We’re going to see a big shift to first-party data as Google Chrome will be ending its support for third-party cookies in 2021 which will impact all areas of digital marketing. Businesses and advertisers will need to change from a dependency on third-party data for both audience targeting and reporting to a new focus that leans heavily on first-party data. This will also be coupled with advancements in AI, machine learning and predictive analytics which will help to bridge the gaps left by third-party cookies. We’re already beginning to see how AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics can help businesses and advertisers through the latest version of Google Analytics, Google Analytics 4. I’m excited to see how this plays out as the technology evolves and businesses begin to adopt it.
The temptation in 2021 will be to focus on restoring the old ways, but the growth opportunity is in understanding how society is resetting and evolving accordingly. We see this reset taking place across three areas: community, media and commerce.
Community Reset: Brands should look for communities to engage with virtually, whether it is in a hyper-specific way to form a virtual focus group, or perhaps with a sustainable lens
Media Reset: Predictive environments are growing, for many age groups they’re now larger than live TV, the video landscape is further diversifying, so an ecosystem approach is key. The question to think about here is how will your brand adapt its video approach in 2021 to fit with this reset?
Commerce Reset: Media is now the store and the store is infinite. Discovery Commerce is the virtual equivalent of shopping in-store.
With the global disruption of COVID, businesses of all types have had to develop ways of engaging with their customers digitally. This has created a more crowded digital landscape, with businesses not only just vying for their customer’s attention over competitors, but other businesses who are targeting similar audiences. The cost of reaching customers on Facebook almost doubled in 2020 so throwing media spend at campaigns is proving to be less and less effective as time wears on.
In order to work around this, businesses have to get creative:
The connection between these two is understanding the customer better. Using broad targeting and generic messaging is the most effective way to waste a media budget without achieving results of significance.
Take the time to find out more about your existing customers, why they chose your business, what challenges they had in the process, what they most loved about your products or services.
My trend for 2021 is business spending more time understanding their customers so they can use those insights to intelligently make decisions to acquire more.
Internationally we have already seen governments enforce more stringent data privacy regulations (with the likes of GDPR in the EU, and CCPA in California) – and it is inevitable that Australia will soon follow suit. This will not only happen from a regulatory standpoint but from a consumer behaviour perspective.
I predict that website visitors will expect to be able to manage their information on all websites they visit – whether the site is within the GDPR / CCPA jurisdiction or not, and consumers will expect websites to be more transparent with the data they are collecting, and give them the opportunity to review and clear the information a site stores about them.
Webmasters will need to step back and analyse each tracking script installed on their site, and:
With this in mind, Australian websites will find that the days of splashing tracking scripts willy-nilly will be soon a thing of the past, and more and more Australian websites will be forced to implement the “we respect your privacy – accept our cookies!” pop-ups (which absolutely kill the user experience).
I am interested to see how Australian businesses and consumers alike adapt to these shifts.
As companies require more agility in an uncertain environment, we have seen them pivot to a digital-first strategy, allowing them to increase and lower budgets depending on COVID restrictions. With a digital-first strategy, the requirement for companies to re-evaluate their creative approach is imperative. The creative approach needs to be authentic, developed quickly, and have cut through within the channel. Concepts that feel native to the channel, such as YouTube and social, are gaining strong traction, developing a connection with the engaged user. Personalised creative and communications, in a super pared-down format, are also driving trust and customer interactions. The need to have a solid data gathering solution in place to allow for this to work is also vital, in 2021, and beyond.