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Our Five Big Digital Marketing Predictions for 2019

Written by: Shane O'Neill, Director of Content

As 2018 winds down, it’s time to tap our internal experts for some good old fashioned digital marketing predictions.

Here are the evolutions and innovations on the horizon for 2019 regarding the Google-Facebook-Amazon triopoly, the programmatic supply chain, Instagram Stories advertising, and more.

1. The advertising triopoly will be cemented

Amazon, with its growing search market share and unique role as an ad network and a ecommerce marketplace, has been flirting for a few years to be the third major digital ad platform.

This year, Amazon for the first time moved into third place in terms of ad revenue, according to eMarketer. 2019 is the year the triopoly will become truly cemented: In digital advertising, there will be Google, Facebook, and Amazon … and then everyone else.

– Ben Tregoe, SVP Revenue and Business Development

2. Expect DSP/SSP consolidation, and publishers to combat Apple ITP

There will be consolidation in 2019 as the ad tech ecosystem continues to underperform against Google, Facebook, and Amazon. SSPs (sell-side platforms) will see the most consolidation because adoption of unified auctions and header bidding has grown so much that advertisers can connect to a few SSPs to get all the supply they need.

"2019 is the year the triopoly will become truly cemented: In digital advertising, there will be Google, Facebook, and Amazon ... and then everyone else."

We may also see the merger of public “brand name” supply- and demand- side companies to try to vertically integrate, as well as some surprising market exits, either through failure or a face-saving sale. The backdrop for this is that Amazon has taken the number one DSP spot. Also, expect publishers to take steps to defeat Apple’s attempts to prevent user tracking, such as registration-gating iOS devices or forcing iOS users into apps.

– Claude Denton, CTO

3. Netflix and Prime Video may offer ad-supported tiers

Hulu offers ad-supported memberships where users can view content with commercials. Amazon recently announced a free, ad-supported video service specifically for Fire TV device owners containing older content. It’s not designed as an alternative to Prime Video so much as an add-on where Amazon can dip its toes in the TV ad market. But it’s plausible that Amazon could apply this method in 2019 to its Prime Video service and offer a free or cheap version with ads.

There’s no reason Netflix couldn’t do the same in the coming year. Netflix generates billions in revenue from subscriptions, but is still not profitable. It’s under immense pressure to keep growing subscribers, making a free or cheap ad-supported version a good idea. And Netflix has the data to make this work. It can already predict which of its own content you’re likely to view next. That data could also be used to serve ads to members based on what content they consume. Kids movies, cooking shows and music documentaries say a lot about a person’s lifestyle and interests.

And before you say, “Netflix doesn’t create content with commercial breaks”, it’s worth noting that Netflix (and Prime Video too) has a natural place to slot commercials: in between episodes of shows that users are binge-watching.

– Erik Mansur, VP of Product Marketing

Related post: Three Ways Amazon Could Join Facebook And Google as a Triopoly

4. The ‘News Feed’ as the default content delivery format will be challenged

The rise in Stories content (made popular by Instagram) will challenge the “news feed” format as king. Facebook introduced its news feed in 2006 and it’s always been the de facto format across nearly every social platform. But Stories content — quick-and-dirty videos and tap-friendly imagery — does not lend itself to a typical news feed. In 2019, expect the feeds of Facebook and Instagram, and perhaps others, to lose their traditional looks and slowly be replaced by Stories or another new format we don’t know about yet.

– Ryan Kelly, VP of Marketing

5. Programmatic supply chain dysfunction to be even more exposed

The quagmire of programmatic ad tech and its layers of fees will be brutally exposed throughout 2019. Smart advertisers and publishers will fully understand the waste and ramifications it presents for their bottom lines. These advertisers will start testing replacement paths (if they’re not doing so already) and the ground will be laid to adjust budgets to these better performing, lower-fee programmatic paths in 2020.

– Ben Tregoe, SVP Revenue and Business Development

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