Digital Advertising Trends 2020

Advertising, SEO & SEA, Social Media, Website & UX

By Sharanya Venkatesh on 10/04/2019

We are happy to present you the most significant Digital Advertising Trends !

Below please find the most influential digital advertising trends. For each article, our team of Digital Marketing experts left recommendations supporting you to make better decisions in this fast moving world:



One-to-One marketing means personalizing your marketing message towards the individual. Personalization is no longer a concept related to  the future of marketing. In fact, it has already arrived. Yet, many brands still overlook several things when setting up their ecosystem. This article presents the biggest pitfalls which lead to some useful  n insights.

First, many marketing departments still think & operate in silos. This leads to functional teams with separate targets and budgets. Also, most campaigns are thus segment-based. Furthermore, marketing & sales departments largely emphasize on “how to best sell our product to the customer” when creating their communication strategy. However, it is far more accurate and effective to raise the question “What is the best communication at this very moment, considering the customer journey?”

Our advice: Define your customer journeys clearly & leverage your ICPs
Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) help understanding the thought process of individuals, here is a great guide that explains it in about 5 minutes. Secondly, we recommend you construct your typical customer journeys based on these profiles. We recommend that all customer-facing  departments collaborate on this process. This would help you a unify your goals and strategy across your company.
[learn more] (German article)



Third party cookies are tools used by a website you have previously visted. They are mostly used for tracking your activity and delivering relavant advertising. Whilst Firefox and Safari have phased out the cookies already, the worlds biggest world browser, Google Chrome, waited until 2020 to announce the removal, which will take around 2 years to come into effect.

Who is affected?
Large companies are not affected much, since they could use other tracking models and may purchase larger brand studies in order to attain customer data. Smaller businesses generally focus on immediate or short-term sales figures. In all probability,, mid-sized companies are the most affected by this change. This is because they  rely on brand building but may not be able to afford brand studies etc.

How can you prepare?
Firstly, you have to ensure that your website-visitors inhabit a “single-user ID” with clean and permanent privacy settings. Second, it will be helpful to establish a good user experience for your customers so that you can track as much as possible through other sources. Furthermore, APIs (Application Program Interface) provided by platforms like Google will help attaining data as well.

Our recommendation: Align next steps with your website & UX department.
All departments involved should sit together to plan ahead. In case you are still using lots of third-party cookies, we recommend transitioning to APIs. You would also benefit from investigating which upcoming campaigns depend on customer data the most. Through that you can determine on which brand studies you should spend your budget.
[learn more]

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Viral Marketing is on the rise so it seems reasonable for brands to jump on the bandwagon. Users are exposed to over 4000 ads per day. However, they  spend less than 5 seconds consuming ads on average, so it seems as if only the “loudest” ads or those with the most potential to “go viral” will reach  targets effectively across all platforms.
Here is the potential pitfall: Only reach does not seal the deal. In fact, viral ads prove to serve very little for brand recognition and thus cannot help generate long-lasting & fruitful relationships with your customers. When investing in advertising, it is better for brands to ask these questions instead: “What makes the audience laugh?” “How does my audience identify with my brand, how do they connect with it?” “Does my ad provide any learnings?”. Moreover, a recent study by Dentsu Aegis showed that a longer attention span leads to increases in all sorts of ad-metrics. Most importantly it can affect purchase probability.

Viral Marketing vs. Quality Marketing

Consumers of today ask for more and more personalized online ads that address them directly.

Our recommendation: Integrate Content Marketing.
We agree with the concept of focusing on quality –  advertising that aims to engage users and improve brand recall. However, the lines between engagement and viral consumption are not always clear. Viral marketing can still be incredibly helpful to hook customers during the first step of their customer journey. However, as the article proposes, deeper connections are necessary to seal the deal. One idea to push quality is to integrate content marketing. Through articles, newsletter and content-based ads, you can deliver real value to the customer so that you can ultimately establish a fruitful relationship to your audience.
[learn more] (German article)



Content Marketing is a key tool to bind customers, but also to generate organic visibility across search engines. This article refers to several tips on how to improve your Content Marketing efforts in order to achieve higher rankings on search engines. Firstly, brands should consider improving their existing content by re-structuring the text with headlines and bullet points or including interactive tools such as polls or quizzes. Secondly, applications such as Google Analytics can help discovering new opportunities. For example, a niche analysis could be conducted to see what other insights your audience is asking for.

Our insight: Boost your Content Marketing through proper analysis and creative content.
Since we are creating many Content Marketing pieces ourselves, we can fully approve the insights mentioned in the article. It is of highest significance to:
1. Know what content your audience wants to hear more about
2. Deliver quality and creative content pieces
The golden rule is hereby: the more people engage with your articles through polls or other CTAs the better you pages will rank on Google.
[learn more]

JULY 2019


A biometrical study conducted by Integral Ad Science examined the connection of ad placements on the perception, likability and retention of online ads. The research scanned the brains of participants while exposing them to identical mobile ads on several websites that largely differed in quality (look and feel, content, brand fit etc.).
The results: Identical ads were perceived 74% more positively, triggered 20% more engagement and retention increased 30% when being seen in a high-quality environment, as opposed to low quality pages.

