAST 4.2 fixes the gaps left by its previous iteration. We’re getting closer and closer to true cross-channel, device, and media planning as metrics are standardized across the industry.

Cross-app innovation finally takes hold
In 2020, we will truly see app development designed for cross-platform use. This will mean separate apps will not need to be created for device-specific platforms (e.g. programming in Javascript for Android, iOS for Apple). A pain point for both brands and consumers alike, apps will be built to support all platforms from the start.

OM SDK adoption remains at the forefront of in-app evolution
As the industry continues the adoption of the OM SDK, full cooperation between all players in the ecosystem —publishers, advertisers, DSPs, and SSPs— is required to help buyers successfully target measurable in-app inventory.

Industry optimization is key
The industry is moving toward a holistic 360-degree approach where custom performance metrics span across all environments, so inventories across all channels will be evaluated consistently. Advertisers will continue to request more transparency around measurement and more granular optimization of viewability, ultimately gaining greater insight into the impact of viewability on their campaigns.