SalesTech Star

A Few AdTech Predictions and Thoughts for 2021

2020 has no doubt cemented its own chapter in future history books. From Apple announcing the death of the IDFA (and then delaying its execution) to a global pandemic that disrupted every industry and everyone, the world of AdTech stayed on its toes the entire year. With 2021 zooming towards us, where is ad tech heading? Here are my predictions for 2021.

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Working from home isn’t going anywhere

Covid-19’s lasting legacy on the working world will include both the elimination of the handshake and the staying power of working from home. Even before the pandemic, surveys consistently showed 80% of employees wanted to work from home at least some of the time. As vaccines arrive en masse, don’t expect a stampede back to the abandoned offices of March. Instead, a hybrid model will emerge that embraces the familial balance that work-from-home engenders, while taking advantage of a renewed ability for in-person collaboration.

Machine learning will continue to personalize the ad experience

Machine learning and AI have been buzzwords for the better half of the last decade. These technological advancements have also suffered from a bad reputation in recent years because of increasing privacy concerns and issues of bias and false assumptions. In 2021, marketers will continue to utilize advanced models that will drive the highest engagement and conversion rates for campaigns. The difference will be that these AI models will shift from an individualized approach to a cohort-based one, avoiding the stigma of targeting people on an individualized basis. A cohort is a group of people sharing something in common, like their location, the day they downloaded an app, or the time before their first purchase. Machine learning in 2021 will ditch private consumer-level data tied to individual device IDs in favor of using anonymous cohort-based models to identify common patterns and behaviors.

Travel advertising is about to takeoff

Good news for tourism bureaus and airlines – after a year of dormancy, consumers are yearning for a getaway. Data shows that people have a strong desire to travel in 2021, with 70% of consumers already planning their 2021 break. Advertisers will be right behind them, adapting their messages to focus on new and improved safety protocols, booking flexibility, and low pricing. It will take time before we return to our pre-Covid travel habits, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the holiday season in 2021 was the biggest vacation period ever.

Audio ads will dominate a larger slice of the digital marketing pie

This 2020 hunch will become a 2021 fact: audio ads work. Audio ads already boast a 24% higher recall rate than their traditional display counterparts, and with people spending almost 3 hours streaming music each day, this means plenty of focused attention for your brand. The audio competition for consumers’ attention is a much less crowded field than the world of mobile video. Audio ads will dominate performance across devices, and marketing strategies that utilize streaming audio will be the most successful campaigns in 2021.

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Spring’s mobile gaming surge will stick around

While Covid-19 relegated us to our homes, mobile gaming had a banner year with a 45% surge YOY in mobile gaming app installs. This massive growth comes mainly from hyper-casual games, apps that are free to download and extremely easy to play – think Candy Crush and Subway Surfers. Total installs of hyper casual apps grew 90% in 2020, more than any other gaming category, as people sought out new entertainment during the pandemic. Expect a lot of these new hyper casual gamers to stick around in 2021, and expect advertisers to follow.

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