Our recommendation: See brand safety as tool to assure ad performance and reflect on how to increase visual quality perception of other online channels.
The study’s outcome makes a clear case for the importance of brand safety. Therefore, optimizing your brand’s black and white lists for ad placements with your media agencies may be a good tool to increase performance. Expanding on this thought and reflecting on consumers’ increasing expectations towards brand experiences, we argue that creating high quality environments on social media, website, newsletters etc. will hence also pay off for brands. So going against the current trend of low-budget “Blog style” content for Instagram and creating a unique account strategy & design that surprises users should be beneficial for brands.
[learn more]

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JUNE 2019


The Cannes Lions festival is the largest gathering of the advertising & creative communications industry and brought to light several interesting insights in 2019.
Firstly, consumers seem to care a lot more about other consumers ratings & reviews on products (70%) than brand communication (30%). This is in line with the fact that particularly millennials distrust advertising (84%). Purposeful content seems to be key to win the hearts of customers, as Nike showed with their “Dream Crazy” campaign. Secondly, building communities got recommended frequently. A case of Microsoft supporting disabled gamers to form a community exemplified this well. Lastly, authenticity and the “human approach” is still an important topic. Ikea’s “ThisAbles” online campaign helped disabled people to find customized furniture.

Digital advertising trends focus on a more colorful picture as individuals ask for increased personalization

Consumers of today ask for more and more personalized online ads that address them directly.

Our advice: Use social media to talk directly to your customer & form communities.
Online marketing and specifically social media has long since become a tool for more than just brand or product promotion. The takeaways from Cannes Lions show that authentic and empathetic content that lets users feel unique and personally approached is key in 2019. Forming communities helps achieving this, for example through influencers that can target specific audiences or use features like the group chat function. Thus, we recommend to increase efforts on community-building and personalized marketing.
[learn more]

APRIL 2019


Metric Theory published a guide presenting some of the most popular YouTube ads and described their particular purpose:

1) TrueView (TV) In-Stream: ads that appear before or during a video, which viewers can continue to watch or skip the ad after 5 seconds.
Goal: Gain first attention of viewer with the chance to deliver further information.

2) TV for action: branded banner for 10 sec. at the bottom of the video while it plays.
Goal: Maximize conversions of your ads without seeming too intrusive.

3) TV for reach: ads between 6 –30 seconds paid per 1,000 impressions.
Goal: Build brand awareness and reach.

4) TV Discover ads: recommended videos displayed on YouTube’s homepage.
Goal: Let a large number of users first consider your product and brand.

5) Non-skippable ads: 15-20sec.  ads before videos, which the user can not skip.
Goal: Convey a richer message about your product.

6) Bumper ads: 6-seconds, non-skippable ads before the video.
Goal: Re-target the the viewers through a short, follow-up message.

Furthermore, YouTube and Nielsen announced to cooperate in order to help brands measure their in-store/offline sales lift through YouTube ads. The measurement will be based on retail purchase as well as loyalty card data.

Our advise: Optimize your advertising ROI by synchronizing skippable & non-skippable videos.
The value of Youtube’s non-skippable ad formats is their guaranteed reach & view time . The skippable formats (TrueView) on the other hand help qualifying users, since you only pay for those that have shown a certain interest in your ad. Hence, combining both in a retargeting campaign is helpful to increase your advertising ROI: e.g. Building awareness through unskippable bumper ads and then retargeting viewers with skippable TrueView ads. This enables building a big reach while only paying more for users that want to learn more from the second ad.
[learn more]

MARCH 2019


It’s probably the most discussed topic in the internet scene: the copyright reform. The EU parliament passed Article 17 (formerly 13) which makes online platforms such as YouTube responsible for checking the legality of their user’s content before approving the upload. Creators fear that this results in mechanistic upload filters that will restrict the creativity and variety of the content. Marc Zuckerberg recently promoted the law and encouraged a global enforcement. Article 17 also means that news-sharing feeds such as Google News now have to pay newspapers for sharing their content.
In the same course, another law is going to take effect in September 2019: SCA (Strong-Customer-Authentication). SCA will affect each and every online customer and company. The purchase process will be controlled more strictly by requiring another step of authentication.

Our recommendation: Check content plan & prepare for SCA.
In the course of the copyright law, future content will have to be reevaluated more strictly. Even more thorough should be your examination of externally produced content for your brand, e.g. from influencers and agencies.
The SCA law will mainly impact the e-Commerce business. We recommend preparing for the implementation by making the payment process as easy as possible for the customer (e.g. through various payment options).
[learn more] (German article)

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Over 90% of internet useres discover new brands & products through online videos, more than 40% even bought a product they discovered on YouTube.However, customers nowadays have much more control over their path of purchase and videos have to cover many touchpoints. Adidas recently showed how to do so by using YouTube’s ad sequencing tool. They segmented a campaign into hero films, product ads and product films and delivered content formats based on precise consumer journey touchpoints. The result was a 317% lift in product interest.

Video influencing digital advertising

Video ads play a vital role in digital advertising.

Our assessment: Sequence your video ad campaign.
We agree with Google’s recommendation of sequencing video ad campaigns. By doing so brands can reach customers based on their level of engagement. YouTube remembers which customer already watched the previous ad and can precisely deliver extending ads.
[learn more]



The “Coalition for Better Ads” which consists of Google, Facebook, AppNexus and other major online advertising players has announced that it will tighten its policies concerning the quality of ads, in July 2019. This means that ads that are deemed below the standard (= annoying to users) will be blocked by Google Chrome, the world’s largest browser. If a website repeatedly shows such ads, it will be barred from showing ads altogether. For checking whether one’s ads meet the desired quality, Google has presented the “My experience report”. It is free to use and available here.

Our recommendationStrictly check your ads.
Although Google only punished around 1% of all websites in their trial run, the July update should not be underestimated. A ban on your ads would make Online Marketing significantly more difficult and could also lead to the website being unable to display ads, in the future. Having 63% of global share, Google Chrome is by far the #1 of web browsers, so we advise to establish a routine of checking ad creatives with the “My experience report” (or other tools), before going live.
[learn more] (German article)

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Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive biweekly updates on Digital Advertising Trends as well as Online Marketing.

We hope that our digital advertising trends prove helpful to you and your team!

Best digital regards,

Watersky Digital Signature