2019’s coming to a close, and with it ends a decade of innovation. In 2010, the iPhone outsold Blackberry for the first time, changing the way people accessed the internet and revolutionising the advertising industry. Since then we’ve seen Facebook become more than a social network, as it established its dominance on the advertising industry alongside Google. We’ve seen changes in the way personal data is used, with the GDPR and CCPA setting the rules for how advertisers engage with users going forward.

There’s been countless mergers and acquisitions, innovations and trends (and more years of mobile than anyone can count). Outside of ad tech, the traditional retail landscape has been overturned, as we said goodbye to BHS, Mothercare and Maplin. Countless other traditional brands struggle on as agile DTC start-ups thrive.

What might the 20s have in store? Now’s the perfect time to look ahead to what the next decade might have to offer.

A new era for privacy

Despite new regulations and seemingly never-ending cookie consent banners, the average user still has a very hazy understanding of how their personal data is used for marketing. But that’s beginning to change, the digitally native Gen Z not only understand how data is used, they have strong opinions on who should and shouldn’t have access to their personal information.

By 2030, most consumers will have a good understanding of how their data’s leveraged to improve their buyer journey. For the data exchange to feel compelling, the online experience must be frictionless, and measurably improved compared to an opted-out journey. Expect also to see more loyalty systems where users exchange personal data for discounts and rewards. For users who prefer to keep private, it will become clearer how to opt-in to services which require personal data, and to remain opted out of anything else.

Outcome-driven campaigns

Today’s industry is siloed by channels – digital, search, OOH etc. The challenge this currently throws up is how to combine the channels most effectively, and then how to attribute results to each channel, or each combination of channels. It’s time for a change. Rather than create an advertising plan by channel, consider creating a plan by desired outcome, and then optimising the mix to best deliver the result for that particular campaign, for that particular brand, at that particular moment in time.

This would require thinking about campaigns differently, looking at the business KPI the brand is trying to achieve – whether that’s store visits, purchases or branding – and then building the marketing plan around that central goal, optimising the mix as the campaign progresses.

This approach would require serious restructuring, but it could be the difference between good and outstanding campaign performance.

A brick-and-mortar revival

Despite many high-profile closures, there’s hope for the high street in the 20s. While eCommerce is changing the face of retail, it won’t eliminate the role of physical stores. Customers will see the physical store experience as a key part of the buying journey and brick and mortar stores will adapt to meet their new expectations. Sports stores may offer coaching, technology firms might teach how to correctly use their software, fashion retailers could hold talks on sustainable fashion. The more retailers lean into the experience, the more successful their shops will be.

Merging online and offline

The line between online and offline is blurring, customers aren’t shopping on a single channel anymore. They can go from online engagement to online purchase, offline engagement to online purchase, offline engagement to online search to online purchase to offline return – the possibilities are endless. Today, we have cracked online to online tracking as an industry, but we’re only just beginning to explore the opportunities of online to offline. Over the next decade, the industry will need to innovate to reliably attribute every single one of your customers’ touch points instead of last click only. Mobile data will play a large role, as it joins up advertising channel, location, eCommerce and payment channel.

Bringing brands and customers closer through one-to-one messaging

Thanks to significant advances in ID tracking, AI and personalisation over the next ten years one-to-one messaging will finally be within reach, so the buyer journey can be genuinely tailored to each customer.

Brands will be able to merge their CRM systems with their ad tech stacks to link their customers’ online and offline identity. Combined with dynamic creatives, this will help deliver targeted marketing campaigns to drive customers to the desired brand interaction. This one-to-one advertising will allow the message, tone and visuals to be adapted to the customer’s individual tastes, while still delivering campaigns at scale.

We’ve come a long way in 10 years. And the next 10 have a lot to offer as our industry continues to grow and thrive. Download our trends for 2020 to learn more about what the first year in 20s has in store for you. In the meantime, let’s raise a glass to a successful and prosperous decade.